Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ever notice which college departments never go on the chopping block?

The recent ouster of Theresa Sullivan from the presidency of the University of Virginia appears to have been at least in part the result of her unwillingness to cut academic programs according the prevailing utilitarian calculus popular among some. Here is part of the Washington Post report:
Besides broad philosophical differences, they had at least one specific quibble: They felt Sullivan lacked the mettle to trim or shut down programs that couldn’t sustain themselves financially, such as obscure academic departments in classics and German.
Classics and German "obscure"? Classics used to be all universities did. No wonder higher education is in the state it is in.

Oh, and did you ever notice that when the Sophisters and Calculators go talking about cutting academic departments that don't pay their way, they always target philosophy or (I'm thinking Florida here) anthropology--and now classics and German? Have you ever heard them talk about cutting, say Black Studies or Women's and Gender Studies?

Funny how that works.


Seamus said...

Even today, section 23-63 of the Code of Virginia provides: "The following branches of learning shall be taught at the University: the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Anglo-Saxon languages; the different branches of mathematics, pure and physical; natural philosophy, chemistry, mineralogy, including geology; the principles of agriculture; botany, anatomy, surgery, and medicine; zoology, history, ideology, general grammar, ethics, rhetoric, and belles lettres; civil government, political economy, the law of nature and of nations and municipal law."

This provision is derived from the 1819 "Act for establishing a University," in which the General Assembly brought Mr. Jefferson's vision to life.

You'll notice, by the way, that that list of subjects doesn't include anything about business administration.

Martin Cothran said...



Lee said...

What!? No Dept. of Urban Studies?

Anonymous said...

How about a Womens' Study degree in German? Rigor!

Art said...

zoology, history, ideology, general grammar, ethics, rhetoric, and belles lettres;

Interesting that the study of animals would be included in the list of subjects that encompass the essence of being human.