[This week marks the start of the Fall 2023 semester and my 19th year at Fitchburg State. So as ever, I’ll kick off the semester with preview posts, this time focused on ongoing challenges and leading up to an update on my current book project!]
Semesters and academic years are about more than just teaching, of course, and this year my English Studies Department will be embarking on a particularly significant project: our departmental Program Review. We create that review for outside accreditors every five years, which can feel pretty quick but is enough time to really have to rethink where we are, where we want to go, and how we might get there. A key layer to all those questions are the challenges we’re facing, and for this Program Review the unavoidable and quite frankly overwhelming challenge is that of enrollments: the student of Majors in our department has contracted quite significantly in the five years since the last Program Review, and represents a clear crisis point here in 2023-24. That trend is far bigger than one department, and there are many elements to it that we can neither control nor change. But obviously that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage it, nor think about the ways we can respond and recruit and reimagine and so on. At the very least, I believe all of us in the Humanities need to do a far more consistent job talking about all the amazing and vital things we do, and all the ways students and communities can and will benefit from them. Looking forward to being part of those conversations during this Program Review process!
Update post this weekend,
PS. What do you think? Fall previews you’d share?