Thursday, November 17, 2005

Marquette Strategic Plan: Gut Arts & Sciences Graduate Programs

As part of Marquette’s supposed “strategic planning” process, a recommendation has emerged that the College of Arts and Sciences will lose twelve graduate assistantships, which will be allocated to a new Ph.D. program, and to other colleges.

Six will go to a new program in the Department of Biomedical Sciences: a doctoral specialization in neuroscience. The others will go to other schools.

Who will lose out? Apparently six will be taken from Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, two from Foreign Languages and Literatures, and two from English. Our sources don’t know about the other two.

A new program in Biomedical Sciences might or might not be a good idea (we frankly wonder why these courses aren’t taught in Biology). But raiding other programs isn’t the way to start a new program.

Graduate assistantships are the key “bread and butter” resource in any graduate program. They are, first, a form of financial aid that can be used to lure good students into a program. And graduate students perform valuable services, helping faculty with research and (in departments with heavy lower-division enrollments) taking some teaching duties.

This whole business, if it comes to fruition, looks like a clear signal that Marquette’s administration doesn’t especially value the Arts and Sciences, nor understand the basics of how a university nurtures good graduate programs.


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