From the Chair —  2011

Bettina Shell-Duncan
Bettina Shell-Duncan

Undoubtedly all of you have heard about the significant cuts facing higher education in Washington State. We do not yet have specific details about how these cuts will affect the University of Washington and the Department of Anthropology, but we do know that this will be the largest budget reduction the University has ever experienced. For us, the squeeze is particularly tight, since anthropology remains the fastest growing major in our college, with now nearly 6oo undergraduate majors. Our faculty and staff, however, remain dedicated to providing excellence, and remaining fully engaged with our students, alumni and the public. Realistically, we face an unprecedented challenge of doing more with less. We already lost some teaching assistant and advising positions, and raised the size of many of our classes. With further cuts we will not be able to offer some of the specialized training that our students have enjoyed in the past. Our hope is that our friends of anthropology will advocate for the need to support higher education.

Even in these dire times we have a number of successes to celebrate. We remain forward looking by focusing on innovative teaching and curriculum reform. This year we launched a second undergraduate track for anthropology majors (our first was the wildly popular Medical Anthropology and Global Health Track). This new track, Anthropology of Globalization, is a unique curricular offering at the University of Washington in that, in addition to examining contemporary global exchanges, it focuses on the deep history of global flows of ideas, materials, people, genes and disease. We have also added a new study abroad program on the culture and politics of food in Italy. This exciting new program is highlighted in the "Of Course" feature of this newsletter. Our food theme this year also extends to our first-ever fundraiser, "A Taste of Spring." This event will include a tour of the new University of Washington Student Farm, highlights of student and faculty research on the anthropology of food, and a "farm to table" meal of local seasonal foods. Look for more information to come on this event.

We remain most eager to stay in touch with all our friends of anthropology. Our e-newsletter is just one way we hope to stay in touch. Our website also lists events that we encourage you to attend, if possible. The website also features news, and we welcome our alumni to share items that we might post. You can also follow us onFacebook, and we welcome you to share your thoughts on how we might weather this financial storm. And at this time more than ever, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those of you who continue to support us with contributions. Our hope is that you will encourage others to do so as well. With your continued involvement, help and support we remain confident that the Department of Anthropology will remain a vibrant and vital resource for students and the broader community. We thank you for your interest and support.



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