Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It is done

The news that ruined the beginning of my semester has now come back to ruin the last half of my semester. Back in September we were told that our college might be selling our field site (and thus shutting down the field biology program I've been spending much of my time on these last two years). Now it's official; "might" has become "will be".

Many elements of this decision are ... well, yeah. The only words that come to mind to finish that sentence are not printable on a family-friendly blog.

I'm angry. I'm dismayed. I'm frustrated that much of the last two years of my spare time has been spent doing work (like, say, applying for NSF grants) that has now been thrown away by a small committee's decision. And the committee that made that decision never even talked to me, or any of the other faculty involved in the field program. Never even sent us a letter. Never even requested documentation of what we'd done.

Nope, they just decided to sell it. All they care about is the money. I may be mad and prone to typing hyperbole, but that much I know is true. All they care about is money. I've been told as much.

I had second-year community college students out in the field doing original research, spending their own money on travel expenses, and volunteering immense amounts of time to do the work. They were doing the real thing, not some canned lab activity, and as a result are now infinitely better prepared for the curriculum at their transfer institution and for graduate school.

But no, none of that matters. A program that costs less than 0.15% of the college's annual budget must be shut down, without even giving us the time we need to explore if the program could become self-sustaining. Without even waiting to see if we got our NSF grant. Without even talking to a single student.

I didn't even know that this committee was actively meeting to discuss selling our site until I found out that they'd decided to sell the site. Now, however, I have learned that this committee's decision needs to be rubber-stamped approved by another committee. I know when they meet. I will be there.

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