Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I just learned that one of my friends in administration at another school has lost their job due to the budget cuts.

Back when I first got to know this friend, when they were here, what I learned from them made me rethink administration.  I would say something about having a good class of students, and they'd say "you're welcome" because they were involved in recruiting students. 

Let's face it, without administrators, admissions folks, registrars, you name it, the university doesn't exist, just as it doesn't exist without faculty, students, maintenance folks, and so forth. 

It's easy in the abstract to think about cutting administrative positions.  And indeed, I can think of a few I think we should cut.  But it's also important to recognize that these folks, too, work hard and help make the school what it is. 

And when it's a friend, someone you know works hard, is smart and energetic, ethical and humane, that makes you really think about how bad things are here, and how much worse they're getting.

It feels like we're in mourning around NWU these days, at least among the faculty and staff.  I talked the other day with an adjunct colleague about what was happening, and this person, too, will be out of work here at the end of the semester.

I don't think the students are feeling it yet, but I saw a poster up for a summer school course for a language that basically said that there would be fewer courses offered next year and they'd be larger, so this summer is a good time to fulfill the language requirement with this course.


  1. We're offering far fewer summer classes this summer, and I've had so many students in my office to complain about it. "Why?" they demand. "WHY are you doing this to us?"

    "It's not us," I explain. "It's the state legislature. They cut our funding."

    "Well, why --"

    "Because voters elected Tea Party Republicans in overwhelming numbers to the State Legislature at midterms, and --"

    "Oh, I don't really follow politics."

    At which point I grit my teeth really hard, and then say, as civilly as I can, "Yes, that's the problem. People don't follow politics, do they. So no one votes in the midterms except the rabidly Conservative voters, and so the rabid Conservative politicians end up taking control of the Legislature, and we have vicious budget cuts to education."

    My students gape at me.

    "And that's why we can't have nice things," I conclude.

  2. Oof, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. And yes, we need both administrators and faculty to make institutions possible.

  3. I feel so badly for your friend. This is getting ridiculous. As you say, some positions can go. How about VP of Assessment? (Not a real job. Yet).

  4. This is so true -- that we need the administration people, unless faculty do everything. And that the cuts are hard on everyone. And soon they will be hard on students.