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Old 02-18-2024, 12:44 PM   #1
whswhs
 
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Default Miskatonic notes

I've been reviewing Sam Johnson's Miskatonic University supplement, and thinking about the statistics it provides.

There are writeups for some 75 instructors (not counting a few emeritus faculty who probably don't teach courses). That would rather suggest on the order of 900 students (undergraduate students, anyway). That's not an inherently implausible size for a student body.

On the other hand, if all the faculty are listed, then there's only one instructor each in the departments of geography, sociometrics, Oriental studies, metallurgy, and mathematics and the schools of physical education and law. That includes some faculty who are described as department chairs—and you can't very well be the chair of a department of one! And the math department and the law school, at least, ought to have more than one instructor.

I'm thinking about assuming that there are about three times that many faculty, with particular departments and schools having from two to five times the number listed. That might give us, say, 2500 undergraduates, not an enormous number even by the standards of the 1930s, but enough to make a substantial studentry.
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Old 02-18-2024, 02:53 PM   #2
L.J.Steele
 
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

There does seem to be considerable turnover in faculty and students given the various expeditions.
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Old 02-18-2024, 09:18 PM   #3
Johnny1A.2
 
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I've been reviewing Sam Johnson's Miskatonic University supplement, and thinking about the statistics it provides.

There are writeups for some 75 instructors (not counting a few emeritus faculty who probably don't teach courses). That would rather suggest on the order of 900 students (undergraduate students, anyway). That's not an inherently implausible size for a student body.

On the other hand, if all the faculty are listed, then there's only one instructor each in the departments of geography, sociometrics, Oriental studies, metallurgy, and mathematics and the schools of physical education and law. That includes some faculty who are described as department chairs—and you can't very well be the chair of a department of one! And the math department and the law school, at least, ought to have more than one instructor.

I'm thinking about assuming that there are about three times that many faculty, with particular departments and schools having from two to five times the number listed. That might give us, say, 2500 undergraduates, not an enormous number even by the standards of the 1930s, but enough to make a substantial studentry.
That fits, because in HPL Miskatonic is specifically described as being on the smaller side, but still substantial enough to be scientifically significant and most academics have heard of it and seem to respect it, and able to fund expeditions to some out-of-the-way places (and that was costlier in the 1930s).
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Old 02-28-2024, 06:44 AM   #4
ajardoor
 
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

I believe there's a new CoC supplement for Arkham. Maybe it has an updated faculty count and list for the university?
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Old 02-28-2024, 07:46 AM   #5
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

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Originally Posted by ajardoor View Post
I believe there's a new CoC supplement for Arkham. Maybe it has an updated faculty count and list for the university?
Perhaps. I've been looking at it, but I'm holding off on buying it, as I haven't determined yet if I'm going to run the campaign that would be set at MU.

Addendum: I've picked it up now, and it has names of some MU faculty, but I can't find total numbers for either faculty or students.
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Old 03-13-2024, 01:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

On further reading of Arkham, I see that it has a population of ca. 36,000. However, it has several grade schools, with a total listed student population of ca. 1260 in eight grades, and two high schools, with 650 students in four grades.

Assuming that all the children of elementary age are in school, I find that about 1/28 of the population is in that eight-year range. That suggests a total age range of 224 years! Either Arkhamites live extraordinarily long lives, or they're failing to maintain their numbers, producing a scanty population of children.

Also, 650 students in four grades is equivalent to 1300 in eight grades, which implies that all the elementary school students go on to high school, something that was not typical of the 1920s.

Finally, some of the described elementary schools are quite small; the smallest has only 120 students, or 15 per grade.

Putting all this together, I think that Chaosium's editors failed to check that their stated numbers made sense.

For a quick patch, I think I might triple the sizes of all the grade schools, to get a total of 3780 students. That would have about 10.5% of the city in that age range, which works out to a typical lifespan of 76 years, a bit long for the 1920s, but not absurdly long. It also gives about one-third of students going to high school, with the others getting jobs around age 14, or, in a few cases, being privately tutored or sent to boarding schools or the like.
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Old 03-14-2024, 09:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
On further reading of Arkham, I see that it has a population of ca. 36,000. However, it has several grade schools, with a total listed student population of ca. 1260 in eight grades, and two high schools, with 650 students in four grades.

