Gene Witmer, Chair of the Department at the University of Florida, offers the following update on their graduate program. (HT: Leiter Reports)
In May 2008, the severe budget crisis at the University of Florida resulted in an initial decision on the part of the upper administration to eliminate a number of doctoral programs, including the Ph.D. in philosophy. The Department of Philosophy at UF is quite grateful for the ensuing outcry against this decision, as it helped motivate the administration to reconsider its decision and opt for a temporary suspension of admissions instead. As a result of these events, however, there is now, apparently, a fair amount of confusion and misinformation abroad about the status of the graduate program at UF. This note is meant to clarify matters, especially for potential new graduate students.
The upshot of the budget reductions in the spring and summer of 2008 was that admissions to the Ph.D. portion of the graduate program were temporarily suspended. The graduate program is, however, divided into an initial M.A. portion, meant to be completed in two years, and a later Ph.D. portion. **Admissions to the M.A. portion have not been suspended**, and admissions to the Ph.D. portion are expected to resume in the fall of 2012.
As things now stand, the department plans to admit and support financially a new class of graduate students seeking the M.A. starting in the fall of 2010. Students who begin the program at that time will be in a position to complete the M.A. in two years and apply to continue into the Ph.D. We are confident that the temporary suspension of admission to the Ph.D. will end at that time, thus allowing students admitted in 2010 to make a smooth transition to Ph.D. level graduate work. The department is committed to bringing our M.A. students to the completion of their degrees and helping them prepare for advancement to the Ph.D. program.
While the events of spring 2008 were disruptive, and college budgets everywhere are very tight, the situation for philosophy at the University of Florida is starting to improve. A new Dean at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has demonstrated a firm and consistent support for the Department and has made clear his commitment to rebuilding the program. The Department is in fact hiring this year, despite the severe strains on academic budgets; the advertisement for a tenure-track position in ethics will appear in the November issue of the JFP.
The budget reductions effected in 2008 stipulate that after the three-year suspension of admissions the College may request that admissions be reopened. The Department has every reason to believe that admissions will at that time resume.