The elimination of the political science program allows Marian University to layoff Johnny Goldfinger, a tenured Associate Professor of Political Science. The university can, of course, respect the concept of tenure and find him a new faculty position. Hopefully, this is what the administration intends to do. However, the administration has not had any substantive discussions with Goldfinger about a new faculty position nor has there been any indication that the administration has investigated the possibility. The administration has not contacted Goldfinger to discuss his areas of expertise and what he can teach.
This inaction should concern all Marian faculty, not just tenured and tenure-track faculty. The American Association of University Professors state that “The principal purpose of tenure is to safeguard academic freedom, which is necessary for all who teach and conduct research in higher education. When faculty members can lose their positions because of their speech, publications, or research findings, they cannot properly fulfill their core responsibilities to advance and transmit knowledge.” This speech includes participation in discussions about the well-being of the university, programs, and faculty.
Goldfinger, as a tenured faculty member and president of the Marian chapter of the AAUP, has been an outspoken but respectful advocate for shared governance, academic freedom, the liberal arts, and terminated faculty. Tenure is, in part, intended to allow senior faculty to take part in the governance of the university and advocate for the interests of pre-tenure and non-tenure track faculty without fear of retaliation. The advisory written by the AAUP national office notes that “The discontinuance of an academic program and the ensuing terminations of faculty appointments constitute a collective faculty judgment that such sacrifices are on balance necessary for the long term benefit of the educational mission rather than serving as a budgetary maneuver or as in a memorable phrase from The Role of the Faculty, “simply a means of terminating one troublesome tenured professor” [bold added].
Thankfully, the administration has given Holly Gastineau-Grimes (former Assistant Professor of Political Science) a contract as a faculty member in the “Global and Cultural Studies” department as an Assistant Professor of Global Politics and Policy. Interestingly, this department does not yet exist.
If the administration were to inquire, it would find that Goldfinger has expertise in a range of fields that could benefit other programs at Marian.
Philosophy: Goldfinger’s primary field for his masters and Ph.D. was political theory. He took or audited 19 philosophy courses at the University of New Orleans and Duke University. This includes classes with Alasdair McIntyre who served on his dissertation prospectus committee. Goldfinger has taught no less than 10 distinct philosophy courses during his career.
Economics/Business: Goldfinger studied research methods extensively with a focus on game theory and rational choice theory. While at Duke, he worked with three political economists (including two who were on his dissertation committee) and the mathematical economist Herve Moulin, a leading scholar in game theory and social choice.
Communications: The topic of Goldfinger’s dissertation was deliberative democracy. It developed a theory of deliberation based on Jurgen Habermas’ theory of communicative action, the ideal speech situation, and John Rawls’ concept of an overlapping consensus.
Criminal Justice: Goldfinger teaches POL342 The American Constitution with a emphasis on the First Amendment.
Leadership: Goldfinger developed and taught courses on “Leadership and Political Activism” for the political science program and “Game Theory and Leadership” for the Marian Educators College.
Civic Engagement: A course on civic engagement has apparently been developed to replace POL102 Introduction to American Politics in the general education curriculum. In addition to teaching Introduction to American Politics every semester for the past 10 years, Goldfinger has extensive experience in real world attempts to get students civically and politically engaged. He was the campus director of the Political Engagement Project at IUPUI and co-campus coordinator of the E-Citizenship Initiative, both in partnership with the American Association of State Colleges & Universities. He is also coeditor of Educating Students for Political Engagement: A Guide to Implementation and Assessment for Colleges and Universities, published by the AASCU.