Given that the dissolution of ECOP has been a fait accompli for some time now, I did not expect to read anything earth-shattering in today’s Observer article about it. Well, congratulations John McGreevy, you continually stun me. No, it’s not the tired refrain that he repeated:
The decision to dissolve the department, however, was made in part to broaden the “economics conversation” at the University, McGreevy said.
“We’re not eliminating their ideas, and we hope they continue to make as big a contribution as they have made,” he said. “The faculty may be in different units, but I’ve always thought that’s less important than the broader conversation.”
McGreevy said the new Department of Economics will be “open to different ideas and methodologies,” as opposed to embracing only one approach to economics.
It was actually this part that made my eyes bleed:
McGreevy cited the sensitive nature of closing a department as a limitation to how much he could dialogue with students before the decision was finalized, but he said he is open to student input.
“Students need to take charge of their education at Notre Dame,” he said.
McGreevy said he welcomes student involvement in economics now that ECOP has been dissolved.
“I am happy to think through with groups of students how we can best build an economics major at Notre Dame,” he said.
McGreevy is the sort of dean who meets with you (behind closed doors), makes you think that he cares about what you think, and even throws in some pandering “off-the-record” lines that convince you he might be on your side after all (I would reveal a couple, but they seem so stupid in hindsight that it isn’t even worth it). When push comes to shove, however, he refuses real engagement: meeting with assembled students on their terms, seriously considering their alternative proposals, and the like. The idea of students actually taking charge frightens him.