Assuming that all the children of elementary age are in school, I find that about 1/28 of the population is in that eight-year range. That suggests a total age range of 224 years! Either Arkhamites live extraordinarily long lives, or they're failing to maintain their numbers, producing a scanty population of children.

Also, 650 students in four grades is equivalent to 1300 in eight grades, which implies that all the elementary school students go on to high school, something that was not typical of the 1920s.

Finally, some of the described elementary schools are quite small; the smallest has only 120 students, or 15 per grade.

Putting all this together, I think that Chaosium's editors failed to check that their stated numbers made sense.

For a quick patch, I think I might triple the sizes of all the grade schools, to get a total of 3780 students. That would have about 10.5% of the city in that age range, which works out to a typical lifespan of 76 years, a bit long for the 1920s, but not absurdly long. It also gives about one-third of students going to high school, with the others getting jobs around age 14, or, in a few cases, being privately tutored or sent to boarding schools or the like.
Leaving aside the obvious references to long lived Arkhamites ... of which there are more than many small cities, but probably fewer than, say, Innsmouth or Kingsport, are those 1920s or modern figures, because having schools struggling to find enough pupils is not unknown in the modern era (and, if this was Europe, in the 20s as well).

Also, wasn't it quite common in the early modern era for schools to have only one class per year? Especially at elementary level?
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Old 03-14-2024, 10:15 AM   #8
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Leaving aside the obvious references to long lived Arkhamites ... of which there are more than many small cities, but probably fewer than, say, Innsmouth or Kingsport, are those 1920s or modern figures, because having schools struggling to find enough pupils is not unknown in the modern era (and, if this was Europe, in the 20s as well).

Also, wasn't it quite common in the early modern era for schools to have only one class per year? Especially at elementary level?
The book cites 1922 as the reference year. By then the majority of children aged 6-13 would have been in school, and were legally required to be.

I'm not sure what you mean by "one class per year." Are you thinking that different schools might have from 15 students per grade up to 50 or 60 per grade? I suppose that might be the case, but I'm accustomed to hearing of 30 as a typical class size. In any case, Arkham isn't a tiny village that can barely fill a single classroom; it has several elementary schools with student populations from one to several hundred. Or so the book says, even if you don't apply my proposed multiple.

If there are 3780 elementary school students, there are 472.5 per year/grade. The large map says the total population is 36,404. Dividing that gives 77 years as the mean lifespan, which is already exceptionally long for the 1920s. Dimensionally, that's (individuals)/(individuals/year) = (years).
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Old 03-14-2024, 01:39 PM   #9
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I'm not sure what you mean by "one class per year." Are you thinking that different schools might have from 15 students per grade up to 50 or 60 per grade? I suppose that might be the case, but I'm accustomed to hearing of 30 as a typical class size. In any case, Arkham isn't a tiny village that can barely fill a single classroom; it has several elementary schools with student populations from one to several hundred. Or so the book says, even if you don't apply my proposed multiple.
I was thinking of elementary schools serving a very local catchment that might well only have one room of students per ... I'm assuming a US grade and a UK school year are similar things ... smaller schools for little kids are a normal thing in the UK anyway.
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Old 03-14-2024, 08:10 PM   #10
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I was thinking of elementary schools serving a very local catchment that might well only have one room of students per ... I'm assuming a US grade and a UK school year are similar things ... smaller schools for little kids are a normal thing in the UK anyway.
The only time I have seen such an arrangement was in a church-affiliated Kindergarten at a time when the local public schools (council schools in the UK I think) did not provide for kindergarten age children. Yes, this was rather a long time ago. I'm old.

That school had only one class (I think, I'm not sure). Similar arrangements may have been in effect for what is now "pre-K" or then "nursery school" i.e. children too young even for kindergarten.
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