It’s official-update 16

Posted: 6 February 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It’s time to share some good news with respect to the attempt to eliminate the Department of Economic and Policy Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Here’s the text of the second resolution passed by the Faculty Senate at last week’s meeting:

II. The Case of Economics at Notre Dame

In 2003, the Department of Economics at the University of Notre Dame was renamed the Department of Economics and Policy Studies, and a new department, called the Department of Economics and Econometrics, was created in the College of Arts and Letters. Since then, Economics and Econometrics has grown in size, now including about eighteen T&R faculty members, roughly half of whom are tenured. Economics and Policy Studies has contracted in size, now including eight T&R faculty members, all of whom were tenured at Notre Dame prior to 2003 in the original Department of Economics.

A proposal is currently being considered which would change the status of these two departments as follows:
(1) The current Department of Economics and Policy Studies would be dissolved.
(2) The current Department of Economics and Econometrics would be renamed the Department of Economics.
(3) Current faculty in Economics and Policy Studies would be affiliated with other academic units in the University. Some might join the new Department of Economics, subject to that department’s approval; it is expected that no more than two or three would do so. Others might join other departments or academic units such as institutes or centers, subject to those units’ approval. If no other institutional home can be found, faculty will retain tenure at large in the College of Arts and Letters.

Normally, when a department is eliminated, the affected faculty must be scattered across the University, and may (as noted above) even be dismissed in the absence of a suitable home. But normally, when a department is eliminated, it represents a move by the University to abandon its concerted efforts in a field. In this case, by contrast, the University maintains a strong interest in economics and continues to sponsor work in this field. Should the above proposal be adopted, its net effect is that a cohort of faculty who were tenured members of the Department of Economics at Notre Dame in 2002, and who will still be called Professors (or Associate Professors) of Economics, will nevertheless in 2010 have been involuntarily excluded from the Department of Economics. The fact that this exclusion will have taken place in slow motion does not make it any less of an abridgment of the usual protections of tenure. Nor does the undoubted fact that the nature of the Department of Economics will have changed substantially over this time justify this exclusion. Departments routinely shift, often dramatically, as the nature of their fields and institutional aspirations change, and this does not negate tenure awarded earlier in the department.

Therefore, the Faculty Senate holds that, should a Department of Economics be reestablished at Notre Dame, faculty members tenured in the original Department of Economics should be allowed, if they so choose, to be members of that department.

I’d call that a touchdown.

Comments
  1. rommeldak says:

    Well, that’s something, anyway. The most infuriating thing about this incident was those directing calling it an act to preserve academic freedom. BS. It was precisely the opposite and their attempt to simply sever any contact the original faculty had with “economics” is precisely what we all expected them to do.

  2. […] What I do know is that serious questions were raised about the proposal and the process by the Faculty Senate, by the student government, and at the College Council meeting where the proposal was presented. […]

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