Went in today to talk to the academic review committee evaluating the various programs at the University of New Mexico. I was glad to hear from them that there were similar concerns to mine, but I declined to attend the open meeting; graduate students have a tendency to blab and I didn’t need to be fighting the department this close to the end of my studies.
However, I was not easy on the department, but fair, I think. There’s a real concern with the lack of financial and academic support for students not in the trendy victims’ studies fields (gender, race, environment) or in the Latin America program. Getting a GA or TA position in the department is nigh impossible for an in-state student, as they use the positions as lures for the out of state students, and there are a host of administrative blocks to getting these positions. The downside is that they are graduating a host of PhDs and MAs that do not have teaching experience!
Also, the department has been hemorrhaging professors for the last three years, stripping our once fine medieval department, and our European department of their people. The European and American departments are now dominated by gender historians…instead of a variety of specialists. (We have one science & technology people.) The new professors are decidedly unenthusiastic about their duties outside of the classroom, and most have very limited knowledge outside of their specialties. Not good.
I’m hoping they use the information to improve the department, but it will most likely be too late to benefit me.