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Old 02-20-2006, 06:09 PM
Lynne S. Darden Lynne S. Darden is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
Default GDR Transition from CSGS to Theo School

Hey guys, here's the minutes from the GDR special meeting last February 8. Please post your comments here. Thanks!


February 8, 2006

Prepared by Prof. Stephen Moore

Around fifty students attended the meeting and met with Deans Beach, Rogers, and Yardley and GDR Chair Stephen Moore. Rogers relayed Dean Pain’s apologies for his absence, due to his having to attend a funeral. Beach provided a brief, preliminary account of the current state of affairs concerning the proposed relocation of the governance of the graduate programs in religion from the Caspersen School to the Theological School. She stated that the Board of Trustees would not take action on the proposal until their May meeting. She added that the administration and faculty would greatly appreciate student input as discussion goes forward, and invited questions from students.

Questions raised by students during the course of the meeting included the following:

· Would the GDR still be part of the Caspersen School?
· What would students’ diploma say upon graduation and which Dean would sign it?
· Would the admissions selection process remain the same?
· What is the rationale for the proposed relocation?
· Would tuition change?
· Would a PhD or a ThD be offered after the relocation?
· Could the GDR maintain a separate identity within the Theological School? Could it be successfully marketed as such?
· Would the ratio of theological students to graduate students in classes change?
· Would the move compromise current academic standards?
· Would the unique identities of the current graduate programs in religion survive the move?
· Would the move reduce the attractiveness of the programs for non-Christian students?
· How would diversity be maintained if fewer students are admitted to the programs?
· Would it be harder for graduates from the programs to secure positions at secular university if the programs were administered by the Theological School?
· How would the Theological School’s United Methodist affiliation impact the graduate programs?
· Would the Association of Theological Schools need to approve the relocation and will they accredit the graduate programs?

The questions were addressed as they arose by the Deans and/or Moore. Answers were as follows:

· The GDR faculty would fully continue its interdisciplinary collaborations with CSGS programs such as History, Women’s Studies, and African American Studies. The proposed relocation is primarily a shift of governance. It should not be construed as a flight of the religion faculty from the Graduate School. Graduate School connections would remain vital for the identity of the GDR and its constituent faculty and students.
· The diploma would say “Drew University,” as it always has. And the President, the Deans and the Registrar are all in agreement that current students may, if they wish, have their diplomas signed by the Dean of the Graduate School, as in the past.
· The key players in current graduate admissions decisions are the faculty in the individual areas, and that would continue to be the case after the relocation.
· The most pressing reasons for the proposed relocation include: the prospect of an improved graduate curriculum, as the graduate religion faculty attains full control of a curriculum no longer spread between two schools; the prospect of increased efficiency in the administration of the programs, as reduplication of work in the Theo and Grad Schools is eliminated and the administration is streamlined; and the prospect of being able to offer improved financial packages to students, due to the programs being able to benefit from the Theo School endowment.
· Possible reduction in tuition rates for the GDR programs is currently being considered. Comparative research is being undertaken on competitor schools in an effort to determine the “right price” for our graduate programs in religion, and discussion is underway with the chief financial officers of the university. It is not possible at present to predict what the outcome of these various deliberations will be. Any decisions reached will need to be ratified by the Board of Trustees.
· The degree offered after the relocation would continue to be the PhD. There are no plans whatsoever to switch to the ThD.
· Maintaining the GDR as an entity separate from the Theological School, and protecting its independence and identity, is a major concern of the religion faculty as discussion of this move proceeds. A GDR marketing brochure separate from the Theological School catalog is envisioned, and the GDR web pages would continue to be linked to the Caspersen School site.
· We hope to be able to create more seminars open only to PhD students. The necessary critical mass would be generated by offering courses on interdisciplinary topics that would be of interest to PhD students across different disciplines.
· PhD students will continue to be held to a significantly higher academic standard than theological students.
· We hope that certain CLA faculty may be able to teach graduate religion courses (graduate religion faculty teaching undergraduate courses in exchange), in accordance with President Weisbuch’s vision for a more integrated university. This should help increase the appeal of our programs for non-Christian students. The proposed relocation is emphatically not an attempt to “Christianize” the graduate religion programs.
· The graduate religion faculty shares a passion for fostering diversity within the student body, and this will continue regardless of the number of students admitted.
· It should not be more difficult for graduates from our programs to secure positions at secular universities if the programs are administered by the Theological School. The specifics of an applicant’s preparation for the position will be the key factor. Given the kind of scholarship with which our religion faculty is mainly associated, both nationally and internationally, there is little chance of our PhD programs being pegged as narrowly denominational or “excessively Christian” even after the proposed relocation.
· The Theological School’s affiliation with the United Methodist Church will not be allowed to compromise the graduate programs. The religion faculty is adamant on this point.
· Dean Beach has already discussed the proposed relocation with ATS administrator Dan Alshire. His response was unequivocally positive and supportive.

In conclusion, Moore asked that students, faculty and administration remain in conversation around these issues. He suggested the desirability of a student liaison through whom student questions, concerns and suggestions could be funneled to faculty and administration. He also invited students to contact him directly via e-mail or in person.

