On Thursday the Chair of my department sent an email to me and 13 of my colleagues inviting us to a meeting with the Dean on Friday. We knew it was bad news because not all instructors in the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures were on the cc: list. The Dean waltzed in and said "There's no good way to tell you what I have to tell you, so I'm just going to be brutal. The University has decided to enforce the letters you received in January. In other words, as of January 2011 you no longer have a job at LSU."
While this was expected, it was heartbreaking to see all the people, most of whom have spent their entire professional career teaching Louisiana's students, grasp the implications of this blunt announcement. The usual questions were asked aloud: "What will happen to the students?" "Are we eligible for unemployment?" "What were the criteria for retaining some of the instructors?" But there were individual questions that were left unasked: "How will I make my house payments?" "How will I feed my five children and send them to college?" "How will my chronic health issues be treated without insurance?"
Most of us are in the same boat: we were hired to teach. We were not expected to do research and publish to keep our jobs. We taught onerous course loads and some of us taught a new class practically every semester. Our "research" was done to present the material for our students but it was never published. This means each one of us will enter the job search without the basic credentials that separate the candidates into Pile A and Pile B. I've been through this before: No one will even look at my application and I will receive a form rejection letter. This despite the fact that I can teach Latin and Greek and Classical Studies and German and I have experience in residential colleges, academic advising and study abroad.
I'm taking this weekend off to recuperate (I've been sick for a week) and regroup. Monday morning will find me recouping my losses. Words of encouragement strongly desired!