Here's the good news: my dean (I think of him when he does good as *my* dean) is trying to get the provost to approve putting tenure-track lines in programs. This is a very good move ... making The Program less vulnerable to departments screwing up or getting shirty on us or not tenuring people because they only hired them as a favor to us in the first place but they don't like them enough to really want to keep them. And frankly, most departments don't "get" interdisciplinary work and we have to spend endless hours explaining what The Program does, and that it is really A Field, with Journals and Graduate Programs and Stuff. I don't know why they don't ever seem to understand this, but they don't. Or they do, and then they say, "Yes we'd be happy to hire with American Studies as long as the person can teach two sections of statistical analyis." It's a lot like saying, "I'd love to hire someone who can teach History. And Physics. Whaddya say?"Tenure-track lines in programs IS a very good idea.
Sadly, at my bizarro world university, the Dean and Provost are busy dismantling and demoting our interdisciplinary department, with its own tenure-track lines, into an assortment of disconnected programs with no tenure-track lines. The current faculty is being dispersed and sent back to our various disciplinary homes where no one will "get" interdisciplinary work, and where hiring, promotion and tenure for interdisciplinary work will take a backseat to disciplinary requirements and needs.
I'm not picky about the titles given to our interdisciplinary programs -- they can call us a department, a program, a center, an institute, or a posse for all I care -- but without faculty control of hiring, promotion, and tenure the academic quality of these interdisciplinary programs will suffer as will the simple quantity of hours devoted to teaching and research in these areas. It's a real loss for our institution, and a giant step backwards for faculty governance on our campus.