LINGUIST List 2.656

Mon 14 Oct 1991

FYI: Closing of Minnesota Linguistics: Amended Version

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  1. , closing Linguistics at MN

Message 1: closing Linguistics at MN

Date: Mon, 14 Oct 91 18:30 CDT
From: <>
Subject: closing Linguistics at MN
 TO: 		Colleagues
 FROM:	The Department of Linguistics, U of Minnesota
 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. It will be
voted on by the Budget Committee on the 17th, by the Curriculum,
INstruction and Advising Committee on the 18th, and
by the Assembly on the 22nd. The Linguistics Department has been in
existence 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. You are also invited to send
written testimony about the standing and reputation of the
Department of Linguistics. Such testimony from colleagues who are
outside of the University of Minnesota will be weighed heavily in the
committees that will be considering the proposal to close the
Department. It will also provide the deans with a current barometer
of the Department's standing.
	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 so that we can transmit it to
the committees which will be voting on this matter:
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.
Linguistics Department faculty:
Andrew Cohen, Bruce Downing, Jeanette Gundel, Kathleen Houlihan,
Larry Hutchinson, Michael Kac, Rocky Miranda, Jerry Sanders,
Amy Sheldon, Joe Stemberger, Nancy Stenson, Elaine Tarone.
Our 24 hour fax no. is: 612-625-2312.
Suggestions of alternative measures for cutting costs would be
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