Wednesday, June 28, 2017

If it wasn't for Nihilism

I'd have nothing to believe in.  Ba-doom Pshh. Jokes aside, it's a sign of our times that a college named after a philosopher is reviewing the viability of its philosophy program. On one hand, the value of a liberal arts education is undeniable, but in the future, those benefits may go solely to those who can afford to attend an elite university. That wasn't me. On the other hand, the philosophy programs were low producing--ten graduates last year in the undergraduate program and two in the graduate. I could use another hand. From The Houston Chronicle.

University of St. Thomas may eliminate philosophy programs
The University of St. Thomas — named after philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas — may eliminate philosophy programs, a signal of financial strain and a broader move toward professional programs at the private Montrose school. 
Administrators are reviewing student interest, department offerings and existing costs this month in advance of a June board meeting, sparking outcry among alumni and faculty. Supporters have raised more than $11,500 for a faculty legal defense fund amid fear that the review will spur large-scale cuts. 
Robert Ivany, the university's departing president, withheld annual contracts from tenured English and philosophy professors on May 15, when he alerted them to a department review for potential reorganization or program elimination. Growing financial deficits brought the review, he said, and those departments were selected as St. Thomas adapts to greater interest in science, technology, engineering, math and nursing. English professors received contracts later last week after faculty negotiation. 
St. Thomas faculty and alumni said they see Ivany's letter and the possible elimination of department programs as a betrayal of the institution's core. 
The Basilian Fathers — who emphasize Catholic philosophy and theology as crucial to higher education — founded the university 70 years ago. Today, St. Thomas holds as its mission statement a commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the interplay between faith and reason. The university enrolled about 3,300 students last fall, and it says its Center for Thomistic Studies is the only graduate philosophy program focused on St. Thomas Aquinas' thought in the U.S. 
Faculty are "scared" to see philosophy programs "on the chopping block," said Ramon Fernandez, an accounting professor. "It means that the university really is in a financial crisis, or they are just going to switch gears and move in other directions, maybe STEM." 
Experts say private colleges have moved toward more practical disciplines as concerns over college costs and the value of a degree have grown.

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