Departments beginning faculty searches

Adriane Hardin

The schedule bulletin will likely be filled with new names next year.

The university has begun searches for the 30 new faculty positions that were promised through this semester’s $200 tuition increase.

But at least one regent is suggesting that “academic quality initiative” money be used to save positions that could be lost through state budget cuts.

The university is also searching for other positions outside of the academic quality initiative.

“We have scarfed up every penny we could find,” Provost Barbara Burch said.

Michael Dale, associate vice president for academic budget and administration, said there are currently another 79 faculty position searches approved for the 2004-05 fiscal year.

That’s a total of 109 positions.

“We have dozens of searches that are in various stages of completion,” Burch said.

Thirty of the approved searches are funded through the tuition increase, 58 positions are regularly budgeted faculty positions and nine are made possible by funds that resulted from faculty retirements, Dale said.

Twelve of the positions are funded from “various other sources,” he said.

The community college is conducting 15 searches, the College of Education is conducting 17, the Ogden College of Science and Engineering is conducting 21 searches, the College of Health and Human Services is conducting 19, Potter College is conducting 26 and university college is conducting three.

Potter College dean David Lee said all of their searches are under way.

Each of Potter’s departments will get a position, Lee said.

“We’ve had a very significant increase in our enrollment,” Lee said. “We’ve had some retirements and it’s an effort to try to respond to a pretty dramatic demand for our courses.”

As Western endures budget cuts from the state, the Board of Regents may soon be cutting some academic programs.

That means some faculty members may find themselves jobless in the future.

Faculty Regent Robert Dietle said during the regents’ committee meetings last week that the university should consider using the tuition increase money to save positions that may be cut.

“The programs we have now are what got us to the dance,” Dietle said.

The board will be faced with opposition from the faculty if they begin to cut programs and jobs, Dietle said.

He suggested that the regents try to make a strong connection with the student body and explain the current budget situation.

But President Gary Ransdell said he intends to use the money to hire new faculty.

“We just can’t arbitrarily decide to use that money for something different,” he said.

Western is already using the academic quality money for various classroom upgrades and expanding Internet capacity on campus, Burch said.

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]