Here are the latest happenings in the ongoing tales of academic life between the disciplinary cracks at my Bizarro World university.
Faithful readers may remember that in our last episode, administrators at Bizarro U were busy dismantling my interdisciplinary department and sending all of the faculty back to our various disciplinary homes – all while anticipating that interdisciplinary research, teaching, and service would continue on campus unaffected by these trivial changes.
Now we have just been informed by our leaders that our interdisciplinary programs are to be resurrected and reborn at Bizarro U, not as simply another academic department, but as a brand new college. This is astounding. And not only has the creation of this college been conceived and decided since January, with barely a whisper to the faculty, it will be in place starting July 1. Truly bizarro.
I'm thrilled by this new development, although still less than happy with the continuing lack of faculty consultation. At this point, though, I'm willing to be cautiously optimistic about the future of interdisciplinary work on my campus. I think, against all odds, we may see a dramatic increase in institutional support for interdisciplinary research and teaching.
There is one very large catch in the current plans for the new college – it will not have any tenure lines of its own. This means that all the faculty working in the new college will have other masters to please who hold the strings of tenure, promotion, and merit raises. However, this may be a temporary situation. The complications of such a system may outweigh the difficulties of shaking lose tenure lines from other colleges. We shall see.
In any case, things are looking up at Bizarro U. Not only do I have tenure now, but I may get to teach in a shiny new interdisciplinary college. Bizarro.