In a recent conversation with tenured CS professors, they mentioned that grad student enrollment (in their experience) tends to follow the inverse of the economy. When the economy is doing well, grad student enrollment dips. When the economy isn't so hot, it increases.

This made me wonder, does enrollment affect the likelihood of getting tenure?

I would expect that having grad students working with you as a new assistant-professor would help make you more successful at getting tenure. If that is true, it would seem that if enrollment is down, it would be harder to get tenure. Any truth to this?

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    Some of us can offer opinions; I would answer "How your grad student record compares to other faculty in your department matters more than absolute numbers; in any case, this is at best a second-order concern". But I think actual data will be difficult to come by, in part because departments are loath to release statistics about tenure denials, and in part because changes in enrollment happen relatively slowly.
    – JeffE
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:03
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    Also, I disagree with the hypothesis that grad student enrollment inversely follows the economy. In my experience (at a top 5 American CS department), undergraduate enrollment is strongly positively correlated with the computing job market, and grad student enrollment follows undergraduate enrollment with a 3-5 year lag.
    – JeffE
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:06
  • At the community college where I teach, we observe a very strong negative correlation between enrollments and the economy. This is campus-wide, not in a specific subject.
    – user1482
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:29
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    @JeffE: There's been news articles and corresponding data showing that enrollment in at least some graduate schools follows the inverse of the economy.
    – tonysdg
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:32
  • @jeffe, funny you say that because the faculty I was talking with said in their experience, in good times undergrad CS enrollment went up. They just didn't see the grad boost a few years later. Though this was an institution primarily focused on undergraduate education.
    – mikeazo
    Jan 11, 2017 at 22:49


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