The most recent edition of Notre Dame’s Scholastic magazine had an excellent article called “The Homeless Heterodox.” Unfortunately, they do not seem to have an electronic version that I can link to, so here are some highlights:
Fifteen Notre Dame professors will become essentially homeless over the next two years as a result of the impending dissolution of the Department of Economics and Policy Studies… they will be boarding up their department’s office in O’Shaughnessy Hall and deciding where, if anywhere, they fit in at the University.
The article then goes on to give the history of the split and tensions that emerged afterward. About the ranking of the department:
It’s not the case that professors in the Policy Studies Department are neglecting to publish altogether. Policy Studies professor David Ruccio served as editor for the journal Rethinking Marxism for 12 years until this past May. Others publish in journals that deal with topics such as political economy, developmental economics or Keynesian economics. The issue is that external reviewers of the economics department expect professors to publish in more mainstream journals.
Ruccio is also concerned about the implications this move will have for students and the development of a liberal arts education that encompasses a variety of viewpoints. “Non-neoclassical approaches allow students and scholars to see the flaws in such a system and to devise alternative economic and social arrangements – to help whose who are the victims of economics and social injustices,” he says.
And the article ends with the response:
Economics and Econometrics professor William Evans, however, says he disagrees with the characterization of his department as “crazy, imperialist, crackpot classical economists” who are members of an “anti-reality, anti-social justice club.” Instead, he argues for the compatibility of social justice issues with research-based neoclassical economics. Evans points to several colleagues in the Economics and Econometrics department involved in projects concerning the economics of religion, the incentives for raising foster children, and measuring poverty under extreme circumstances.
Professor Nelson Mark … goes a step further, asserting that the current scandal is not about social justice or the place of alternative views, but of academic quality. “The faculty [in the Policy Department] are way behind the frontier and haven’t done anything useful since they got their dissertations in the 60s and 70s. They’re out of date and not doing very much,” he says.
Mark ultimately looks to the market as a deciding factor for the dissolution of the Policy Department and as a recommendation for its former professors.