Hacking up the University

November 17, 2010

This is so totally brilliant I have to repost. Gregory Petsko, Professor at Brandeis, responds to George M. Philip, President of SUNY Albany regarding Philip’s decision to slash the departments of French, Italian, Classics, Russian, and Theater. Do read it. It’s slow to start, but absolutely spot on.


  1. Ouch. And it’s well written and literate. Hmm… maybe he has a point?

  2. Isn’t it just a matter of deciding your priorities?

    States are providing less funding.

    Tuition can only go up so much before the law of diminishing return kicks in, and you lose so many students that you are worse off.

    Under those circumstances, you have no choice but to cut.

    I feel quite a bit of sympathy for the University, given the circumstances.

  3. This is the usual let’s not do anything that faculty meetings are famous for. Anecdotes are not data.

    Beyond that what little heart the argument has is that students must be told what courses to take if they are to be educated, but for all except the majors, the general education courses are surveys, and basing the need for departments on the need for teaching survey courses is a weak thread indeed. (One could have a useful discussion about why only in the US college students take survey courses)

    Eli would be a lot more impressed if the good professor would ask liberal arts majors to take four years of math and science. Fat chance.

  4. […] an interesting post by my prof. at CU Ben Hale, on his blog. Indeed an excellent response to the reality, not only the idea, of […]

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