The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article (“When Tenured Professors Are Laid off, What Recourse?”) that examines the toll troubled economic times is taking on tenured professors. Take the University of Southern Mississippi for example. With Mississippi’s statewide higher-education budget facing cuts up to 20 percent, many academic majors are on the chopping block. In August, when an emergency committee named two majors, economics and technical education, as possibly becoming eliminated, professors in those departments were, naturally, concerned. Hearings concerning the issue of revoking tenure from faculty within these departments are set to be held…but only after the state board’s official termination of the department. Hmmmm, so what would happen to these departmentless, tenured professor?
In other news concerning the economy’s effects on higher education, Notre Dame’s plan to dissolve the department of economics and policy has caused quite a stir. Campaigners hoping to save the department argue that the current economic climate is “exactly the wrong time to abandon a department known for its skepticism toward mainstream academic models of economics.” The department, created in the 1970s, centers on questions of labor, poverty, and development, as opposed to ideological mumbo jumbo (sorry Adam Smith). At least the faculty of this department are expected to be scattered into other departments and institutes at Notre Dame.
Dad, be careful. It’s a tough world out there.