Sunday, May 18, 2008

Foreclosure of homes and philosophy departments

Homes are being foreclosed at a fearsome rate these days, and it begins to look as though academic departments and programs are a similarly endangered species. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the termination of the German Department at the University of Southern California, and on May 5, I noticed in The Chronicle that the University of Florida was terminating its doctoral program in Philosophy.

The university, confronting a substantial cutback in state appropriations, has announced that it will lay off 20 faculty members, among other steps, to reduce costs for FY2008-9. As part of this retrenchment, President Bernie Machen has also proposed reducing undergraduate enrollment and cutting back on research expenditures, as well as eliminating some degree programs.

I gather that other Florida universities are reacting similarly to dire state budgetary situations. Many states are experiencing exactly the same financial difficulties, and passing through their problems to public institutions of higher education.
Source: Stan Katz, "The Unity of Philosophy" (The Chronicle Review, May 14, 2008).

[Hat tip to E.F.]