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English Profs Have Office Phone Cords Cut as Florida State Univ’s Budget Crisis Amps Up–Just like adjuncts

July 10, 2009
Florida State University
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In a move seen as desperate and somewhat shaky, Florida State University is cutting prof’s office space and removing phone lines. Now English profs, as well as other lang and lit profs will join the perks allotted to adjuncts–you know, the “privilege” of teaching somewhere, even if it costs you?  Not many people like the move, but it shows the desperate financial straits of the university.  The English Dept. Chairman, Berry says that he would rather take this route than cut class size, that cutting the phone cord is the lesser of all evils:

“We’re making choices where, do we use phones or do we increase the size of every class?” Berry said. “Given our priorities, this is less painful than other things.”

While everyone expects students to write a good paper, show excellent grammar and otherwise be proficient in the reading/writing that is necessary in college and hoped for in the work world, apparently English teachers are right up there with adjuncts:  they get no respect.

Burnt Out Adjunct says that English departments rarely  help themselves.  There is a tension in English between high art and commerce–English departments may too often choose  high art, and the arts are always cut:

The English departments need to market the functionality of good writing in order to keep their place at the university table, and the English departments are notoriously bad at advocating for themselves.  (Plus the fact that everyone hates a grammar critic/prig, and you can check out some of my recent comments regarding Inside Higher Ed’s readers who report from the English grammar background.)  They become either that guy that everyone avoids at social functions or the cat lady.

Burnt Out/Piss Poor Prof has written about this in the past on his blog.  I am looking for those posts, but in the meantime, don’t think you can just call any of those English profs at Florida State any time you want to with routine grammar questions, because there will be no dial tone.  At this rate, there may not be many people even left to answer phones.  Or, if the instructors are supposed to pay their own money to take student calls on cell phones that instructors have to purchase, well guess the students must e-mail.  Now, does the English Dept have computers at their desks still, or did the internet service leave the office with the phones?

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