How Universities Define Essential

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

It’s interesting to see the value system at work among university administrators when they actually have to cut their budgets.

A couple of decades ago, newscasters here in Washington, D. C. announced that due to a snowstorm, only essential government workers were needed on the job. Most of the federal workforce stayed home.

Conversely, the departments axed by administrators may be the ones that outsiders would spare. Conversely, those gifted with survival are the ones outsiders may find of dubious value.
For example, “At Southeastern Louisiana University, administrators shut down the institution’s French and French-education programs at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year and terminated three tenured professors with a year’s notice ,” Audrey Williams June reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education on September 28, 2012.

Meanwhile “Washington State University, like many other cash-strapped institutions in recent years, decided to cut back,” June reported. “In 2009 the university eliminated two departments and one of its foreign-language majors.” Arguably, foreign languages are a defensibly academic field of study in anybody’s book.

Two departments that Washington State did eliminate were Theater and Dance as well as Community and Rural Sociology. Meanwhile, the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies is still operating at WSU.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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