The English department has imposed a one-year moratorium on graduate student admissions due to a lack of funding.
The move will likely cause the department’s graduate programs to close in a few years and negatively impact the number of undergraduate courses offered, English department head Dorsey Armstrong said in an email.
“Every year the dean’s office tells us how much money we will have in our budget for graduate students,” she said, “and this year that number is just enough to continue supporting the graduate students that we are currently enrolled, but there is no money left to admit new students.
There are three graduate programs within the department: Rhetoric and Composition, Creative Writing and Literature, and Theory and Cultural Studies. Armstrong said that after next year, it is estimated that only 10 students will be admitted for the entire department, although each program requires at least eight to 10 students to continue.
The Sycamore Review, a literary journal run by graduate students in the creative writing department, will likely be forced to stop publishing without graduate students directing and editing it.
“We may have two other issues,” said Amina Khan, editor and third-year student in the creative writing department. “We could perhaps hold out until the end of 2022.
Editor-in-chief and sophomore graduate student Blake Chernin said editor and editor positions are two-year positions held by sophomores arriving after current IEC graduates .
“When I graduate next year, there will literally be no freshman class to fill my place,” Chernin said.
At full capacity, the staff is around 20 people, she said. The current staff is 15, with seven of them in their third year about to graduate, Khan said, as the master of fine arts is a three-year program.
Khan said the newspaper receives between 1,500 and 2,000 submissions each year, and if staff are unable to do the work to publish the newspaper, it will cease.
Khan and Chernin both noted that the journal provides space for writers to be paid for their work, and that it has consistently supported more diverse artists through things like free submissions for black, trans, and native writers. and fundraising for black trans organizations.
“It seems hard not to notice that as our program and this magazine has become more diverse and queer (and) more international, our funding has also declined,” said Khan.
The dean’s office at the College of the Liberal Arts has also continually refused requests to hire new faculty to replace those who have retired or left the department in the past decade, Armstrong said.
She said the department also had money in other accounts that it could use for graduate studies, but such funding requires permission from the dean, who refused requests to transfer money over the course. in recent years.
The department requests and receives emergency clearance to hire temporary lecturers and instructors to meet student demand for classes each year, Armstrong said.
The emergency clearance for one-year hires only allows the department to come close to requesting courses, like ENGL 106 and professional writing courses, which regularly have a waiting list of around 300 students per semester.
“The CLA’s decision not to allow new hires of professors in combination with several years of budget cuts in our graduate program means that we are barely able to meet the demand for courses for our majors,” Armstrong said, “and for other Purdue students who need our courses to meet basic requirements and earn their Cornerstone certification. “
CLA Dean Dave Reingold declined to speak by phone, insisting instead on emailing questions. He has yet to respond to the email, which was sent at 2 p.m. Monday.
Many in the English department have expressed frustration. Chernin said she was “horrified” to hear the news.
The Purdue CW faculty stands tall with our creative writing students and their insane and demonstrable successes. We will fight publicly and privately until this administration recognizes the immense harm their de facto shutting down of our entire program will cause. https://t.co/DLi7sDImx8
– Paige Lewis (@Paige_M_Lewis) December 6, 2021
“I think that stuff matters,” Chernin said. “I think the Sycamore magazine, the writing and the art and being able to think critically and deal with the world around us is important. It is very devastating to know that the people who run the College of the Liberal Arts do not seem to agree with this statement.
Khan was less surprised.
During her three years at Purdue, Khan said, she noticed that fewer and fewer funds and resources were directed to the English department, despite the success of many professors and students in creative writing.
“The morale of faculty and graduate students in our department is very, very low,” Armstrong said. “Our department is full of award-winning teachers who care deeply about the quality of education our undergraduates receive, and it is extremely frustrating that we are not able to give our students the kind of teaching experience they deserve for reasons that are completely beyond our control. “