Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Identity Crisis

I deleted the last post. So here it is again with more description.

I found out this week that my department is in danger of being deleted. I belong to a department that you find at most regular universities, so it is hard to wrap my head around why we are being eliminated. I don't know how to respond or react. I feel like my career is in jeopardy.

There are still ongoing discussions, but I have a sick feeling that this is a done deal.

13 comments:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'm so sorry to hear this!

I've seen blog posts (Leiter, mostly) about UK universities potentially eliminating entire disciplines... yuck!

I wish you and your colleagues the best!

Anonymous said...

Sadly this is a discussion going on at many universities...we were just asked to voice our opinion about combining with other departments. Causes much stress for all - those of us who are untenured (hence anonymous post) are quite concerned.

Anonymous said...

I can totally emphathize. There has been talk at my university of merging my department (which is an engineering discipline) with basic science departments, and even nursing! We are the smallest engineering department, and we don't have our own PhD program, so that doesn't bode well for us. I think what will ultimately happen is that we will be merged with another (bigger) engineering department. In my opinion, this can be a total game changer for tenure-track faculty. If departments are merged or eliminated and you subsequently become part of a much larger department that may not know or even care about your discipline, that could be very problematic, because these people are ultimately going to be the ones to vote on your tenure case. Not trying to cause you any more problems, it's just a significant issue that you should consider if this goes through. Good luck to you! I hope it works out (I am actively applying for jobs at other universities and industry to try to get out of my situation).

Comrade PhysioProf said...

This faculty member at University College London diarized the dissolution of UCL's Department of Pharmacology.

Genomic Repairman said...

That sucks, is this due to economic factors or strategic planning?

Jenny F. Scientist, PhD said...

...what??? That's WEIRD. Because it would be very strange to not have [Very Standard Department] at ILU.

EcoGeoFemme said...

Oh no! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Katie said...

This kind of thing makes me so angry. My husband's vet school is cutting tons of staff and even entire departments, and it's so short-sighted. It saves money now but will cost so much in the future with the loss of the quality and reputation of the school, not to mention how much money it will take to restart an entire department.

I hope that the powers that be come to their senses and keep your department.

Kate said...

Fuuuuck. So far I haven't heard about this at my university, but it might just be because they are somehow keeping it quiet.

I am very sorry to hear this, and I have no idea how they can make a decision like this and have it be ok. I hope you have a faculty union and if not, that you contact the AAUP for support.

Anonymous said...

This happened at my University, where they combined Botany and Zoology to create Biology (which they did not have). In this case it probably was a good change, as students who wanted biology degrees usually ended up graduating in microbiology instead.

However, years ago, they completely got rid of the poultry department and fired all the faculty... tenure is only valid in the context of your home department.

Good luck!!!!

JaneB said...

I do hope this works out well, or at least that they find you a great new home!

It's been happening for quite a while in the UK. There has been a whole spate of 'rationalisations'... I know one university that closed maths and physics (there is now a 'Physical Science' centre which provides 'mathematical core' and 'physics core' classes for other science degrees, but awards no degrees of its own), Geology and Regional Studies for a region which is rapidly becoming a super power.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Depending on the culture of the college, combining small disciplines with other similar disciplines can have advantages... sadly, that doesn't seem to be what's going on.

I'm the chair of the "humanities" department -- which consists of art, music, theater, languages, and philosophy. Each of our disciplines has 3-5 faculty members -- and individually we'd be insignificant. Together we can ask for more and point to the large number of students we serve as evidence for giving it to us :). Otherwise, there would be no way we could play in the same political game as Math or English (both are huge!!).

Anonymous said...

I'd say bear in mind that your goals are not always the depts goals. Keep focused on your own research and papers in the event of catastrophe . . .