Thursday, April 29, 2010
I've found the news that Middlesex University is closing down its philosophy department rather interesting as yet another sign of the slow implosion overtaking our standard systems of education. What is remarkable about this particular case that is not about many other department closures is that the very fact that this was considered an option at all shows that Middlesex does not consider teaching and research to be among its primary goals. Middlesex Philosophy has an extraordinary reputation: it's the premier continental philosophy department in the English-speaking world, and is world-renowned for its work. Not only does it get high scores on evaluations of research, it has the highest research evaluation scores at Middlesex. It's one of the departments that makes a notable contribution to Middlesex's reputation, and has turned out a long string of notable students. But that's apparently not enough. And what is further remarkable is that it is being shut down not because it is financially unsustainable -- it is doing well and trending upward -- but apparently because the administration is speculating that it can make more of a profit if it invests resources currently invested in that department elsewhere.