This note is going around. Washington State is getting rid of its community and rural sociology department. This is bad news for our colleagues, a bad precedent for our discipline, and something I think we should fight. Information is provided below.
Some of you have probably heard the news … In the face of a 10.5% budget cut, Washington State University announced on May 1 that it will eliminate the Department of Community and Rural Sociology (CRS) and terminate the employment of eight faculty members, including Don Dillman (Regents Professor), Emmett Fiske (Professor), Annabel Kirschner (Professor), Ray Jussaume (Professor and Chair), Jose Garcia-Pabon (Assistant Professor), William Gray (Professor), and myself (Assistant Professor). For most of us, employment will end in 12 months. Because Jose has been at the university for less than two years, his employment will end in 6 months. More information about our department can be found here.
In the words of my, Annabel Kirschner: “Our unit has 3 problems: extension support, size, and inaccurate information. President Floyd has decided to do vertical cuts to cope with the budget reduction to ‘preserve the quality of the university.’ Thus sciences and vet med are being cut by around 4-5%, and extension is being cut by 20% (much better than the 75% cut that was floated by the provost at one time). Many of us have extension appointments, and we are relatively small, so they’re hoping they can cut the department without too much of a problem.
The information that filtered up to the top was also inaccurate. It stated that our faculty brought in only $23,000 in grant money last year. Actually department faculty have averaged over $600,000 for the last 3 years but some of this gets credited to other units because of split appointments and other factors. Our teaching program was not recognized either. While we don’t have a major, we teach about 400 student credit hours per year in 4-6 different courses on a .8 teaching FTE. We also serve on numerous MA and PhD committees for students from different departments.”
Faculty, staff, students, stakeholders, and others have until the end of the month to appeal this decision. CRS is seeking letters/emails of support (for the department as a whole and/or individual faculty members) from our colleagues at other universities. The individuals to contact are listed below. Sending copies of letters/emails to me would be much appreciated so we can assemble as much information (i.e., letters of support) as possible here in the department to help in our fight.
Individuals to contact:
President Elson Floyd
French Administration 422
Pullman, WA 99164-1048
Provost Warwick Bayly
French Administration 436
Pullman, WA 99164-1046
Daniel Bernardo, Dean
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
Pullman, WA 99164-6242