Finno-Ugric/Uralic studies in Hamburg endangered

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Sat Feb 16 17:37:27 UTC 2013


Dear All,

Beáta Wagner-Nagy asked me to forward this message to URA-LIST. To be continued...

--
Univ.Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Campus AAKH Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7
A-1090 Wien
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.athttp://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/
Project ELDIA: http://www.eldia-project.org/ 




Välitetty viesti alkaa:

> Lähettäjä: Beáta Wagner-Nagy <beata.wagner-nagy at uni-hamburg.de>
> Päivämäärä: 15. helmikuuta 2013 19.41.43 UTC+1.00
> Vastaanottaja: Johanna Laakso <johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at>
> Vastaus: beata.wagner-nagy at uni-hamburg.de
> 
> Kedves Johanna, 
> 
> megkérnélek az alábbi levél továbbítássára az uralist-re.
> 
> Köszönöm
> 
> Bea
> 
> 
> 
> The alarming developments due to the austerity measures at the University of Hamburg and its dramatic effects for the Institute of Fenno-Ugric/Uralic Studies (IFUU) would be a reason enough to inform the scientific community about them. The IFUU shares the same fate as other small disciplines that are in danger of being shut down as an effect of the economization of the higher education sector. However, it is not this trend but rather the way these austerity measures are implemented that filled me with indignation.  
> 
> At the IFUU, a half-time post of a university lecturer is to be cut by the end of the winter term 2012/13. This measure is one (and maybe the last) step in a series of reductions the institute has suffered since 2005, through which its human resources have been continuously and systematically reduced. A full-time post of a university         lecturer was replaced by a half-time lower ranked post (which is now cut), the employment contract of a scientific assistant was not extended, and teaching contracts were cancelled, with the effect that e.g. the teaching of the Estonian language will cease completely. In my opinion, now the point is reached where it is impossible to proceed. The whole area of study is being systematically shut down, but the university decision-makers refuse to admit this.
> 
> An entire discipline covering a whole language family, with both a B.A. (Fenno-Ugric / Uralic Studies) and an M.A. (Uralic Languages and Cultures) programme, must now be managed by one single university professor supported by two language course instructors only – this is the opinion of the chairperson of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Media. Since the beginning of December 2012, the chairperson has refused any personal dialogue with me and any discussion in meetings of the department and indignantly refuses to recognize any responsibility. So does the dean of the faculty. Instead, I have been repeatedly demanded to change the curriculum so that the subject matter can be taught with radically reduced capacity. The chairperson suggested in an e-mail that this were possible by way of “polyvalent” courses, in that e.g. students specializing on Hungarian studies should attend courses in Fennic studies. Such “solutions” only testify to the ignorance of persons who in fact should represent the interests of the disciplines and stakeholder groups. 
> 
> In the M.A. programme Uralic Languages, the curriculum allows for two specializations, namely, linguistic and cultural studies. The specialization in cultural studies is a unique feature within Germany, increasing the attractiveness of our MA programme among prospective students. Further limitations of the curriculum would have a negative impact on student recruitment and finally lead to the closing down of the whole programme, due to lack of students.
> 
> The sustainability of the curriculum has been critical already since some time. Maintaining the programme has only been possible thanks to guest lecturers and language course teachers who have taken over tasks in the core subject area – with the consequence that language courses have been reduced to a minimum.
> 
> Moreover, the resources now given in the form of short-term posts will be lost in two years, as these work contracts will not be extended. Thus, within foreseeable time we may no more be able to guarantee that the students can take all exams included in our programme, as we cannot guarantee that the IFUU will have personnel with sufficient scholarly qualification.
> 
> Thus, in my view, a further „streamlining“ of the curriculum cannot be supported by any professional criteria. Promoting such ideas testifies to an ignorance which – also taking into account the style of communication which the administration of the university has displayed in this case – is simply inacceptable.
> 
> Beáta Wagner-Nagy 
> 
> -- 
> Prof. Dr. Beáta Wagner-Nagy
> Institut für Finnougristik/Uralistik
> Universität Hamburg
> Johnsallee 35,
> 20148 Hamburg
> 
> Tel: +49-40-42838-2787 (dienstl.)
> Fax: +49-40-42838 6117
> beata.wagner-nagy at uni-hamburg.de
> http://www.uni-hamburg.de/ifuu/

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