The Department of Economics and Policy Studies at the University of Notre Dame has been officially dissolved.
from David Ruccio
It’s done! The Department of Economics and Policy Studies at the University of Notre Dame has been officially dissolved.
On 25 February, the Academic Council approved the dean’s proposal to eliminate ECOP and to rename the remaining department the Department of Economics. Now, the members of ECOP need to find positions for themselves elsewhere in the university—or to leave the university entirely. There will be no place for them in the other department.
I don’t have any other details—about the discussion at the Academic Council or the vote. What I do know is that serious questions were raised about the proposal and the process by the Faculty Senate, by the student government, and at the College Council meeting where the proposal was presented. All those concerns were simply ignored. (Nick Krafft describes how stunned he was in reading the dean’s latest comments about students’ needing “to take charge of their education.”)
Readers should know that the implications of the decision are much broader than the fate of ECOP faculty. It shows how university governance has dramatically changed, at Notre Dame and elsewhere, in undermining faculty and student input. The basic idea is, they should shut up and tend to their “own affairs” (teaching, churning out publications, and studying) and let the administration go about its work in remaking the university. It also shows how closed the discipline of economics remains—even after the crises of capitalism that have called into question every facet and dimension of mainstream economics, from basic theory to policy recommendations. Finally, it shows how fragile and threatened academic freedom is, at Notre Dame and throughout higher education in the United States.