A Business Person Questions the Dean’s Business-Like Approach
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Dean S. gave a tight presentation to the roomful of donors. Her problem was clear. The customers (students) were shifting their demands for college services from humanities and languages toward STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math), as well as toward the more “quantitative” social sciences. The university simply did not have the funds available to beef up faculty and facilities in these preferred disciplines, and sadly (at least to her mind) it had too much faculty and facilities in the humanities, where demand was slackening. Worse still, faculty in the humanities and languages had tenure, preventing her from easily shedding them and using the funds elsewhere. Her long-term plan would encourage retirements in English, classics, languages, history, and other such disciplines and shift the funds away from those departments to the high-demand subjects.
While this business-like analysis sat squarely in that audience’s comfort zone, it seemed strange coming right...