Six faculty hiring searches delayed

After reviewing previously authorized searches for faculty hires in an effort to reduce spending, the Committee on Appropriations and Promotions (CAP) has authorized the continuation of eight of 14 total tenure track position searches. The search for the remaining six positions will be delayed for one year.

Searches for tenure track positions are going forward in the classics, economics, geosciences, history, math, political science, psychology and theatre departments. Searches have been delayed for professorships in art history, biology, chemistry, economics, environmental studies and history. The economics and history departments’ searches have each been reduced from two to one.

“The delayed appointments won’t have to go through a process of re-requesting and reauthorization in the spring,” Bill Wagner, dean of the Faculty said.

The CAP will begin the normal process of reviewing departmental requests for the following year shortly after spring break and recommend its decisions by early June. “In the spring, we will have a better understanding of our budget projections for next year and the next couple of years,” Wagner said.

This fall, the CAP used three criteria to determine which position searches to postpone. These included students’ ability to progress in a normal way through their chosen major and fulfill major requirements, the ability of departments and programs to fill and offer distribution requirements and the viability of interdisciplinary programs. “We tried to make a calculation if it looked like delaying a search for a year might be inconvenient for a department but wouldn’t prevent students from getting the courses they needed,” said Wagner.

The history department’s search to fill a position in the history of gender and sexuality, entailing a commitment to women’s and gender studies, has been authorized, while the requested position in early modern European history has been postponed.

The delay on one of the two economics positions was given with the understanding that if an opportunity arises to hire an additional person of exceptional ability, the economics department will discuss the possibility with Wagner and the CAP.

Though disappointed with the hiring delays, department chairs were generally understanding of the current economic situation. “All of the department chairs have been extremely understanding and responsive to the situation,” Wagner said.

“I doubt that any department is ‘happy’ with the number [they have been given],” said Stephen Sheppard, professor and chair of economics. “We understand the difficult financial circumstances and uncertainty faced by the College.”

Departments are looking to make minor adjustments for the 2009-2010 academic year.

For example, Chris Waters, professor and chair of history, said the history department will make a concerted effort not to overload faculty members.

“We’ll be okay next year as long as we have no surprise departures of faculty,” said Sheppard. “The year after that we have several faculty who are scheduled for leaves, so delaying our recruiting will put pressure on us to make sure we hire additional faculty next year so that we can offer the full complement of courses.”

Application processes have been underway for months. Postings go out in September and October, and applications are currently being received.