It feels like a strange new world here. I was in three meetings today, all of which had to do with some aspect of self-governance. In two of the three, we talked about their being no tenure any more.
I know in the business world people can be fired for pretty much any reason. And are. But that doesn't seem good. And it seems like people in business get compensated for that risk to some extent, at least at the management level.
The way it feels on the ground here is weird. I have a sense that we're soldiering on for now, but that things feel shaky, more shaky to some than to others.
If there's no tenure under state law, then does a committee which has a membership of "tenured members of the department" have a mandate to exist or do work?
If we no longer control the curriculum, then do we have a mandate to make curricular decisions?
In practice, I think any headmaster out there would be crazy to do anything other than tell the faculty/staff at any university that they'll continue to act as they have on faculty recommendations for faculty renewals, tenures, promotions, and so forth, and that they'll continue to act as they have on faculty recommendations for curricular matters. At least for now.
And as long as you have a reasonably sane administration, you can feel that reasonable decisions will be made.
The problem is, our bosses are really the legislature, and I don't think any of our faculty folks are feeling that they're especially sane these days. It's not inconceivable to most of us that the legislature could say (or the Regents, as political appointees), we're going to consolidate and have only two schools in the system with English majors. All the other English programs will be drastically reduced to teaching intro writing (if they do so already) and a few big lecture general education type courses (but only until they can eliminate general education). So maybe this doesn't happen to English, but how about American Indian Studies? Women's Studies? Philosophy? I think there are a lot of programs that the people in charge don't think are at all important, and in fact probably think are just irritating.
The problem seems so overwhelmingly huge, so dependent on the good will of the electorate, good will that feels completely absent, that I'm pretty despondent.
I went to campus at 7:45 this morning, and didn't leave until 8 this evening. Hashtag lazy faculty.