This story from The Guardian strikes too close to home:
Students at Middlesex University, in north London, are engaged in a lengthy “sit in” over plans to phase out philosophy teaching at their campus, a decision they claim is ideologically driven.
Some of the world’s leading philosophers have waded into battle, declaring in a letter that the closure is of “national and international concern”. The controversy is a sign of things to come as cutbacks are made in humanities departments across the country.
Middlesex’s Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, an international leader in subjects such as critical theory, aesthetics, Marxism and psychoanalysis, is now in jeopardy.
And the reason given for closing the department? Simply financial:
In an open letter to his colleagues and students published last month, Professor Peter Hallward, programme leader for the MA programmes in philosophy at Middlesex said: “The dean explained that the decision to terminate recruitment and close the programmes was ‘simply financial’, and based on the fact that the university believes that it may be able to generate more revenue if it shifts its resources to other subjects.”
It’s always been my understanding that business and science programs generate more income than humanities for univiersities, and so they pay their faculty a great deal more. I’ve heard that one of Notre Dame’s gravy trains is the Mendoza School of Business. But I am still unclear as to exactly how and why these programs are so profitable. If anyone has sources on this I would greatly appreciate the comments, because it seems like an important thing to understand if we want to change the trajectory of the state of the liberal arts in higher education.