Philosophy Targeted at Hiram College
The philosophy major at Hiram College in Ohio will be eliminated if a new “academic redesign” recommended by the interim dean of the college goes forward.
The announced restructuring would, among other things:
- Eliminate undergraduate major programs in economics, philosophy, mathematics, Spanish, and French (but keep minors in each area)
- Incorporate philosophy and other disciplines into a “Crime and Justice” program
- Eliminate a tenure-track line in philosophy.
According to the administration, they had input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees in developing these recommendations.
Hiram College is a 168-year-old small liberal arts school with roughly 80 faculty. The restructuring is in part prompted by the goal of making up for a $1.2 million budget shortfall, according to Inside Higher Ed.
“Incorporate philosophy and other disciplines into a ‘Crime and Justice’ program” – ironic, since this act would be such a grave injustice.Report
Disturbing and unfortunately a gathering trend.Report
As soon as a new President says “Academic Redesign” starting printing your c.v., whether you are tenured or not. “Academic Redesign” is the now the easiest way that institutions suspend tenure. They cook up bogus “educational reasons” to justify a financial argument short of exigency and dismantle tenure protections. This is the growing trend and it is eviscerating Humanities and other programs at institutions on the margins. Please support programs like these that are under attack with a quick, polite, thoughtful email to their President or Dean. Support the faculty under attack. This is a miserable situation for them especially.Report
I wonder if anyone has kept tabs of how many philosophy programs, departments, and faculty have been eliminated in the last ten years under the ruse of “curriculum reform” or “financial emergency”? I know that my own program at Belmont Abbey College was eliminated in 2011 with the same bogus reasons, only to be replaced with “political philosophy” classes taught by the political science department – classes for which we were deemed unqualified to teach! As Ulrich mentions, this is always the first step that institutions take to chip away at tenure and academic freedom.Report
As I reported from my service on the Regents University of Wisconsin Task Force (Farce, really) on Leiter’s blog ’15-’16, states that are controlled by right-wingers were setting the trend very clearly: soften criteria for firing tenured faculty from financial emergency to program redirection/reduction–and that trend has taken hold like wildfire. I even invoked the final line from (the original ending of) Invasion of the Body-Snatchers–YOU’RE NEXT! This is part of a an overall strategy to place all education K-PhD in the hands of market economy rather than in service to any other goals–as if you didn’t know. If you’re at an R-1 and think you are safe–ask Madison faculty if they think their tenure is secured by anything other than the fact that they generally have more money at their backs than the philosophers at UW–Stevens Point, who used to think that they were safe as well.Report
Since Belmont Abbey College is a private college, the philosophy department’s dismantling wasn’t directly the result of right-wing politicians. But it was certainly the case we weren’t religiously conservative enough for the President, William Thierfelder. “Financial expediency” was just a ruse, especially since philosophy faculty have been hired to teach a handful of seminarians in a program that was started about 2 years after our departure (and had been in the planning stage for years).Report