May 17, 2006


I wish to discuss an issue that may effect many of us individually, as well as collectively, in the coming academic years.

As you know, our new faculty hires will heavily impact the financial resources of the College. As we fill our open faculty positions, we lose the source of most of the discretionary temporary funding we have historically used to support the operations of the College and to hire TAs and non-tenure faculty who teach. Further, the start up costs associated with the new faculty hires place additional stress on these same funds. As a consequence, the College must look for ways to reduce expenditures that we have historically covered with these temporary funds.

We have made a concerted and successful effort to increase the SCH productivity of our faculty. These efforts are well recognized and appreciated. While our College is one of the top service course providers per state-funded faculty FTE across all UWS colleges and schools, we do not have a sustainable source of permanent funds to support the TA needs that accompany this high level of faculty output. Hence, our reliance on temporary funding sources.

To help remedy this problem, we requested new permanent TA funding from the Provost, but we will not see any relief until at least the next biennium. If she's interested in maintaining high SCH production in the next academic year, she may be willing to provide "bridge" TA funding. However, at this time this seems unlikely.

The College receives about 17 quarters of permanent TA funding per year. Last year we used 53 quarters of TA support. The 36 quarters paid from temporary sources are those in jeopardy in the coming years. We are presently discussing ways that we can retain a reasonable level of TA support for our classes while we reallocate our financial resources to support our new faculty hires.

No final decisions have been taken yet, but it is very likely that TA quarters might be reduced from a total of 53 to 41 this coming academic year. As a consequence, we will see reductions in SCH generation by our faculty. As previously mentioned, funds for the employment of research/WOT faculty who teach are also being squeezed.

Complicating the problem is the fact that we do not know the precise start dates of the new faculty we are presently interviewing. Thus, we can not make exact allocations of the financial resources we may need to satisfy additional start up demands. As these issues become clearer over the next few months we will have a much better picture of where we stand.

I am also concerned about the long term sustainability of employing TAs from temporary funding sources. As additional faculty retire, it is possible that we not fill these open positions immediately in order to recapture salary funds to employ TAs or research/WOT faculty who teach. We could also consider converting these open faculty positions into permanent TA positions. Alternately, it might be best to reduce TA allocations and use our temporary funds to increase the research profile of the College or to fund other programmatic needs. Obviously, there are trade offs under any scenario we contemplate.

We intend to analyze these and other alternatives in the weeks ahead and will keep everyone fully informed. Thanks and best wishes.

B. Bruce Bare
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