A new round of faculty hiring searches was authorized for “critical need” positions across several departments for 2011-12, according to two hiring memos from college administrators.
“We were particularly interested in positions in areas where we have very pressing general education needs and course enrollment demands,” President Donald Christian said.
The initial hiring idea was two pronged, with one round of discussion addressing 15 open positions on Labor Day and another six recently authorized last month. There are 21 faculty positions under consideration and some were made possible due to increased tuition revenue, according to the memo.
The areas where the searches are being conducted include four full-time and tenure-track positions in the Fine and Performing Arts, four full-time and tenure-track positions in Liberal Arts and Sciences, two full-time and tenure-track positions in the School of Education, four full-time and tenure-track positions in the School of Science and Engineering, and five full-time and tenure-track positions in the School of Business.
“Overall, the average section size across the entire campus this year is 24; that’s up from 21 or 22 last year,” he said.
Christian said the School of Business has seen it’s numbers rise to about 40 per section. Dean of the School of Business Hadi Salavitabar said he appreciates the efforts administrators has made to fill teaching gaps.
“It is very important to our college administration and the School of Business that we offer courses our students need in order to graduate on-time,” Salavitabar said. “It is also very important to all of us to provide our students with high quality education and education experiences. Given the significant increase in enrollment in the School of Business, we believe it is necessary for us to recruit new faculty members.”
Interim Provost Cheryl Torsney also mentioned the School of Business as having “enrollment booms.” The enrollment increase comes, in part, to the “real demand” of students from Turkish institutions pursuing a dual-degree program at New Paltz. She said that future increases in enrollment are predicted as the business and economics courses remain popular.
Meanwhile, the search committees are about ready to send the advertisements to potential candidates, waiting on the charge of Torsney.
Dean of the School of Science and Engineering Daniel Freedman said the administration takes hiring concerns “extremely serious” as these are national searches. He said when adding another personality to the campus, because the college has a close-knit feel, the searches have to be done “carefully.” Mainly he said, potential candidates must possess a “strong teaching and research background.”
Freedman said enrollment numbers in mathematics and biology have increased, especially the later by “huge numbers in the last three or four years.”
Still Torsney said another driving force is strategic gains, to address student demands. For example, Torsney wanted to see graduate enrollment for the (MFA) in photography establish and grow. Dean of Fine and Performing arts Mary Hafeli shared her sentiment.
“We currently do not have an MFA program in photography. We are developing a new MFA in photography in response to student interest and demand and to support the college’s goal of increasing graduate enrollments,” Hafeli said. “The photography faculty position we are searching for this year will be critical to supporting the MFA program as well as sustaining our very popular undergraduate photography program.”
Prior to the formation of the search committees, chairs and faculty of departments got together to address areas of need. The list then was passed on to the deans.
“We looked at first chair requests, critical need,” Torsney said. “Then we looked a tier down from that, which would be a need, and then we had a third tier “wish list”, there are no wish list hires that got on the final list.”
When questioned about last year’s budget and the termination of several adjuncts, Torsney said the faculty searches aren’t necessarily to fill the positions previously vacated as the college will no longer do “business as usual” and return to “the practices of the past.”
“As I have been telling these search committees, as I’ve been charging them, ‘hiring new faculty is among the most important things you do,’” she said.
Torsney sees the 21 positions being filled by mid-point of next semester.
Deans Freedman and Hafeli agreed with Torsney’s timeline. Dean Salavitabar said that the department had already interviewed a “number of candidates” with more scheduled in “the next 10 days.” Salavitabar said he hopes to complete the process by the end of this semester and have the candidates on campus for the spring.
Any future proposals for faculty searches to the interim provost must “provide data on enrollment trends and pressures and suggest how a new hire will serve student needs,” according to the Sept. 6 memo.
“We are conducting them with care, confidentiality and rigor. It’s imperative to get the right people for the job,” Torsney said.
THE SEARCHES BEING CONDUCTED:
Four full-time and tenure-track in the
Fine and Performing Arts department:
– A “credentialed music therapist”
– A position in music theory
– A person to grow the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in photography
– A position in art education
– A non-full time and non-tenure track position in metals to “replace back-to-back, one-year sabbaticals”
Four full-time and tenure-track
positions in the Liberal Arts and
– A position in Spanish
– Two positions in history, one for the Latin
– American minor and another that will work closely with Women’s Studies
– A position in sociology
Two full-time and tenure-track
positions in the School of Education:
– A position in literacy/English language arts/elementary
– A position in secondary English education
Four full-time and tenure-track
positions in the School of Science and Engineering:
– A position in biology
– A position in mathematics
– A position in engineering, considered an “investment hire to help develop a joint program in art and engineering”
– A position in chemistry
Five full-time and tenure-track
positions in the School of Business:
– A position in management, under “strategy”
– A position in quantitative
– A position in statistics/project management
– A position in international business
– A position in finance