October 30th, 2014

Hu design

Faculty meeting

We had a faculty meeting yesterday, the day after the concert I described in my previous entry.

The point of the meeting was to bring to a vote a motion from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to reduce the requirements in the Bachelor of Arts degree, in the hope of increasing the enrollment of students who may be interested in pursuing double majors.

Most of the participants in the concert from the night before were in attendance. Two of the three new faculty seem to be frazzled from their teaching, performance, recruitment, outreach, and grant-writing activities. One senior faculty member made a point of saying how the concert demonstrated the positive direction that we are taking for the future.

I voted on cue, nodded on cue, and applauded on cue.

What I felt is that we are desperate, and are very much afraid of the viability of our department in the future.

There was some discussion of the College Music Society's recent study of college curricula, and of its recommendations for curricular adaptations aimed at job opportunities for graduates. We were all encouraged to read that document. Our Department Head pointed out a number of our graduates are employed within the field, and that it would be useful to compile that information and to compare it with the projections of the CMS report. Another faculty member (who seems to have been behind the recent email distribution, from a phony email address, of detailed information on the salaries of all of the full-time faculty in the department) said that some schools were working to prepare their students for jobs that don't even exist yet. My immediate thought was, "Or, jobs that will never exist."

It seems to me that, rather than constantly strain ourselves to try to overcome insuperable economic odds, maybe we would do better to scale back and try to live within our means, even if they are much less than we would like them to be. At least the reduced Bachelor of Arts program is a step in that direction.