On April 5th, the chair of the German Department at the University of Pittsburgh was informed that the department must suspend admission to its graduate program immediately and for the foreseeable future.
The rationale for the decision was the reduction in state support for the University, the prospect of continued severe cuts still to come, and "the need to focus limited resources on the University's best programs."
The Department of German was evaluated by the Dietrich School Planning and Budgeting Committee and the Graduate Council.
The committee evaluated the department according to statistics from 2004, only a few years after the beginning of the German PhD program. Since 2004, the department has produced three PhDs and will produce three more in the next two years. The graduate students have won many fellowships and honors i.e. the ACLS Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, the Andrew Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Cultural Studies Fellowship, EUCE Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Leroy K. Irvis Fellowship, the E. Baranger Excellence in Teaching Award. Additionally, five current graduate students have one or more publications in peer-reviewed journals and have represented the University of Pittsburgh in academic conferences and roundtables both in the United States and in Europe. All of this information has been ignored.
With your signature, you can support our fight against the Dean's Office and against this dangerous trend to cut programs rather than manage and reform them.
The suspension of admissions to the graduate program of the German Department at the University of Pittsburgh:
1) is based on outdated statistics (from 2004), blatantly disregarding eight years of academic achievements from faculty and graduate students.
2) is the result of an autocratic decision, lacking transparency and clear lines of communication between the deans and department faculty, with no attempt to revise or reform the program.
3) places revenue growth over the fostering of disciplinary variety available to the university student body.
4) diminishes the overall quality of graduate and undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh.
5) sets a precedence for the dismantling of the humanities based on profit-orientation.
Thank you for your support!
PhD Candidate (ABD)
1409 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260