Monday, June 25, 2018

Markets In Undergraduate Stanford Degrees

At its June 14-15, 2018, meeting, Stanford’s Board of Trustees approved the Provost’s Annual Budget for 2018-2019.  Schedule 10 in the Appendix (page 116) lists the top 20 majors with the largest number of baccalaureate degrees awarded over the past 10 years, from 2007-08 through 2016-17.  Elsewhere one can find the number of degrees granted by all 61 Stanford degree-granting departments/programs (hereafter departments).

The top 20 departments awarded 1,427 degrees,  82.2% of 1,737 total degrees granted in 2016-17.  The lower 41 departments collectively awarded 17.8% of all degrees. 


To  no one’s surprise, Computer Science was first by more than double the department in 2nd place.  273 degrees were awarded, up from 66 ten years ago (+207).

Human Biology was in 2nd place, down from 229 in 2008-09 to 130 (-99).

In 3rd and 4th place, Engineering and Mechanical Engineering conferred 186 degrees, up from 128 ten years ago.  Degrees conferred in these two majors have remained relatively stable since 2012-13 (+58).

Science, Technology, and Society was in 5th place, up from 24 to 86 (+62).

Biology was in 7th place, down from 140 to 79 (-61).

Symbolic Systems in 8th place, up from 28 to 63 (+35).

Electrical Engineering in 10th place, up from 37 to 61 (+24).

Management Science and Engineering in 12th place, unchanged at 54.

Mathematical and Computational Science in 14th place, up from 16 to 42 (+26).

Chemical Engineering in 17th place, up from 18 to 35 (+17).

Mathematics in 18th place, down from 36 to 32 (-4).

Earth Systems in 19th place, down from a peak of 53 in 2011-12 to 29 (-24). 

In 20th place, a new field of Bioengineering, which commenced in 2016-15, awarded 27 degrees (+27).

Adding up the net increase in STEM degrees encompassing 2007-08 through 2016-17 comes to 298.  The total number of STEM degrees awarded was 957, 55.1% of all undergraduate degrees.

Student choices have shifted to high earning science and tech fields, rather than spend four years contemplating the arts and humanities.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Fasten your seat belts.

Economics in 6th place, down from 165 to 83 (-82).

Psychology in 9th place, down from 80 to 62 (-18).

International Relations in 11th place, down from 107 to 61 (-46).

Political Science in 13th place, down from 96 to 53 (-43).

History in 15th place, down from a peak of 67 in 2012-13 to 41 (-26).

English in 16th place, down from a peak of 75 in 2008-09 to 40 (-35).

Total decline in Humanities and Social Sciences (HH&S) degrees awarded comes to 250.  Total SS&H degrees in 2016-17 were 470, a much smaller 27.2% of all undergraduate students in the top 20.

Stanford is concerned over the decline of SS&H, desperately seeking undergraduates who will major in those fields.

To see the scope of the problem afflicting Stanford, 25 SS&H departments awarded between 1-10 degrees, 7 awarded between 11-20 degrees, and 1 awarded between 21-26 degrees, 33 in all.  Stanford has several dozen departments in which faculty outnumber awarded undergraduate degrees.

In marked contrast, 7 STEM departments awarded between 1-10 degrees, only 1 department granted between 11-20 degrees, and none granted between 21-26 degrees, 8 in all.

Can Stanford stop the bleeding of SS&H majors?  Only if it recruits more students who major in SS&H.

Maybe SS&H graduates should get a refund of all tuition and fees paid upon graduation?  Maybe Stanford should cap enrollment in STEM as is done in the UC system?

Maybe it should buy out some tenured SS&H faculty with attractive severance packages to better match faculty numbers with degrees awarded.  Maybe SS&H departments with few majors should stop flooding the markets with  new doctorates in fields with little demand?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Political Diversity Of Stanford Students: 94% Voted Democrat For Governor and U.S. Senator, only 4% voted Republican

California is a Blue State.  The San Francisco Bay Area is Dark Blue.  Stanford University, where your friendly proprietor has worked and lived for more than 40 years, is Deep Dark Blue.

By acreage, Stanford is the second largest university in the world.  From its founding in 1891, portions of its land have been used to construct housing for faculty and staff.  Over 125 years, Stanford faculty and the University have built about 650 single-family homes, 250 condominiums, and 40 duplexes.  (Several hundred more housing units are nearing completion and several hundred more are in the planning or early stage of construction.)

Stanford has 2,219 members of the professoriate faculty and several top administrators who are eligible to purchase a campus residence.  About 40% live in the “faculty ghetto.”  The other 60% are scattered about neighboring towns and suburbs (Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Jose, San Francisco, and others).  It seems reasonable to assume that the political predilections of on- and off-campus faculty and are similar.

California’s 2018 primaries were held on June 5.  Four precincts (Santa Clara County Precincts 2542, 2544, 2545, and 2546) circumscribe Stanford University.

Precincts 2542 and 2544 consist of graduate and undergraduate student housing.  Some students are registered to vote using their campus address.  Most are registered at their home address.

Precinct 2545 consists solely of faculty/staff (F/S) housing.  Precinct 2546 is a mix of student and F/S housing

Here are the results for Governor and U.S. Senator, the two most important races in California.


Precinct 2545 (all F/S):  Democrats 234 (88.0%), Republicans 31 (11.7%), Other 1 (0.3%).

Precinct 2546 (F/S and students):  Democrats 356 (94.9%), Republicans 12 (3.2%), Other 7 (1.9%).

Precinct 2544 (all students):  Democrats 155 (93.4%), Republicans 8 (4.7%), Other 3 (1.8%).

Precinct 2542 (all students):  Democrats 129 (94.2%), Republicans 6 (4.4%), Other 2 (1.4%).

U.S. Senator:

Precinct 2545:  Democrats 232 (87.9%), Republicans 27 (11.5%), Other 5 (1.9%).

Precinct 2546:  Democrats 354 (96.2%), Republicans 11 (3.0%), Other 3 (0.8%)

Precinct 2542:  Democrats 127 (96.2%), Republicans 3 (2.3%), Other 2 (1.5%)

Precinct 2544:  Democrats 154 (93.9%), Republicans 5 (3.0%), Other 5 (3.0).

F/S voters are 7-8 percentage points more Republican than students.  One reason is that F/S voters are older and more conservative.  Some of these Republican voters are in their 70s and 80s.

Stanford has achieved undergraduate student diversity in terms of race (only about a third is non-Hispanic White), ethnicity, gender and gender preference, nationality, religion, disability, and socioeconomic status.  Political and ideological diversity is nowhere to be found.  Universities talk a lot about the importance of diversity of ideas but have done little to achieve it.

Diversity is said to help students learn from each other—so long as the dominant political views are not challenged!