College of Arts and Sciences maintaining number of funded Ph.D. recruits for fall 2020

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The College of Arts and Sciences will recruit the same number of funded Ph.D. students for fall 2020 as it did for fall 2019, Dean Robin Schulze announced on Wednesday in an email to CAS.

Schulze decided to pause recruitment of CAS-funded Ph.D. students on Sept. 19 due to a lack of funding for the Ph.D. stipend raise to $20,000. Students and faculty were upset with the decision, so Schulze granted the Ph.D. Excellence Bridge Committee additional time to decide the best solution. 

Interim Provost A. Scott Weber announced an increase in bridge-funding from the provost’s office on Oct. 2, which will “bridge the gap” for the Ph.D. stipend increase to $20,000. The provost’s office is providing 100% bridge-funding for 2019-20, 100% for 2020-21 and 50% for 2021-22. 

Schulze said maintaining the number of funded students for fall 2020 is a “one-time only” decision to create budget space and came as a recommendation from the 10-member committee, which CAS tasked with determining “how resources for TAs and RAs would be distributed across the college for fall 2020 and beyond.” The committee recommended maintaining recruitment because the provost’s bridge-funding only provides increases for currently funded Ph.D. students and won’t cover the cost of student fees.

But the committee said bridge-funding is “not truly 100%” as it will not provide for the incoming graduate student class in fall 2020. The committee also said the university’s decision didn’t consider CAS’ overall budget. 

“A reasoned, justified plan for reconfiguring Ph.D. training in the college will take time, more time than the few weeks available between the announcement of the graduate stipend increase and the beginning of the 2020 graduate recruitment season,” the committee wrote in its recommendation.

The deans now also have the option to request additional funding from the university’s “operating budget,” a $753 million budget composed primarily of tuition revenue, student fees and state support, according to UB spokesperson John DellaContrada. Weber said this investment funding gives deans “flexibility” in order to reprioritize their budgets according to the “needs of their units.”

Gina Cali-Misterkiewicz, spokesperson for the dean, said CAS is “operating within the adjusted bridge-funding” granted by Weber. She did not specify if the college requested additional funding from the operating budget in time for publication.

Schulze said CAS’ next task is to “assess the quality of our Ph.D. programs in terms of time to [earn a] degree, completion rates, job placements, relation of current curriculum to job outcomes and cohort diversity and inclusion.”

Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor and can be reached at brittany.gorny@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrittanyGorny 

BRITTANY GORNY


Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor.