The budget cuts have hurt the History Dept. at every level. The furlough has meant a significant salary reduction for both staff and faculty, which has especially been hard on those families struggling with the high housing prices in the Santa Barbara area. Our budget for supplies has been dramatically cut, so now the department cannot pay for phones in faculty offices. Students have suffered even more. Our budget for teaching assistants has been sharply reduced, meaning that some of our highly qualified graduate students have not been able to secure adequate funding. The lack of TA-ships also makes it difficult to recruit new students, thus further shrinking our highly successful graduate program. Because of the reduction in teaching assistants, we have had to eliminate honors sections for our lower division courses. The department has increased the size and number of upper-division lecture courses to accommodate students who need to find classes. Large courses, however, mean more work for the instructors while students receive less individual attention.
I am proud of the efforts of our staff and faculty to lessen the impact of the crisis, but it is hard to hide the bottom line: faculty and staff are doing more work for less pay, and students are paying far more in tuition for larger, more impersonal courses (when they can find an open course at all). We know that our campus administrators are working hard to find solutions, and we expect things to gradually improve. But without restoration of state funding, there are limits as to what campus administrators and individual departments can do other than minimize the short-term damage.