Our department is officially saved! I am so happy for my colleagues and for the many undergraduates and graduates that chose our discipline. It just didn't make sense to close us down. As my colleagues uncork the champagne, I feel some skepticism about our apparent victory.
We fought hard for existence, and it wasn't pretty. Dirty laundry was aired, conspiracy theories were conceived, normally calm and reserved senior faculty let loose. I learned more about university politics than I ever cared to know.
After my disastrous meeting with the Dean, I talked with senior faculty from my department about the meeting. They cheered me on, telling me that I did the best I could. They connected me with an assistant provost in charge of faculty development. There, I found open ears to listen to my concerns about the plans, and I was able to express myself calmly and professionally. I did not mention my run-in with the Dean to the assistant provost because my main concern was saving my department - not pointing a finger.
This ordeal threatened my job security. Even though it has passed, I am still concerned for the long term stability of my department. This also brings a harsh reality to light. Long-term, my husband and I need to work in the same town or university to make things work. We don't have this right now, and it is very difficult to manage. With this drama at my university, it is clear as day that my Mr.JP will never join me here. But short term, I am happy to survive. My colleagues deserve a 'real' department, and we fought hard for it.