And so it begins...

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Whatever else we may want to say about the financial crisis, and our leaders' ability to respond to it, I suspect that we'll be feeling the repercussions on the ground, so to speak, for years to come.

It's already begun in subtle ways here at Syracuse. Yeah, we're a private university, and so aren't subject to the whims of state legislatures, but the health of our endowment is entwined with that of the stock market, as you might imagine. We're hiring this year (I'll post the ad here soon, once it's approved), a replacement for one of my colleagues who's retiring, but at least one more will be leaving soon, and I'm not especially confident that even replacement hires will be authorized without a fight. At a time when our department is growing in terms of its leadership needs and administrative workload, that's a concern, needless to say. And in a year where I'm doing a little more travel than normal, college support--available to us in the past--has dried up, meaning that most of it will be out-of-pocket for me. I suspect that this is only the first sign of cuts to come.

I'm thinking of all this because I meant to point to Tim Burke's discussion of the need for higher ed to works towards economic sustainability, rather than relying on unchecked growth, as its baseline position. Fortunately, IHE picked up his column, making my paltry link unnecessary-ish. I think his analysis is really smart--it deserves a wider audience:

I think the most important but subtle thing that has to happen is just that every stakeholder in academia is going to have to develop new mental habits, to stop assuming or believing that growth is the default. At least at selective institutions, I find that in everyday conversation about curricular questions, administrative choices, and so on, the assumption of growth or plenitude is deeply ingrained.

Check it out.


I point-blank asked our college administrators in a meeting the other day about their plans for managing a financial crisis (a benefit of it being a small place and of me having no shame). Their answer didn't sound good. Certainly, we're not falling off a cliff yet, but layoffs, program cuts and other such options were not off the table. I think we're in for interesting times.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on September 30, 2008 6:03 PM.

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