One of the ultimate protections of being a tenured faculty member, historically, has been being immune from layoff in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. Under policies issued by the American Association of University Professors and largely accepted by higher education leaders, only institutions that declare "financial exigency" -- a state so dire that it "threatens the survival of the institution as a whole" -- can eliminate the jobs of tenured faculty members.
Tracy Donhardt was so excited that she and fellow adjuncts in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis had found a way to get health insurance together that she wanted to let other adjuncts know they could sign up, too.
But when she asked the university’s human resources department for help getting the word out, the whole plan was, almost immediately, shattered. “I contacted them, said, ‘Hey, look at we did, isn’t it great?' ” she recalled.
No enterprise can be all things to all people, but that doesn’t stop plenty of college presidents from introducing new departments, centers and initiatives aimed at making their institutions the best at everything.
Daniel M. Fogel, who’s been president of the University of Vermont since 2002, isn’t one of them. “There are so many disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas where we have strength and could build up more,” he says. “But you can’t prioritize everything: that’s not what prioritization is. We need to pick and choose areas of focus and emphasis.”