The recommendations started promisingly enough.
Little did faculty know, philosophy professors, among others, would lose their jobs, and students could no longer earn a degree in this and other departments.
“They are planning to cut our program and our department as of January first,” said Charlene Elsby, assistant professor in philosophy.
But philosophy is just one of the many programs IPFW plans to cut next year part of the University Strategic Alignment Process.
The Legislative Services Agency was brought in to review to programs and departments that listed recommendations they should complete by the university.
“They call it a recommendation,” Elsby said. “But as soon as they made the recommendations, they suspended admissions to our program.”
She said a month after the philosophy department received its notice, they started to change the courses based on the report.
According to the “USAP Recommendations 2.2 and 2.3”, the philosophy department is to “develop and implement a plan for attracting and retaining students from introductory courses.”
The report showed the department had a 11.6 percent graduation efficiency and an average of 27.6 graduates within the major every year, higher than many programs like biology and computer science that were not suspended.
Students affected by the suspensions and cuts were also vocal.
Shortly after the announcement, on Nov. 2 and 3, students and faculty gathered to share their frustrations, as a Teach-In was held outside of Kettler Hall. It drew 1,000 students throughout both days.
“I wanted to be out here because I am kind of passionate about this,” said Jalyn Ely, a communication major.
Ely said she is passionate about education because she enjoys learning and studying. It is important to her that other people get those opportunities also.
She is afraid of how the suspension of these programs is going to affect the community in the future. Ely is not from Fort Wayne, but enjoys it here. She is afraid the cuts will force students to leave IPFW to find a better education.
“I have three younger siblings,” she said. “At least two of them were considering coming to IPFW, and they’re not anymore.”
She explained the protest is encouraging, because students are willing to listen and talk about why they do not want these cuts to happen.
Ely said she is also skeptical with the metrics they are using to cut the programs, especially the philosophy department.
“You can’t justify cutting a foundational discipline,” she said. “They didn’t even have a good reason for philosophy.”
Steve Carr, chair of the communication department, said he does not understand why they want departments to market themselves more.
He said universities usually hire the faculty to teach classes and conduct research.
“Wanting faculty to have to conduct marketing and recruitment on top of everything else they already do seem to undermine the core mission,” he said.
He said with Indiana University and Purdue University splitting, as a result of the recommendations, it has forced Purdue to look at all the programs and make cuts.
According to the LSA study, IU will change hands with being in control of the nursing program, causing it to change from a Purdue degree to an Indiana degree.
“Purdue is going to lose a lot of money because of that,” he said. “Purdue sees a lot of small programs that either pay for themselves or make money for the university.
Charlene Elsby is not sure what is going to happen to her after the cuts have been made either. She said there has been a lack of communication between the faculty and Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond on what is to come.
“I have a contract until May,” she said. Whether that will be renewed is completely up in the air.”