Monday, March 29, 2010

another program in trouble

I mentioned before that the University of Nevada-Reno may be closing their PhD program. Today I saw an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (sorry, no link - you need to subscribe to read it) that Florida State University will no longer offer an anthropology major. The article implied that the anthropology faculty would be laid off, as does the Tallahassee Democrat, which claims anthropology is one of 21 programs to be eliminated.

The department webpage itself, however, suggests this is a temporary set-back. If you follow the link "Want to Major in Anthropology?" on the FSU webpage, you get this message:

Prospective Students Information

Unfortunately due to state budget challenges the Department of Anthropology is not currently admitting new students to the major or admitting new graduate students. Please leave your name and email contact information if want to major in anthropology when this suspension is lifted. We encourage everyone to give us this information to help us document the demand for the major.

I assume the faculty must be losing their jobs, though, since I can't imagine that merely suspending the major would actually save the university any money. On the other hand, my liberal arts college is currently undertaking a review with an eye to closing certain programs. The administration has already said that they won't fire any tenured or tenure-track faculty, however, and our campus has very few adjuncts. It isn't at all clear how closing these departments will save the university money if the faculty are still being paid their salaries. The programs being eliminated do not have their own administrative staff, so there is nothing to be gained in the short-term.

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