Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I don't normally go to long, depressing meetings about "The Budget Situation 2010-11" - held for a group of people herded together under the heading of the Academic Leadership Program - in order to take pictures of the rapt audience. It's just that my camera is always with me, and it came out to take pictures of the slides that we were shown (how was I to know that they are now publicly available on line... at least, we're told that they will be: I just went to try and make a link, and only encountered documents with titles like "Effectively marketing your academic department"). And then the little camera was resting on the table, waiting for the next chart that would illustrate how the different components of cuts that add up to about 95M less next year from the state of New Jersey can be represented in bright shades of red and green - and I saw the image that appeared on the screen, and clicked.

The faces say it all: Robin Davis, the Executive Vice-Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences is behind the nearest, rather oddly designed coffee glass (as though we are all about to consume Irish Coffee at 9 a.m.) - I don't recognize the others, but none look cheerful. How do we find 95M? The answer was clearly not going to emerge, and the strategies of Enlarge the Business School! Enlarge the Engineering School! didn't answer how SAS can deliver 100 and 200 level courses to their students without more people to teach them, and without adequate, non-crumbling classrooms. "Be like the University of Michigan," didn't seem like an instantly achievable solution, either, and there were various unconvincing aspects to being told that New Brunswick was like Ann Arbor. It's not that we expect there to be solutions - there clearly aren't any obvious ones - that is, any palatable ones (or presumably the state would cut us even more, since we would be perceived as manifestly inefficient) - and these expressions just convey the sense of a room full of numbed bafflement.

No comments:

Post a Comment