In the trenches

USFA recently circulated a letter written by your Chair, Doug Chivers, to senior administration regarding problems junior faculty have establishing research programs. Doug is the Rawson Professor of Biology and, as a very successful scholar, is empathetic with these issues.

The letter struck a positive chord with faculty. One commentator observed that establishing a research program is increasingly challenging for junior faculty, while senior administration focuses its attention on high-visibility research centres, at great cost. This is not surprising – during the last round of budget cuts, millions of dollars were taken out of classrooms and marking budgets, while many “academic” innovations were protected. (see:

Many members feel the employer is taking money from the places where fundamental learning happens and moving it into units where the educational return is vague at best. Is this what we want?