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Blaming the humanities fields for their travails recently can seem as sensible as blaming polar bears for not cultivating new crops as the arctic warms. It’s not just that it places the blame for a crisis in the fundamentally wrong place; it’s that it
It’s coming up on a year since I last taught graduate students in the humanities.
Every year, I run the numbers to see how college degrees are changing. The Department of Education released this summer the figures for 2019; these and next year’s are probably the least important that we’ll ever see, since they capture the weird period as the 2008 recession’s shakeout was wrapping up but before COVID-19 upended everything once again. But for completism, it’s worth seeing how things changed.
Ranking Graduate Programs
While I was choosing graduate programs back in 2005, I decided to come up with my own ranking system. I had been reading about the Google PageRank algorithm, which essentially imagines the web as a bunch of random browsing sessions that rank pages based on the likelihood that you–after clicking around at random for a few years–will end up on any given page. It occurred to me that you could model graduate school rankings the same way. It’s essentially a four-step process: