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My Gloomy Day

October 20th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Nah, it's not really that bad, but I do miss DH. The prospect of another 10 days without him isn't brightening my world.

One of the things that is weighing heavily is this lovely news item from my dear friend, the governor:
UW must take 38-percent of the $174-million in non-specified cuts which are budgeted for state agencies over the next two years.

Since the UW system accounts for something like a whooping 5 percent of the state's budget, I can't quite see why we're taking a 38 percent hit. Could it be because we've been among his loudest opponents? Nah, he couldn't be that small-minded, could he?

If people who bemoan university spending could come see my office, they'd be shocked. Students are almost always shocked. I'd say 50 percent walk in, look around, and say, "Nice office" or "Nice digs."
Could it be the 1960s yellow metal desks? The 1979 model telephone? The floor that gets washed once a year? The fact that three of us are assigned to that office?

Budget cuts in my department mean two things: no more hiring, thus cutting lots of programs, and larger class sizes. I'm back to disgusted, depressed, and dejected.

9 Responses to “My Gloomy Day”

  1. snafu Says:

    it's too soon to be disgusted, depressed and dejected. Given that staff salaries are the biggest line item, what percentage of staff will be cut? How many furlough days will be applied to help retain instructors? What will happen to your program?

    I know it sounds simplistic but if the floor is too dirty, take a Swiffer [wet] to it.

  2. My English Castle Says:

    No, snafu, it's not too early. This is our second huge cut in less than a year. I know what will happen because we've done all sorts of projections. There are no furlough days. Furlough days were a lie anyway--a sham made up for workers in different sorts of jobs. There is no way that any instructor worth their salt could actually take a day off during the term. It's impossible.

    What will happen to my program? Let me guess. Smaller class sizes in remedial classes will disappear. Less individual attention means less retention of first-year students. That ultimately means lower graduation rates. Everyone will be cut to their contractual minimums. The $500/month pay cut that most of our staff took will be revisited and probably raised. We won't be able to attract the kind of people we want and need.

    And thanks for the cleaning advice: I would have never thought of that. You know us dreamy academics.

  3. laura Says:

    I'm sorry. I wish it were different. In grad school and early SAHM days I was an independent contractor in academia in the world of Educational Telecommunications. If I were to go back to that capacity (though my education is in a different area), all positions are "grant-funded pending". So I suppose that IL is facing similar budget cuts, too.

    Hang in there!

  4. littlegopher Says:

    You have really had quite the road to travel lately.... ((hugs)) to one strong, smart AND resilient woman.

  5. PauletteGoddard Says:

    My condolences on living in Wisconsin _these days_. No guilt-ridden mortgage bankers have made bequests or endowments to your university? Can you get a TA to scrub your floor, or is that breaking union rules? I'm shocked that three academics are in an office... not what I remember from my university days.

  6. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Also, if you're considering submissions for what to name your nine-day fling, "Novena to St. Chuck(-it-out)?" I wish I came up with that one first.

  7. MonkeyMama Says:

    I know what you mean. We went to see our alma mater a couple of months back, and I was kind of shocked by the disrepair of some of the buildings. I wasn't sure if I simply didn't notice before, or if it had been the same way 15 years ago. I was too focused on the quality of education I did get (great price) and the business building had been new, where I spent most my time. It was probably pretty run down back then. I still appreciate the educational quality, but second guessed wanting to send our kids there, 3rd generation. What are the odds those buildings would even stand in an earthquake?

    Of course, my kids' elementary school can lament the same. The place is a shambles, an extraordinarily old building is slated to be torn down at some point. Pre-enrollment at some orientation I remember a woman wrinkling up her nose and telling us the nearest public school was MUCH nicer. But the substance and quality is unbeatable. We were both kind of like, um, we are a little more concerned with substance than appearance. But, lord forbid we want safe buildings and clean floors. The LUXURY of it all! Wink

  8. My English Castle Says:

    We've had some very flush benefactors, but all their money goes to their very particular bequests. We have a really lovely Business building with cool signs that advertise upcoming classes and seminars. My temporary office there is wonderful. I'm the only one in it, but the English department wants me in the dept for most of my office hours. There are not many wealthy English majors, but generally we're a more fun place to work, at least for me. There's always someone passing food around, we recycle kids clothes with each other, and usually there are stacks of giveaway books on the table in the office. I wish I could get a TA to wash the floor, but they are unionized, and we're not. We do wash it ourselves, but the three of us have close to 100 students apiece. It's like a bus station in there some days.

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    {{{hugs}}} I'm sorry to hear how things are going with the gov and finances ..

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