Inside Higher Ed reports on a possible merger between the German departments at Duke and UNC Chapel Hill, two small struggling programs. According to Inside Higher Ed:
"In so doing, the two universities believe that their programs could catapult to among the largest — if not the largest — in the country, with 18 full-time faculty positions. Beyond the number of faculty lines, proponents believe that the plan could allow for a breadth of topical coverage that tends to vanish when humanities programs get too small. By eliminating the need to offer the same introductory courses, the theory goes, the combined department could offer a much broader range of classes, and in future faculty hiring, seek out expertise that isn’t found in many departments today. The resulting range of intellectual interests may be of the sort that small humanities departments can’t find by themselves."
Such mergers are not uncommon in the sciences, but have not been tried before in the humanities. Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools feels that the proposed merger may be a model for other small humanities programs throughout the US.