The loss of eight members of the English department’s fixed-term faculty for next year has left required classes unassigned for the fall semester.
English courses, ENG 1100 and ENG 2201, are filling up for the fall, but 83 sections are still listed with the instructor to be announced. Both classes are a part of the liberal arts foundation curriculum.
Three instructors were told at the beginning of the semester that they would not be offered a new contract for the fall. Five more instructors received the same news Monday of last week.
The changes were made per instructions given by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.
According to Interim Chair of the English department Donald Palumbo, the faculty reduction is being made because of decreases in funding from the state legislature in the last six to eight years.
“It’s the cumulative effect of all the funding cuts,” said Palumbo. “All the departments are being asked to do more with less.”
Timm Hackett, chair of the fixed-term faculty in the English department, said it comes down to the operating budget ECU has for the upcoming year.
“Unfortunately we’ve seen, not numbers go down, but the amount of financing that the university gets from the legislature is just not as much,” said Hackett. “The funds are not available right now to provide contracts for all of my colleagues.”
Palumbo said that the classes not currently assigned will be taught by graduate level students and tenured professors.
There are three different faculty positions: tenure positions, tenure track positions and fixed-term faculty positions. Those in fixed term positions are offered contracts for each year they are employed.
Hackett has been with ECU since 1999 as a fixed-term instructor and said it is sad to lose colleagues, but it does happen.
“When you’re a non-tenure track faculty member, getting a new contract every year is just- I don’t want to say you learn to live with it, but it’s a process,” said Hackett.
The English department currently has one of the largest fixed-term faculties with 31 instructors this semester and 23 set to return in the fall.
The instructors who are not being offered contracts for the 2015-16 school year will not have their summer sessions disrupted according to Hackett. The affected instructors will carry out their contracts until the beginning of the fall semester.
Hackett said he wants make sure students know that the faculty reduction will not affect their schedules.
“There’s always fluctuation amongst the fixed-term professors,” said Hackett. “This was a particularly hard year on us, but I don’t want students to worry that their classes won’t be offered. The classes are still there. It’s just some faculty unfortunately may not be.”
The first round of contracts for returning fixed-term faculty is likely to go out before the end of the semester.