Loss of funding temporarily halts Purdue's English graduate program

·2 min read
Students walk across Purdue University's campus, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in West Lafayette.
Students walk across Purdue University's campus, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in West Lafayette.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University recently announced a one-year moratorium - temporary hold - on graduate student admissions in the English department due to gradual loss of funding.

"In Fall 2020, the English Department’s financial commitments to graduate students exceeded its budget by $303,000,"David Reingold, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. "The College of Liberal Arts transferred funds to backstop the over-commitment with those funds to be repaid over a three-year period."

Reingold explained the English department at Purdue failed to account for 2020's "shortfall," and instead brought in 18 new students in Fall of 2021.

"....the English Department brought in a new cohort of 18 students during a time when many humanities programs at Purdue and nationally paused or greatly decreased their graduate admissions," Reingold continued. "This was the largest in the College of Liberal Arts, which averaged 5.5 new students. Two units fully paused graduate recruitment for Fall 2021."

Graduate students are funded for three Master of Fine Arts (MFA) years or five PhD years when they enroll, according to Reingold. As such, in order to accommodate the new students, the graduate program must pause the recruitment process for Fall 2022. It has been reported that beginning in the fall of 2023, the English department will be able to resume recruitment.

The graduate education budget from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022 has remained unchanged throughout all units in the College of Liberal Arts, according to Reingold.

"The leadership and faculty of the English Department, like every department on campus, is charged with determining how to allocate its budget," Reingold said. "Only the Department of English can determine the future of the publication of Sycamore Review or the MFA in creative writing.

"Purdue expects all departments to exercise fiscal responsibility and stewardship of university resources."

Some predict that the one-year moratorium will eventually lead to the overall shut-down of the graduate English program at Purdue.

“I continue to be concerned that, by his actions, (College of Liberal Arts Dean David Reingold) is signaling that he does not prioritize diversity and difference,” Brian Leung, a professor in the English department and the interim director of creative writing, told the Purdue Exponent. “He seems to believe that bringing harm or eliminating graduate programs, the Master’s of Fine Arts program particularly, will bring no harm to the undergraduate programs. That is just false thinking.”

This story will be continuously updated as more developments occur.

Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at mtroup@jconline.com and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Loss of funding temporarily halts Purdue's English grad program