The University of Florida is cutting its PhD program (A once flourishing program...):
Like many public universities, the University of Florida faced significant budget cuts in the recent economic downturn. Such cuts led to reductions and eliminations of Ph.D. programs across the country, including at Florida, where the computer-science, engineering, psychology, and statistics programs have downsized. But it is rare for an economics program to be on the chopping block. ...
So what went wrong at Florida, which received up to 300 applicants for about 15 slots each year in the Ph.D. program's heyday, in the early 1990s? What does Florida's story say about the precariousness of doctoral programs elsewhere? If a program in economics isn't safe, is any? And what are the ripple effects when a thriving program slips away?
Florida announced last year that it would stop financing its economics doctoral program. Before that decision, the business-college dean gave the faculty the option to leave Warrington for the liberal-arts college, where, deans say, the Ph.D. program might have survived. The faculty voted not to move because, they say, the liberal-arts college has its own financial problems, and they were concerned about salaries, research budgets, and teaching loads. ...
Since 1990 the number of professors in the department has shrunk from 38 to 11; the average age of those who remain is 63, according to the department's chairman.
Because of budget constraints, the all-male department hasn't made new hires since 2005 and has had to admit Ph.D. students on an every-other-year basis since 1995. A new cohort would have been admitted this fall under that schedule, but professors in the program decided not to admit a class without having any fellowships to offer. ...
Severe declines in financial resources prompted Florida to adopt an approach to budgeting called "responsibility-centered management" that requires individual departments and academic units to generate their own revenue. Mr. Glover, the provost, says this system, which started three years ago, creates more openness about how money is allocated and gives deans more control over their budgets.
The economics program, says John Kraft, dean of the business college, has long been troubled by operating deficits because it is undergraduate-oriented, with three times the majors in liberal arts than in the business college. As such, revenue goes to the liberal-arts college, not the business college. "They are the weakest program in business, have the weakest Ph.D. program, and have the highest gap between revenue and costs," Mr. Kraft says.
He expects to save the university $3-million each year by cutting funds for the economics Ph.D. program and reducing the faculty to six through retirement.
One problem seems to be that the department generating the majors isn't getting the revenue for those majors as "responsibility-centered management" would suggest. In hindsight, I guess they should have voted to move to the liberal arts college.