perhaps hopeful signs

A friend sent me an article from the NYTimes (from the 9/27 edition) discussing NYU's planned expansion of its liberal arts faculty:
New York University is on a hiring campaign that it hopes
will put its graduate and undergraduate liberal arts
programs on sounder footing and give them the stature of
some of its most prominent professional schools.
Over the next five years, it plans to expand its 625-member
arts and science faculty by 125 members, and replace
another 125 who are expected to leave.

Apparently the visit of an accreditation team pointed to the relatively small size of NYU's liberal arts faculty as a factor that would hamper its quest for research university status.

What's also interesting is that the article points to other universities which also plan large scale hires:
N.Y.U. is not the only university recruiting many
professors at once. Other universities also engaged in
wholesale hiring include Brown (expanding 20 percent in
five to eight years), Temple (hiring 176 new professors
this year and next), the University of Southern California
(hiring 100 new senior faculty members at its College of
Letters, Arts and Sciences) and the City University of New
York (adding 300 new faculty members and staff at its six
community colleges).

People have been promising some improvement in the dismal market statistics in the humanities for years; the problem is that many retirements were just never filled again, causing faculty lines to dry up or be reassigned to other units.

But if a few big players start doing major hiring, perhaps the idea will catch on...