Last edited by Lynne S. Darden : 02-22-2006 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 02-22-2006, 10:15 AM
Jung-Doo Kim Jung-Doo Kim is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
Default Diploma

It is good that the diploma would say “Drew University.” However, would the diploma say "The Casperson School of Graduate Studies," as it always has? In my opinion, it is better that it says "The Casperson School of Graduate Studies, Drew University," as in the past, rather than "The Thelogical School, Drew University."
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:15 PM
Kevin S. Huvane Kevin S. Huvane is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2
Default The GSA Homepage

There is no question that this particular message regarding the issues surrounding the GDR move are important to all graduate students. I would like to thank GSA President Lynne Darden for this very thorough exposition of a most recent meeting. I would also like to make a small request regarding the GSA homepage. Could we find a way to make sure that this page is updated so as to show a comprehensive list of meeting dates, times, and place? I would think it important now more than ever that every form of communication is used to relay such an item since participation by the entire graduate student body in GSA meetings will make this organization more responsive to the community it intends to serve. I would further urge that all graduate students send letters of praise to the GSA executive committee for all of the hard work they have done to be an informative and affirmative voice for the graduate student body.


Kevin Huvane
Graduate English Area
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:19 PM
James J. Rovira
Posts: n/a
Default very fishy...

Doesn't seem right for a program to be "governed" by one school while still be located in another. How is the GDR meaningfully a part of the Casepersen school if it's governed by the Theological school? Furthermore, if the Theo school is running the show, it is a Theo school program and all ties with Caspersen, out of honesty, at least, should be cut. If all the people managing the program and teaching in the program are Theo school faculty first and foremost, then it's a Theo school program.

When the GDR was first created in 2004 grad students was told very explicitly that there were no plans to pull it from the Caspersen school. The minutes are probably still on the GSA website. This move makes it sound as if we were being lied to then, and are being lied to now.

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Old 06-06-2007, 12:38 PM
John D. Muccigrosso John D. Muccigrosso is offline
Junior Drewid
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 112

Originally Posted by James J. Rovira
When the GDR was first created in 2004 grad students was told very explicitly that there were no plans to pull it from the Caspersen school. The minutes are probably still on the GSA website. This move makes it sound as if we were being lied to then, and are being lied to now.
Isn't there a new president now?

Since there were no plans in 2004, how was that a lie?

What's the current lie you're referring to?

What exactly is the problem with transferring the program since, as you say, all the faculty are in the TS anyway?
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:32 PM
James J. Rovira
Posts: n/a
Default Well...

I have no problem with the grad programs in religion being governed by the Theological school. I have a real problem with the grad programs in religion being governed by the Theological School and it continuing to be called a CSGS program. If it is a CSGS program, it should be governed by the Caspersen school. If it is governed by the Theo school, it should be a Theo school program.

The current President is carrying out decisions made before he arrived -- he was hired to carry out these decisions.

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Old 05-15-2008, 08:21 PM
James J. Rovira
Posts: n/a
Default See you all..

I'll be graduating this Saturday, so good luck to you all in this transition to the new history program. Those interested in staying in touch with me can reach me at jamesrovira@gmail.com

This new degree will be primarily received by other institutions as either a history or a cultural studies degree -- literature will be understood to be secondary since it's not mentioned in the title of the program. That's a predictable outcome given the reviewers' praise of the M.H.L. program and hostility to English.

What was very amusing to me in the reviews was that excuses were made for the M.H.L. program (such as limited resources) that also applied to the English dept. program -- but weren't mentioned in the English dept. review. That the job market was cited as a reason for ending the English dept. grad program but the review still had to admit Drew English grads got jobs in similar institutions (how many jobs are out there for "history and culture" Ph.D.'s? Anyone do a study?). That -- and this is possibly the dumbest reason of all -- other departments at Drew complained about a grad program in English when their programs don't have a grad program. How does a history and culture grad program solve this problem?

Furthermore, since M.H.L. faculty and students had a positive attitude toward the process from the beginning, it seems clear that they were told what the outcome of process would be ahead of time, probably even before admissions to the programs were suspended. The review process was canned -- it was a sham. The results were decided before the review process began. The entire process smacks of duplicity and dishonesty from beginning to end. Perhaps that is the only way this could have happened, but it's very hard for me to walk away from all this with any respect for those involved.

While I have serious problems with the way this transition was carried out, hopefully the end product will be good. During my entire time at Drew I've always wanted English to work more closely with MHL, even to the point that I wished courses in the M.H.L. program were made mandatory for English grad students (say, historiography, or period history surveys, or intellectual history). M.H.L. faculty are more than competent and have a great deal to offer students in the English program. I don't think I was the only person who desired this, and many more were probably open to the possibility.

What this should tell you is that the duplicity behind this process was probably unnecessary. Yes, no doubt some would be resistant to change. But how we do things is just as important as what we are doing. The Drew Board and President, unfortunately, don't seem to undestand this.

But I guess that's what you get when you buy into business models: the mentality that gave the world Enron and Worldcom, Savings and Loans scandals, and all the other ways of making a quick buck with little forethought, accountability, or dignity.

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