Friday, November 18, 2005

More: Gutting Arts & Sciences Graduate Programs at Marquette

We recently posted about a planned “reallocation” of graduate assistantships away from Departments in the Marquette Arts & Sciences college.

We have updated information on the proposed policy.

Math and Computer Sciences will lose six graduate assistantships under the plan, Foreign Languages and Literatures will lose two, and English will lose four.

(We previously reported that English would lose two, but now have updated information.)

As we reported, six assistantships will be added to provide a neuroscience Ph.D. specialization in Biomedical Sciences. Nursing, Education and Communication will get the remainder (excepting one, discussed below).

There is speculation (not confirmed at the moment) that at least some of the four TAs lost by English will be given to the College of Communication which now teaches Communications 11, a course that students can take instead of the traditional English Composition course, English 2. The Communications course has had booming enrollments.

Also, Political Science will get an additional Graduate Assistantship. While we can’t say we are sorry about that, we can’t say we are happy about the broader trends that are hurting the Arts College. While Political Science has dodged this bullet, we can’t feel safe when the entire College is under fire.

The strategy the University is following is one that has been used by (for example) the University of Southern California and New York University: seek to build up your prestige by building up professional programs, rather than by strengthening the Liberal Arts. It’s not a stupid policy to follow, but one can question whether it’s really consistent with the Catholic, Jesuit mission of this place. Further, it makes little sense to erode an area of traditional strength in the quite uncertain hope that the emphasis on professional programs will add prestige and tuition dollars. There is no guarantee it will do either.

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