Grad funding facing changes

Christina Stavale

A steering committee organized to evaluate Kent State doctoral programs came to agreement Monday that its job was finished.

The university formed the committee to provide data for Peter Tandy, acting vice president for research. The data included information about the quality of Kent State doctoral programs and their alignment with the Third Frontier – science and technology.

He used the data to decide which doctoral programs he would recommend transferring money from to fund the Third Frontier, as required by Ohio law.

“The steering committee’s purpose is to offer advice … regarding how to fulfill this program,” Tandy said.

However, the steering committee felt it was not its place to advise Tandy about his second recommendation to the provost. Tandy decided to make a second recommendation after disputes about his first recommendation, which proposed ending funding for the history doctoral program, the lowest ranked program, according to this data.

Tandy said he was still in the process of finalizing this recommendation and it would take into account the university’s finalization of exactly what the transferred money will invest.

The money, he said, will be used to invest in two high-profile senior faculty lines – one in the graduate department of the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program and the other in the graduate and undergraduate program of Biological Sciences.

This will affect his recommendation because he said he will attempt to transfer money from faculty lines rather than graduate assistant lines, as he previously recommended.

“It’s gotten in some senses more clarified, and in some sense more complicated,” Tandy said.

He said he has also considered transferring smaller amounts of money from a number of departments, rather than transferring it all from history.

Tandy said he did not want to speculate on which other programs would lose funding in the future until he received new data from the National Research Council, expected to come out late this year.

John Jameson, professor and chair of the history department, expressed concern that transferring doctoral money to the sciences would cause the whole nature of the university to change. Tandy disagreed.

“I wouldn’t call it a complete change of university capability,” he said.

He recommended that programs losing money improve their master degree programs to make up for the loss in doctoral budget.

Tandy acknowledged the situation was not ideal.

“In an ideal world,” Tandy said, “the state of Ohio would provide more money to invest in the areas they want us to.”

Contact academics reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].