History and English are not safe.

5 05 2011

I don’t want to stop you from reading all of this very important and well-written academic horror story. Therefore, I’ll just pick out this tidbit from the end to make a point:

It seems clear that the goal of this “recalibration” is to make Bemidji State more of a vocational school, to give customers the career results they demand. One of my graduate students articulated the trouble with this line of thinking: in ten years, she said, if someone wants to get a liberal arts degree, he or she will have to be able to pay private school prices for it.

If you think this sort of thing only happens to the foreign languages and classics departments of public universities you are fooling yourselves. Unless you teach business administration or your research produces patents, they’ll be coming for your department eventually.




2 responses

5 05 2011
The real higher education bubble: Take two. « More or Less Bunk

[…] At my school, displaced Californians are the Great White Whale of college expansion. We’ve built three new posh dorms to hold them and other out-of-the-region students, while our older housing is mostly empty. Even with the dorms near full, money from the general fund has to go to pay the bonds back that built the dorm in the first place. This kind of growth isn’t sustainable, especially if every other college that we compete against for students is trying to do the same kind of thing. If “keep digging” is Plan A, what’s Plan B? I’m afraid it’s “recalibration.” […]

6 05 2011

I get your point–and the point of the author in the linked story. But what I think this sad data point illustrates is that no one is safe from the crazed whims of a powerful administrator. Why the hell didn’t the faculty go with a no-confidence vote, when the Prez of the uni was clearly upending the mission of the institution? Why weren’t people up in arms and in the Prez’s office early last fall, instead of slinking around advising new hires to hit the job market again?

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