Ideal Size of Faculty Committees

D. was struggling to operate the scanner in our break room. I helped him scan the document and showed him how to email a PDF to himself.

As a reward for my help, he cc'ed me on the email. What he'd been photocopying was a yellowed manuscript entitled "An Optimization Analysis of the Size of Faculty Committees" by Blake D. Mills, Jr. A Google search for the manuscript didn't yield its source or publication date. I'm guessing sometime in the 70s in a mechanical engineering journal.

The key graph in the paper shows that the rate of accomplishment reaches its maximum value when the committee size is 0.66 of a member. The next time a graduate student brings a hacksaw to a thesis defense, you can choose which third of yourself you want to lose ...

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