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PPE expanding program, hiring faculty member

By Chelsea Hoedl, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 5, 2013

The program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, new as of fall 2012, consists of approximately 20 declared students and is looking to accept 20 more in the upcoming admissions season, which opened Friday.

However, the program is facing significant demand as students gain greater awareness of the program. Similar programs are offered at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Arizona.

Elizabeth Anderson, director of the program, said PPE is resource-constrained and, until another faculty member is recruited, will be able to accept only a small number of students each year. PPE is in the process of recruiting a professor with expertise in political economy and plans on expanding the program once resources are available.

Last winter, about 40 students applied to the program. This year, more applicants are expected because of the increasing publicity of the program, Anderson said.

Students who are currently enrolled in the program also said they expect the program to become more popular.

“One of the great challenges that we all face at the University is that its size can sometimes cause us to miss out on important information,” LSA junior Phillip Schermer said. “I think that as more students hear about PPE, hear about its benefits and opportunities, a substantial portion of the student body will become interested.”

The program is in the process of its faculty expansion.

“We have been bringing out a number of applicants for our advertised position for interviews, and they are currently being reviewed,” Anderson said.

Short-term plans include an expansion to 30 students per round of applications.

“The prime reason to recruit someone is to expand our capacity, to serve students,” Anderson said. “It would be very exciting if the program grows, and we would certainly enjoy such prospects but at this stage we can’t say one way or another. ”

LSA senior Trevor Grantham said because PPE is a program that consists of three interwoven disciplines, it should interest a wide range of students.

“Having a background in all three really gives you the ammunition to address any problem and know how to handle it,” Grantham said. “If you have an interest in either discipline, it’s a really great way to expand your knowledge and your approach to any particular issue.”

PPE has also been increasing the number of approved classes.

“In this first full year of the program, a number of classes have been approved for the program. However, it's hard for the professors to know every single class that might fit within PPE,” Grantham said. “I believe they will gradually make this list exhaustive and this will make the program much stronger.”