Monday, September 17, 2012

CUNY Declares War On Rebel English Department. From From Student Activisim.

by Angus Johnston
Yesterday I reported that the English department at Queensborough Community College had voted to reject an administration-initiated restructuring of their composition program, and that the college’s Vice President for Academic Affairs had in response informed them that the department will be largely dismantled next fall.
According to the letter, which I have since posted on this site, CUNY intends to eliminate the composition program at QCC, dismiss all Queensborough English department adjuncts, and immediately cancel all job searches in the department. The administration has threatened to terminate full-time faculty left idle as a result of the downsizing, a move that by my estimate could lead to the firing of as many as nineteen of the department’s twenty-six full-timers. Some 175 composition sections per semester would be pushed off campus by the move, threatening local students’ ability to advance in their studies and overburdening resources at surrounding colleges.
That’s the situation as I understood it yesterday evening. I have since received further information about the crisis that confirms all of the above information and allows me to provide a fuller accounting of the events of last week.
The Queensborough dispute arose, as I noted yesterday, out of the Pathwaysinitiative, a CUNY-wide administrative attempt to systematize and centralize course offerings throughout the system. Faculty throughout CUNY have arguedthat Pathways is insufficiently responsive to local campus conditions and students’ needs, but the administration has continued to push forward with the plan on an aggressive timetable.


  1. One bunch of guys in suits eliminates an English department for trying to teach English instead of toeing the corporate line. How long do you think it will be before we get another bunch of guys in suits writing op-ed pieces about how college grads don't have the writing skills to perform in the corporate workplace?

    And will either group ever make the connection?

  2. This move toward centralizing is extremely worrisome. My own multicampus system may well be moving in that direction too, in which case my particular campus is likely to become a polytechnic rather than a comprehensive research university.

    I think the end, for the liberal arts, is probably nigh.

  3. Twenty-five years from now, people will pop open the NYTimes app on their iBopper and the stories will be full of writing errors, full of confusion, full of shit and unintended ambiguity. Then, they will cry and wish they'd valued English composition a little more back in 2012.

    1. Ah, much like Yahoo News is today.

    2. A slight correction, Bubba. People will open their NYTimes app and the stories will be full of writing errors, full of confusion, full of shit and unintended ambiguity. And they won't even understand that any of that is a problem.

      Or, as Frod so eloquently put my point, much like Yahoo news today.

    3. You should read my local newspaper. It's "there" already.

  4. By all means, let us invite the captains of business to decide what's best for education. After all, the captains of business have done well by the country so far--especially in these last few years--and clearly they know more about education than we do, as evidenced by NCLB.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.