Faculty to be replaced despite hiring freeze

In the second year of the College’s hiring “freeze,” which mandates hiring only for positions deemed absolutely necessary, the College authorized six tenure-track hires out of the 14 requests made by various academic departments.

The newly hired faculty members include James Manigault-Bryant in Africana Studies, Luana Maroja in biology as well as Sarah Jacobsen and Will Olney in economics. In addition, two faculty hires were made for joint positions: Patrick Spero in history and leadership studies and Jackie Hidalgo in Latina/o Studies and religion. Hidalgo is currently a Bolin Fellow in the religion department.

The six positions approved for hire for the upcoming year represent a decrease from last year’s nine hiring positions. According to Interim Dean of the Faculty Andrea Danyluk, this number is more in line with hiring numbers from the 1990s. Between the 1991-91 academic year and the 1998-99 academic year, the College approved between six and 13 faculty hires each year, except for one year (1995-96) in which the College authorized 23 tenure-track hires. During the “period of planned growth” that lasted from the 1999-2000 academic year and the 2007-08 year, the College hired between nine and 23 tenure-track faculty members each year.

According to Danyluk, the joint positions hired for the new academic year do not reflect any increasing consolidation of positions due to budget cuts. “It’s more a matter of programming,” Danyluk said. “Joint hires have been explored in greater numbers since we expanded our hiring into interdisciplinary programs from the model of hiring only in departments.”

The hiring of new faculty members during the current hiring “freeze” is a process that seeks to rein in spending while maintaining the College’s high academic standards and diverse faculty and course offerings. Keeping these goals in mind, the Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CAP) makes staffing allocation decisions in consultation with the Committee on Education Policy (CEP) based on a number of set criteria.

The CAP and the CEP decide which hires to authorize based on 10 non-hierarchical criteria. The criteria the committees look at include the ability of students to pursue and complete majors and program concentrations; the ability of students to complete College requirements; the viability of departmental or interdepartmental programs without the new hire; how critical the position is to maintaining and enhancing the quality of a department or program; the potential contributions of a new hire to the College curricula; the extent to which a position contributes to College curricular and other objectives, such as diversification, internationalization and initiatives such as the tutorial program, and interdisciplinary study; the importance of a position for enabling students to prepare for further study; faculty retention considerations; the implications for class size and the educational experience of students and the workload of faculty members; and the level of student interest of demand.

According to Stephen Sheppard, professor of economics and department chair, departments request hiring authorization to replace faculty members who leave or plan to leave the College. New faculty members are needed to fill the gap left behind in fields that are in high demand by College students and prospective employers or graduate programs.

According to Sheppard, the economics department needed to hire faculty members in order to continue offering a full curriculum. “Because the market for economists is relatively strong, the department tends to lose many more faculty than other departments,” Sheppard said. “Over the last nine years about 17 tenure-track faculty have left the department – nearly two per year on average.” He noted that faculty members leave to take research and policy jobs or to teach elsewhere.

The new economics department hires, Sheppard said, will allow the department to offer courses in environmental economics, which is Jacobsen’s field of expertise, and international trade, which is Olney’s. “Countries and policy makers around the world are wrestling with problems related to the environment, climate change, natural resource use, globalization, immigration, offshoring and trade policies,” he said. “Offering courses that deal with [these issues] supports not only the economics major but also the environmental studies program, the political economy major, the masters program at the Center for Development Economics, the international studies program and other parts of the College curriculum where these problems are a central concern.”

Chris Waters, professor of history and department head, said that the joint history and leadership studies was authorized in part because leadership studies currently has no permanent faculty positions of its own and had raised money for the position. Spero, who specializes in early American history, will begin teaching at the College in September 2011 after he finishes the postdoctoral fellowship he currently holds at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.