I have been following this thread with great interest. I am a full professor at a university. Internet searches on this topic have lead to an incredible coincidence. I discovered that my university has an excellent music program. Moreover, it has a brass professor who is a trumpet player and has worked clinics with AV. I guess I finally have finally found a trumpet teacher who is a trumpet player and will take me on in September: a real jewel in my god-forsaken town.

Many departments within a university have associated personnel to help deliver their programs. The financial structure of most universities has led them to disaster with deep cuts everywhere. The personnel most at risk are non-tenured lecturers. Although they may play a crucial role in course delivery and instruction, they are not involved in the “governance” of the department or university and do not bear other significant responsibilities. Yes, they may be the most talented teachers. Lecturers are often people with real-world experience and can help translate the theoretical aspects of the university program to the practical applications that student will encounter; it really motivates them. The absence of these people greatly affects the quality of the academic programs everywhere. Universities are in real trouble as students are viewed as customers, professors are mere service providers, and administrative bean counters are not in the trenches having to deal with the decisions they make off the backs of both students and professors. Universities are becoming ridiculously corporate entities. FYI, coaches at our university have been told to fund raise money for their expenses, so they are not immune either.

My own department has been decimated. We used to have a number of talented lecturers enrich the program; they are gone and the remaining tenured and tenure-track people are now asked to do way more with much less. My colleague at UMASS works in a department that has been given “zero” dollars for an operating budget. Faculty members pay for phone calls and copy services out of their own grants or pockets.

If AV did find out about his position in a letter or e-mail, then that is the only disrespectful part of about the whole story. Even lectures in our department meet with the Chair and/or Dean to discuss such important matters. It is important to treat all people with kindness and respect and it seems that principle would have gone a long way in this situation. I am truely sorry for his situation. But, then again, I am also sorry for the many good people losing their positions due to these economic times.

Best Wishes,