LINGUIST List 2.647

Sun 13 Oct 1991

FYI: Proposal to Shut Down Linguistics at Minnesota

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , closing Linguistics at Minnesota

Message 1: closing Linguistics at Minnesota

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 91 15:23 CDT
Subject: closing Linguistics at Minnesota
TO: Colleagues
RE: Closing the Department of Linguistics at Minnesota
Dear Colleagues,
 The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Julia Davis, has
recommended that the Department of Linguistics at the University of
Minnesota be abolished because of the financial crisis that the
University is currently in. The linguistics curriculum is to be totally
eliminated. Thus, the undergraduate linguistics major would be
eliminated, the graduate program would become nonexistant, and
there would be no curriculum to train students in other programs
(e.g. cognitive science, communication disorders, natural language
processing in computer science, language teaching and education,
etc.). There would be no long range plan to rebuild the Department.
No new students will be admitted. Current students will have to
seek financial support elsewhere at the University, complete their
degrees without the Department or linguistics courses in place,
finish their degree elsewhere, or abandon it altogether.
 If the current Department faculty remain at Minnesota, they
would have to move individually to other departments and fit in with
the teaching needs of those departments, even if it means
"retooling". Linguistics as a discipline, will be eliminated from the
curriculum. Whereas some courses in linguistics might be
occasionally taught in other departments, there would be no future
administrative support for teaching a coherent linguistics
curriculum or for reconstituting linguistics outside of the current
Departmental arrangement.
 At a meeting with a number of faculty this morning, Dean
Davis projected that the immediate "savings" to the University
would come from our loss of the supply budget, T.A. salaries, the
secretary, and the Chair's augmentation. The largest part of the
"savings" are expected to come from faculty attrition over the long
run. The effectiveness of this plan therefore depends on the salaries
of the present faculty eventually being "freed up".
 This proposal will be reviewed and voted upon by CLA
committees beginning October 17th and ending on October 22nd. The
Linguistics Department has been in existance at Minnesota for
twenty-five years. We would like to enlist your support in making a
strong case to the effect that it is not in the University's best
interest to abolish either the Linguistics Department nor the
linguistics curriculum and the undergraduate or graduate degrees at
the University. Please send two copies of your message. One can go
to Dean Julia Davis, College of Liberal Arts. The email address is
(internet). Please send a carbon copy of your letter to the
Linguistics Department email address for our files:
matter of utmost urgency. The support of colleagues in linguistics
and related disciplines will be crucial to the outcome of this
proposal. We appreciate your support.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue