Mar. 9th, 2010


Mar. 9th, 2010 10:35 am
archaesophilia: (tea bunny)
Our department, against all odds given the current financial climate, is hiring a new physical anthropologist. I suspect that if we didn't, the position would permanently disappear into the aether, as so many do when cuts are made in academics. The problem I have with this, though, is that while we need a physical anthropologist, we appear to be fielding candidates that are molecular anthropologists. Which are two different things.

What we need is someone who can round out the course offerings in the department with things like osteology and primatology. We don't really need another person who works on ancient DNA and suchlike.

It is odd, because you'd think that in a climate of tightening budgets, the smartest thing to do for a department would be to broaden its offerings, rather than focusing on relatively rare offerings. Better it be said that we are really good at a few things, but also an excellent over all school, than that we are only good at a few things. If the archaeology program weren't as excellent as it is, based on years of development, I hesitate to think what would happen to the department.

The archaeology program's success is partially based on its reputation as a school that produces excellent CRM archaeologists. We put out a lot of terminal MA students who go straight back into the work force. They are, in effect, the bread and butter of the department.

Which brings up another point, that the university is currently pushing all departments to retain more Ph.D. students. So, the department is discussing options to stop funding (but not admitting, though not funding someone is almost the same as not admitting them) terminal MA students. IE, those archaeologists who are just coming for their MA's.

I don't envy next year's new department head (my chair, incidentally) his job in between these opposing forces. But I do hope that we eventually get the right physical anthropologist for the job. And also that we can somehow get at least a linguist in the future.


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