Blogs > Cliopatria > HNN Poll: What's the impact of the recession on your school's history department (and students)?

Jul 27, 2009 9:50 am

HNN Poll: What's the impact of the recession on your school's history department (and students)?

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Historians Interviewed at the OAH About the Impact of the Recession

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More Comments:

loftin - 5/18/2009

I work as an adjunct in the CSU (California State University) system. I agree with Prof. McCleod about the political situation here. There are freshman Republican Assemblymen in this state who are trying to destroy the public higher education system in the state so they can blame it on the democrats in order to try to win seats. It's disgusting. In my department, the adjunct ranks were slashed mercilessly last semester. The news of the past week is more doom and gloom. Look who are governor is. Surprise suprise we're in this situation! I've been given a good class load for the fall, but cannot depend on those classes being there. Does this mean I take other work (which I have been aggresively pursuing, but no one is hiring) and sacrifice the seniority I have built up in my department? Or just hold my breath until the fall and hope the classes come through?

I will cry no tears for any senior faculty. You have jobs and benefits. You will survive. Young scholars like myself, in between our graduate programs and TT jobs, are wondering about issues of basic survival--how much food we can afford, getting evicted, not being able to go to doctors.

dantes - 5/18/2009

Kent Brockman: "Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it's time for our viewers to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside?"

Professor: "Yes I would, Kent."

Robert J Wilensky MD PhD - 5/18/2009

I have been teaching as an adjunct in the Dept of History and Art History at George Mason University for the past 7 years. Every year my student evaluations exceed those of the university and the department as a whole. This year I will apparently not be offered a course to teach due to budgetary considerations throughout the system.

Jonathan McLeod - 5/18/2009

California is especially hard hit, with the tyranny of the minority blocking the will of the majority to support education by paying taxes for schools, colleges, and universities. The California Community Colleges (CCC)have been in a funding straight jacket for a couple of years, and now the pressure is strangling us. While the University of California and the California State University are raising fees and reducing the numbers of the entering classes, CCC is unable to absorb more students, due to drastic reductions in state appropriations. The prospects for students in the state are not golden and for those seeking entry into college and university teaching, the hiring freezes even for contingent faculty fast are disappearing, especially when we have been slashing sections and are planning more cutbacks looking ahead into Spring 2010.

For the History Program in the Social Sciences Department at San Diego Mesa College (San Diego Community College District), two tenure-line positions secured two years ago remain frozen. I see no prospect of proceeding with those hires for another two years, minimum. I have been directed to cut sections each semester and summer session for the past two years and for next year. We are planning major cuts for Spring 2010, due to reduced FTEF allocations, following the steep decline in state revenues and continuing staggering deficits in the state budget. Adjunct faculty are losing sections and eligibility for benefits under contract.

The budget process in California is broken and the Rightwing anarchists are holding us all hostage. It's time for the people to demand civic responsibilty, which entails the investment of money and creativity to advance the public good, including the nurturance of future generations through education.

Raul G - 5/15/2009

The usual labor reductions,bandwith reduction on the web, this has slowed research online considerably. I have hope.

Jeff Shear - 5/14/2009

Sorry for going off topic in the note above... and for the typos in my comment about religious wars... It's early, and I'm weary.

Jeff Shear - 5/14/2009

Let's see... The banks are bust. We're printing money. The baby boomers are ready to retire. The glaciers are melting, which will put populations on the move (an estimated one billion people). Oh, we're still fighting two wars. Don't forget, these also a vague relgiou war out there. Then there's the more immediate business of the Federal deficit, as distinct from the (mind bending) Federal debt. The deficit appears to range around a staggering $1.8 billion in this year's budget. Yes, there's also a high potential for a pandemic after H1N1 visits the South American flu season, during our North American summer. (But we can make health a subset of natural disasters.) So, let's leave aside or at least discount (for the sake of sanity) the potential for natural disasters, even ignoring those induced by climate change. (Katrina.) Did I mention the uncertainty of globalization, an entirely new social aggregate approaching maturation? I don't want to be all gloom and doom. Of course, there's always nuclear proliferation (but that's been an issue for at least 50 years). However, putting it all together under the assumption that "the past is prologue...", I fear there is no prologue. We are in the midst of a period without historic precdent, a time when natural history (environmental factors) and human history have conspired with cultural artificats (religion) against future stablity. In any other era, you could hide your money under a mattress or build a fall out shelter. Not now. No easy bromides ahead. So, what's my first fear? Hyperinflation. We have had to make a nasty political bet in Washington. We've been printing money to save the financial system, utlimately hoping to preserve stablility in society. The gamble is that by protecting ourselves in the near term, we will have the time to figure out the effects of our efforts over the longer term. It's actually a good bet... but who knows. There's an inflation monster out there, and it's coupled to rising unemployment. Let's title the next ten years, "Into the Wild."

David M Fahey - 5/14/2009

No replacements for two retiring professors and no pay raises, but two tenure-track hires on a regional campus and two VAPs for the central campus. Four sabbatical leaves honored; all (with the aid of other money, e.g., Gugenheim) are for an academic or calendar year. Even before the Great Recession developed dramatically, the central administration had eliminated 200 non-teaching jobs, many of them vacant, and had increased the standard teaching load for the history department (central campus) from 2:2 to 2:3. No longer admit new doctoral students. PS: Plans for a new student center postponed indefinitely, but a new business school building, already begun, has been completed. This may provide more space for history in a previously shared building.

Heather Munro Prescott - 5/14/2009

Our collective bargaining unit agreed to a freeze on wages for the next academic year, plus three mandatory furlough days. We are losing one full-time faculty member to retirement and will not be able to replace him due to a hiring freeze. We don't have a department budget for next year so it's unclear how this will affect us in the future.