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14 programs won’t get new grad money

BY MICHELLE HILLENBRAND | MARCH 05, 2010 7:30 AM

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The UI’s graduate programs that were marked as needing more evaluation in a recent report won’t receive fellowship funding to recruit new students for the upcoming academic year, Graduate College Dean John Keller said Thursday.

“We are not certain yet of the final outcome of the decision-making process and the fate of the programs,” said Keller, and it would be disingenuous to recruit students under multiple-year fellowships with the future of programs unclear.

Peter Morningsnow, a student in the cinema/comparative literature department — one of the 14 programs affected by the decision — said a lack of recruitment money will have a negative effect on the programs down the road.

But Derek Gromadzki, a Ph.D. student in comparative literature, said he is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

“As gloomy as the prognosis seems, there is actually a bright side,” he said.

The job market in humanities is flooded, with too many graduates competing for too few jobs, he said. With fewer incoming students, a smaller number of graduates could find themselves in a situation where they can’t get work.

“It could save some people some hardship,” he said.

Eric Kaiser, the president of the Executive Council for Graduate and Professional Students, said not offering the fellowships is probably the most responsible decision.

“It’s a disservice to those students to offer incentives” when the possibility of their programs being phased out or combined still exists, he said.

Fellowship money for students already enrolled in the programs will continue to be available.

The money previously allocated to fellowships for these programs will go toward recruiting students for the 82 percent of programs that did not receive the lower rating, Keller said.

“Having students in a graduate program infers that you have the appropriate number of faculty and infrastructural resources,” Keller said. Many of these 14 programs are on the border for insufficient number of faculty and would need more professors to have a meaningful program, he said.

While the departments under consideration for reorganization, consolidation, or elimination may continue to admit new students, they won’t be supported by the fellowship program.

The German department had already announced it is not accepting applications for its M.A. and Ph.D. programs, according to the department website.

The state Board of Regents has the final say in the future of the 14 graduate programs.


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