Monday, July 30, 2007

The 500

The Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland has decided to go for gold in the Art School Graduating-The-Most-PhDs awards. We have already noted its passion for a practice called ‘research,’ and we can now point you to section 4 of the 2007 Annual Plan which quantifies that research in terms of bodies delivered.

The National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (that’s the School of Architecture and Planning, Dance Studies, Elam, School of Music and the Manukau School) aims to “achieve 800 masters and 500 doctoral completions per annum through the development of an international quality graduate programme.” No, amazingly, this is not a typo: 500 doctorates a year.

A couple of comments:

  • For the whole of NZ, the most recent figures we could find stated that 2,574 research degrees were completed in 2005. About 25 percent of them were doctorates.
  • The Institute failed to meet its current postgraduates targets in Architecture and Fine Arts in 2006; the pressure is on.
  • The Institute seems to believe it can reach its extraordinary goal by minor tweaks. It’s talking about improvements to its web site, recruitment events and communications, a couple of new areas of study and better supervision.

Let’s estimate what the Institute’s 500 PhDs a year could mean for Elam. Given that dance comes late to the PhD fever, it seems to us that as its contribution, the Elam School of Fine Arts must be looking to deliver at least 150 PhDs a year! People with maths skills will know that means in 10 years there could be another 1,500 Fine Arts PhDs loose in the country.
CORRECTION: What a relief. You'll be relieved to hear that the Auckland University has informed us that the 500 PhDs per year are for all faculties and not just the arts sector.