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September 21, 2023

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30 faculty to be cut by Sunday

Thirty non-tenure track faculty members’ contracts will not be renewed for next fall.

The non-renewals, which will be issued by Dec. 1, are a result of changes in enrollment, dwindling funds from State Share of Instruction and an effort to raise faculty salaries, said Provost Rodney Rogers.

“We have to make sure our budget is balanced and not spending more money than we’re bringing in,” Rogers said.

With a total of 260 non-tenure track faculty, the University will trimming that number by roughly 11 percent. Rogers could not give specifics on how many would be cut in certain departments and colleges.

Rogers sent out a letter to the faculty explaining the University’s decision on Monday.

The initial deadline applied to non-tenure track faculty who have been with the University for seven or more years as a result of the collective bargaining agreement made this past year. However, in the letter, Rogers said the University would also be notifying faculty members with one to six years of service.

Originally, faculty members with six years or less at the University would have been notified this spring.

“These are difficult decisions, and similar decisions have been made that impact other areas of the University,” Rogers said in the letter. “But we must be disciplined and committed to preserving our educational mission while living within the constraints of our new budget realities.”

David Jackson, president of the Faculty Association, doesn’t believe the non-renewals are a product of a limited budget.

“It’s a manufactured crisis they’re using to get to the number of faculty they want the University to have,” Jackson said.

With fewer faculty comes fewer courses offered and bigger class sizes, which will negatively impact a student’s education, he said.

Scott Piroth, senior lecturer in the Political Science Department, said he and other faculty members are apprehensive about the deadline.

“It will be terrible for the University,” Piroth said. “The morale for faculty members is already very low. I am very disappointed the University is looking to cut costs in this way.”

The University cut costs this way this past year when 72 faculty left due to non-renewals, retirements or resignations.

The cut this past year saved the University $3.2 million, which was allocated to increasing faculty salaries, Rogers said in an email.

While the budget that contains faculty payroll is balanced, the University estimates a $3 million to $10 million shortfall in the next few years, prefacing the contract non-renewals, Rogers said in the email.

To express its opposition, the Faculty Association will be reaching out to prospective parents to warn them.

“Preview Day is not safe,” Jackson said. “We have an obligation to let them know that the consequences of these cuts will affect the quality of education.”

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