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The School of Arts and Sciences has scaled back this year's faculty recruiting efforts due to unprecedented success last year, and some officials say smaller academic programs are feeling the squeeze the worst.

According to Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dennis DeTurck, Penn's recruitment and retention efforts last year were more successful than administrators had anticipated.

As a result, SAS's recruiting budget for this year has been tightened to prioritize what the school considers its most pressing research and teaching needs, DeTurck said.

Unlike full-fledged departments, SAS programs tend to be interdisciplinary, undergraduate-centered and are unable to appoint their own faculty.

Because these programs are small to begin with, having fewer recruitment resources puts an additional strain on their current professors, who, in turn, have more responsibilities.

Programs can run the gamut in size from the relatively large Biological Basis of Behavior program to the comparatively tiny curriculum in Asian American Studies.

And while departments don't necessarily always take precedence over programs, their more established structure can make budget and hiring protocols easier to navigate.

Departments are "in some ways a budgetary unit," while programs are typically more informally structured, DeTurck said.

DeTurck acknowledged that all departments and programs are on some level "competing for attention and money."

He added that individual hiring choices may have the most impact on smaller departments because of their small size.

"As a program, you're working pretty continually on defending your disciplinary integrity," said Timothy Corrigan, director of Penn's Cinema Studies program.

Departments "have certain leverages," he added. "As a [program] director, I'm always going to say I wish I could hire more faculty."

Though it only added an undergraduate major in 2003, Cinema Studies has been successful in developing its niche on campus, having already attracted some 65 majors and 40 minors.

Asian American Studies, meanwhile, has no major program and only five to 10 minors each year, according the program's director, Grace Kao.

Kao said the program is especially lacking in full-time staff support, in addition to being dependent upon other departments for faculty.

"None of us are appointed in the programs we work for," said Kao, whose appointment is in the Sociology department.

Kao said the Asian American Studies program, which normally offers eight to 10 classes per semester, had to cancel one of its fall classes due to budget concerns.

But some programs are content to refrain from transitioning to department as they expand their course offerings.

For example, Women's Studies program co-director Demie Kurz said the Penn administration has no plans to turn the Women's Studies program into a department, and that integrating the program throughout SAS has its benefits.

Still, not being able to hire specific faculty "means there are strengths and weaknesses in what we can offer," she said.

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