Reallocation in budget a concern for history department

Christina Stavale

In a meeting yesterday, the history department expressed concern about a proposal that would end its doctoral funding from the university.

The proposal came March 11, in response to Ohio legislation requiring all universities receiving doctoral funding from the state to reallocate 1.5 percent of their doctoral subsidiary to the Third Frontier – science and technology – for the next 10 years. Kent State has chosen to give this money to research in liquid crystal sciences and biomedical technology.

In choosing how the university would reallocate this money, the Steering Committee evaluated Kent State’s doctoral programs in two categories: Third Frontier alignment and external funding, as well as productivity and quality.

Peter Tandy, acting vice president for research, admitted the data the committee collected had room for improvement and was not as objective as it could have been. He said the university would have benefited from gathering data from other universities.

Tandy said it was, nonetheless, the “best that Kent State could offer.”

After reviewing the data, Tandy made a recommendation to cease funding for new students entering the history doctoral program based on the fact history was the lowest ranked department, according to the data.

John Jameson, professor and chair of the history department said this proposal angered him for a number of reasons.

“The whole nature of the university will be changed,” he said.

Jameson said because the state is not yet requiring universities to specify from which units the money for research will come, Tandy should refrain from making recommendations until the Steering Committee can acquire more accurate data.

He also expressed concern over the fact that, instead of reallocating a smaller amount of money from a number of doctoral programs, Tandy chose to pinpoint one program – the history department. Tandy said the reason for this was that, in the 10-year process of budget reallocation, he does not see it possible for a couple of programs, including history, to survive.

He and other members of the department argued that history is an integral part to the university.

“Being a medievalist, I know that history is the core of the liberal arts and the core of the university,” associate professor Isolde Thyret said.

Tandy said this proposal and the 10-year program itself would cause some change around Kent State.

“I agree that it is going to modify the face of the university a bit,” he said.

Members of the history department, however, argued it would change a great deal.

Kim Gruenwald, associate professor and graduate coordinator for the history department said this proposal would not only affect doctorate students, but undergraduates as well. The department would no longer be able to feasibly administer and grade essay exams and communicate with students on a more personal level without teaching assistants.

Miriam Kahn, a doctorate graduate student and adjunct instructor at the School of Library and Information Sciences, said she sees a connection between history and sciences.

“If you take away the ability to study history, you take away from the science department as well,” she said.

No final decision has been reached regarding this matter, and the Steering Committee is scheduled to reconvene Monday to discuss these concerns.

Contact academics reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].