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7207Re: [SACC-L] more on the end of anthropology programs

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  • Mark Lewine
    May 10, 2011
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      Yes, Bob is right, as usual...this is a strategy I used in the "business model" days, when movers and shakers still recognized that we were a college, but they insisted on applying a business model to every function...I found that I could get the "bigwigs" out simply by having newsworthy events like archaeological dig sites. Once we became corporate, the corporate club could not be bothered, they sent their deans to represent while they interacted only in their clubs. Even when I won the national Carnegie award, they just sent me to media with the PR specialists or had the marketing people create events where they would show up, say stuff, and leave...never interact, never relate to anything involving the rabble in the street. I even had NPR do a show about my class and no one in our District admin office even commented. They now have bullet-proof plexiglass barriers in their central admin building and require a flunkie to escort visitors after checking their purpose for being in the building...this happened after one homeless person found his way into the building.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Bob Muckle
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 1:08 PM
      Subject: [SACC-L] more on the end of anthropology programs

      I think Dianne's and Lloyd's comments about engaging administrators or other decision-makers in the experience of classroom anthropology is a good one, although perhaps too late for Cuyahoga. It is a strategy I too have found useful, albeit for my annual archaeology field school rather than in the classroom. I do my best to get senior administrators (and their support staff) out and into the field with my field school students each year. I also often invite faculty from other disciplines. Over the years I have been able to persuade several deans and two VPs to actively engage in the field school for at least a few hours (letting them look or excavate in areas where they are likely to find something, and place them with the most engaging students).

      Besides just wanting to share, I want administrators to make informed decisions when they make cuts. I know that the archaeology program is a bit more costly than other programs, so when budget decisions are being made, I imagine the archaeology program must come up. When those decisions are made, I want the VPs and deans to remember their experience in the field, including engaging with students.

      I like getting faculty from other disciplines involved because I likewise may want their support one day should the administrators decide to cut the archaeology program. Besides other social scientists I have actively (and successfully) encouraged faculty from the natural sciences and career areas to visit the site. As with administrators, I like to share the excitement but also I know I may need their support one day.

      This all leads me to thinking of the importance of maintaining collegiality among faculty from other disciplines. It may not only be the administrators that need to be wooed; it might be worth the effort to keep faculty from other departments in mind as well. Administrators can sometimes be convinced to spread cuts around laterally rather than make deep, vertical cuts to a single department.

      And the support can extend beyond a single institution. Over the years I have also had about a dozen anthropology/archaeology professors and 50 graduate students from the local big research universities visit my field project. Should my administrators decide to cut archaeology, I will be calling on those professors and grad students for support.

      I am quite disturbed by the threat of dismantling the anthropology program at Cuyahoga. I know it is an excellent program. I modeled much of the field studies program at Capilano after the Cuyahoga program led my Mark, and I know the current instructor (Beth) is excellent as well. I'm still in shock. I congratulate Mark for making a stand for this and offer him my unqualified support.


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