Monday, August 23, 2010

150 days

Today is the start of Fall Semester 2010, exactly 150 days before January 21, 2011 which marks the end of my contract with LSU.  Here's what we know about the situation:

*  We were told nearly 400 instructors received pink slips back in January 2010.  If they are all released, it would be nearly a third of the faculty. (Later we learned that only 238 letters of non-reappointment had been sent).
*  An email, carefully calculated to arrive on the day when most of the faculty and students had officially begun their summer vacation, announced that the University was seeking to eliminate several programs, including degrees in Latin and German.
*  On July 16, the Board of Supervisors met to discuss the proposed program cuts.  The motion was evidently tabled but there has been no official report of that meeting.

So where does this leave me (and the other 300 instructors in the same boat)?  We can only assume that we have no job as of January 21, 2011 and must plan accordingly.  In other words, there are exactly 150 days for me to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  I've got many irons in the fire, including writing academic articles and applying for teaching certification in Austria, along with non-academic writing projects, ideas for self-incorporating and Plan B.

I do not mourn the loss of my job.  I see it as an opportunity to spread my wings, both professionally and individually.  But it galls me that the humanities-based education on which the modern university was founded has been devalued to such an extent that these courses, which foster cultural communication and understanding, are the first on the chopping block.  I feel like someone has told me that everything I've studied since I was 13 years old was just a waste of time -- and I'm too young to be put out to pasture!!

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