Sid, what department is this that you work for? All this time, I thought you were a classical guitar instructor. And what is the “experiment” that you are talking about? The field of liberal arts as a career path?
Whatever is going on, I hope you are not in despair. I think the sky’s the limit for a guy with your brains and communication skills.
Rob, thanks a lot for the kind words, I really appreciate it.
The department I’m referring to *is* the music department—although it’s hardly the only department so imperiled. It is the highest profile, and most awarded department to be on the chopping block, however. The state schools in many regions are in pretty deep shit, financially. When I started out there 15 years ago, the whole institution was more than 70 percent funded by the state. I’ve stopped paying attention to the details, but I seem to recall 22 percent being the latest projected number. Obviously, things need to be cut. That said, it’s evidently more important to keep sports and 6-figure VPs around than it is to pay, for example, the flute adjunct $675 a quarter to teach a flute ensemble with 8-12 majors and minors in it, so I’m one of the majority of faculty who is highly questioning of the decisions.
I am extrapolating that micro, among others, to the macro that people credit Alexis de Tocqueville with referring to as “the great experiment,” which is to say, America and “democracy.”
in short, given that I see the same issues across major institutions such as academia, media, law enforcement, and medicine, it’s a reasonable leap to assume that the rest of the country is being pushed down the same path.