I have some experience with university faculty politics. Around
here if students express their support, nay DEMAND, for a class, it
is given full consideration. When classes are full to overfull, the
administration can hardly deny the need. Even more attention is
paid to alums who point to a program as contributing to their
You don't say how long a metals program has been in the dept. If
it's long-standing, what about support from the previous metals
prof?? Are there alums to speak in favor? You need many voices to
speak, not just your own.
For your own part, get your statistics (a record of class numbers)
together, and calculate how that translates into tuition dollars.
Let the students in on the decision to close the program, and ask
them if they like it. Hopefully a few students will spearhead a
support effort that is taken to administration - and I don't mean the
Dept. head. - I mean the Dean and President. If your Dept. head is
into avoidance, the students' determination to go over his/her head
might be an incentive to reconsider dismantling the metals program.
Compose your letter stating all the positives and have someone
(preferrably one who's been around the university for a while) from
the English Dept. review and edit it.
Another strategy: try to shift from a turf battle within, to a
unified art dept. faculty working for additional space/faculty member
for the Dept. One thing - check the faculty handbook regarding
nepotism. Your concern about the fiance' may be unfounded if it
prohibits nepotism within departments.
I'd also get my resume polished up and work on the ol' portfolio...
just in case. Looking at the big picture from the outside, you're
not tenure track and that's a disadvantage.
Best of luck and I hope the metals program can be retrieved,
Judy in Kansas, where the days are still very warm, but the nights are