The Arizona Desert Lamp

White Paper: College of World Cultures, Literatures, and Languages

Posted in UA Transformation Plan by Connor Mendenhall on 27 October 2008

The chart below describes the structure of a “College of World Cultures, Literatures, and Languages,” proposed in this white paper. According to the paper, such a college will “consolidate in a single college UA’s many strengths in research, teaching, and outreach related to languages, cultures, and societies” and “strengthen existing intellectual collaborations and streamline the formation of interdisciplinary and interdepartmental working groups and cluster hires.”

In the spirit of Matt Yglesias, I have annotated the above chart with bright red scribbles. A big red “X” indicates a department that is already a member of the College of Humanities. A big red question mark indicates a department that has not agreed to be part of World Cultures, but “would be welcome” if its faculty wanted to join.

That leaves only four departments to be gobbled up by the new college: Judaic Studies (currently in SBS), Late Medieval and Reformation Studies (currently in History), a graduate program in Translation and Interpretation, and the Center for Education and Research in Cultures, Languages, and Literacies. 

Beyond these new conquests, this proposal would merely rearrange the College of Humanities and add another layer of bureaucracy—a set of “divisions,” represented above by the line of black boxes. The proposal correctly notes that this plan would “reduce the number of administrators who report directly to the Provost,” but it does so by creating more administrators. Am I missing something? How is grabbing four obscure departments and shuffling up the college supposed to save money or consolidate strengths? Unfortunately, the four pages of blather in this report offer few answers—file this one under W, for “WTF.”

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