Budget cuts result in hiring of ‘temporary’ faculty members

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Pacific University’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) welcomed a few new faces this year, but how long they will stay is still up in the air.

While Pacific said goodbye to multiple long term faculty members at the end of last year, all those hired for the 2018-19 year were hired under term contracts. Instead of replacing these faculty with more tenure and full time contracts alike, no new hires have been set in stone to that extent.

“At the moment we are having to sort out our budget,” Sarah Phillips, dean of CAS said. “So for a little while we’re not going to have the tenure track positions that would be our preference.”

Ideally the university would much rather have new hires begin a tenure track, but there is simply not enough funding for that. With the budget looking a bit more conservative this year, beginning contracts presented a way to cut costs for the time being.

The question, “What does this mean for full time faculty and students?” then presents itself. Fortunately for students, all open faculty spots that immediately needed replacements have been filled, so classes are still available just as normal.

Tenured, and some full time, faculty end up being the most affected during this transitional period. As it stands now, only tenured and some full time professors are able to do things like advising, sitting on boards or being committee members. This leaves faculty in those more permanent positions under a bit of stress to pick up the slack that naturally builds after others retire.

“There’s no way around it unfortunately,” Phillips said. “Fewer permanent faculty means that there are fewer faculty to take those types of actions.”

However, help from the combined Academic and Career Advising Centers may serve as the most promising temporary solution. There have been positions added to the soon to be combined center to aid in the current advising crunch.

For the next couple of years these realistic budgets should run their course and hopefully create a more balanced result, according to Phillips. The university is looking forward to when this budgeting pays off and enables them to stick to the desired tenure model.


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