LSU Faculty Senate Publications

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Message from the President: With the release of this issue of the Monthly Newsletter, the Faculty Senate has completed what bibliographers regard as its first“volume”of a periodical. That word might be applied in all its senses: not only has the Senate produced a defined series of printed documents, but it has turned up the volume for those who listen to higher educational events and it has increased the total discursive space occupied by issues of concern to faculty. None of this would have been possible without the helpful attention of readership up and down the state and now around the nation—without the geographical and audience volume that our generously responsive readers have given us. When the Newsletter resumes publication in the autumn, the volume control will continue to rotate clockwise! Communicating and receiving responses—maintaining at least a little bit of volume—is a basic academic skill. Amidst all the racket created by the state budget broils, the basics not only survive but also require provident attention. So it is that the remarkably low-volume renaming of a couple of colleges draws attention to the telling question,“Whatever happened to“basic[s]?”Having recognized its failure to persuade scholars of the value of new college names and thereby having stumbled in the basic art of communication, the administration went back to Machiavellian basics, slashing“Basic” from“Basic Sciences”by the bureaucratic equivalent of brute force. Words, too, have force. In the process of this not-sobold move, the administration inadvertently confessed its loss of interest in the now-depreciated basics, including basic research. Doubtless this semantic and historic amnesia also accounts for the administration’s strange aversion to the phrase “Arts and Sciences.”Basic historical study would have explained the reasons that certain disciplines count as“arts” even without the benefit of chisel, brush, baton, or easel. To get back to culinary basics, we now must face the “Twinkie problem” in which the love of processing replaces basic substance while fluffy fictions supersede grassroots products. As it grows and develops, but with luck avoids“Little Debbie Syndrome,”the Faculty Senate Newsletter will continue to go after if not get to the kernel of issues. Thank you for your commitment to whole-grain scholarship and likewise thanks to our retiring graduate student assistants and editorial staff, Casey Kayser and G. Gregory Molchan! With all good wishes, Kevin L. Cope, Faculty Senate President