I had coffee today with an associate professor who is in my discipline at another university several states away. She is on leave and living in the area because her partner (nonacademic) got a job in our big nearby city earlier this year. And they have a preschooler. Yikes!
She is an amazing academic. One of my colleagues actually uses her book in his class. I would LOVE to have her in my department. But visiting professorship opportunities have dried up with the recession here. Knowing this, she is ready to consider stringing together several lecture positions. Each of those pays less than $5k, no benefits.
That must be quite a cut in pay.
I'm trying to get my director to think outside the box for once. There's got to be something.
Another effect of the recession--one of the schools at my university looks like it is going to be cut. No guarantees that the untenured faculty will keep their jobs. Tenured faculty are going to be housed elsewhere in the university.
My small department had one professor from that school with us for 3-4 years on a temporary basis. Now it looks like she might want to come back to us once her school dissolves. Small problem--she is crazy. No really. I mean it. One faculty (a "distinguished professor" who is indeed quite famous in the discipline) would demand to be relocated out of the department. And the rest of us would just be miserable.