Within the next academic year, a committee will begin searching for faculty to fill 22 temporary full-time lines, 15 of which could potentially develop into tenure tracks.
“For four years we went through the worst budget crisis in the history of the college,” said President Christopher Dahl. “Because of the budget cut we lost 45 noninstructional lines and another nine teaching lines.”
As a result, the student to faculty ratio rose to 20-to-1.
“This is going to be an important multiyear process to maintain the quality and the individual attention aspect of the college,” said Dahl. “At the same time, [we will] take a look at what the curriculum should be for the 21st century.”
“The lines are going, in some cases, to departments that have huge numbers of majors and vacant faculty lines,” he said. “In other cases we’re looking at innovative, interdisciplinary appointments.”
“It’s kind of a bridge strategy,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Long. “I don’t want people to think the school is just hiring on temporary contracts. It’s a strategy to bridge us through while we think about where we want to put those tenure tracks in the long run as we’re able to hire them in.”
“We will probably be able to hire at least 15 tenure track faculty over the next three years … it’s not a firm figure,” she added.
According to Long, over the past few years, there has been a move towards contingent and adjunct appointments at other institutions because they cost less. This is not the intent at Geneseo.
“If you look at student-faculty ratio, in spite of our quality, we’re a little higher than many of our cohorts in the comprehensive sector,” said Long. “But when you look at the percentage of full-time faculty, we’re between 70 and 80 percent – the rest of the sector is mostly under 50 percent. We’ve made a choice as an institution to prefer full-time and tenured lines even though they cost more.”
Long said that the next step is to talk with faculty and discern how the lines should be placed. Working with the College Senate, Long formed an advisory group of senators who will meet in late spring or early summer to begin the conversation.
“I’m hoping that we can identify the first three to five lines to search for next year. We’ll start those searches in the fall,” she said.
“It’s better to take the time to figure out where we ought to be looking and how we can move the college forward and serve our students better through the way we hire.”