The Needs Attention project and this site have remained in hibernation while the new dean was being selected and the humanities-wide external review was being conducted. However, we believe that it is time to begin using this space for the dissemination of information. The new dean, professor Georges Van Den Abbeele, has sent out a spring memo on the situation of the humanities and how he plans to move ahead. While we remain optimistic, some of the language of the memo concerns us. Specifically, he is still using the language of "workload inequalities in the School." "Workload inequalities" has been used in the past to emphasize students as pure numbers (majors-to-faculty and student-credit-hours-per-faculty) over quality, cutting-edge teaching and research in the humanities. Let's hope that Dean Van Den Abbeele will not forget the latter in repositioning the school for maximum success down the bottom line.
The other major concern is the lack of any student input, undergraduate or graduate, in the ad-hoc committee. We might want to consider asking for student representatives, because who else besides students have a vested interest in maintaining quality education over quantity?