Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nerd News, Financial Apocalypse Edition: Harvard Freezes Faculty Salaries, Cancels Job Searches

Here is a follow-up to a previous post about Harvard's endowment taking a hit in the economic downturn.

The latest news from Hahvahd is that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is clamping down on expenses:
A freeze on salary raises for all faculty and non-union staff members as well as a hold on the bulk of current searches for tenure-track and tenured faculty were among the cost-cutting measures announced in a letter circulated to department chairs in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences yesterday afternoon.

Signed by the top deans of the Faculty, the letter also put forward a new, more restrictive set of guidelines for what sort of candidates will be considered for “essential” instructorships and visiting faculty positions.

The new policy marks a considerable departure from the stance outlined by FAS Dean Michael D. Smith at a Faculty meeting in November, when he told department leaders to go ahead with all current searches if applicant pools remained as strong as anticipated.

Citing a projected 30 percent drop in the University’s endowment value this year, the deans wrote that the cost-cutting measures followed from a need to reduce the budget for the next fiscal year to levels at least $105 million below the current year’s budget. The Faculty’s budget for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2009 is set to be completed by March.

What's the upshot? Well, for every other nerdy campus, one thing seems clear enough: if this can happen to Harvard, this can happen to you too.

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