Anthropology Department upset about non-recognition

By Jayda Evans

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Anthropology Department was not expecting a parade, but a phone call would have been nice.

When the National Research Council released a 750-page document on Sept. 11, ranking 41 doctoral fields at universities around the country, Anthropology Department head William Longacre rushed to get a glimpse of the document. The NRC releases their assessments every 10 years and ranked the UA fifth in anthropology for the second time.

Longacre and his staff were ecstatic. The department highlighted their ranking and posted it outside the office door, but the paper has been hanging on the window for more than a month and the smiles have turned to frowns.

The department is somber because they are the only ones recognizing their accomplishments and because UA administration has not taken the time to call and say congratulations.

"There has been no publicity," Longacre said. "When we had this ranking 10 years ago everyone was excited about it, but it feels like they want to keep it a secret this time.

"The faculty is really hurt because we have been completely ignored."

Michael Cusanovich, vice president of research and graduate studies, was shocked to hear of the Anthropology Department's discouragement with the administration.

"I really don't know what to say about the way they feel, except for that I'm sorry," Cusanovich said. "I know (President Manuel Pacheco) made a presentation at our last board meeting, but we have a lot of awards and acknowledgments that get ignored."

The Anthropology Department was the only program at the UA to rank in the top 5. The next highest ranking was astronomy at No. 7 and philosophy at No. 11. Linguistics was featured in the 1985 rankings as an up-and-coming program and came in ranked 12th this time around.

"Administration is trying to put a spin on the rankings by saying that most of the programs are in the top third," Longacre said. "When you're ranked 50 out of 200 it's still not very good."

"Anthropology is an excellent department," Cusanovich said. "They have been around for 80 years and were ranked when the university was in the Dark Ages. Maybe there wasn't as much recognition because other departments didn't do as well."

The NRC first started ranking programs in the 1950s. The criterion are based on the research the

department does and

also how effective the program is in graduating students. Confidential surveys are sent out to different faculty members across the nation and then evaluated by the NRC board.

"We are a relatively new university," said Sharon Kha, Director of Institutional Advancement and Public Information. "We started with three students (in 1885) and didn't really have graduate programs until the mid 1960s. Reputations take time to build. We may have a 10-year program that is very good, but it is hard to compete with the reputation of a program at an older university like Harvard.

"The Anthropology Department is a jewel at this university and I'm going to call (Longacre) and let him know that," Kha said.

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