Saturday 16th December 2017,
The Transcript

Part-time faculty losing jobs due to low enrollment

Part-time faculty positions are being cut across many disciplines, but some departments are facing greater challenges than others.

Provost Chuck Stinemetz said departments request part-time faculty each year, and 88 percent of requests for next year were granted. Reductions were made in 12 of the 26 programs and departments that applied for part-time staff.

Stinemetz said the decisions regarding what and how much to cut were based off enrollment in courses and overall institutional enrollments in different areas. Maintaining existing majors was a priority.

“There was no effort to try to make them (the cuts) equal between the divisions,” Stinemetz said.

He said the cuts will save about $200,000 next year, but there had not been a target amount of money to be saved.

In the past, classes have been cut because not enough students registered. To avoid this, Stinemetz said he and his colleagues tried to be “conservative” in deciding how much to cut.

He said if there is a large freshman class next year, sections of classes may be re-added.

Stinemetz said part-time positions are based on need and the professors in the positions being cut do not have to accept the reduced units they are being offered.

There are many parts of OWU’s budget that need to be considered when making cuts, he said.

“For instance, we could reduce financial aid, but then we got a different issue,” Stinemetz said. “…We’d all love to have more money and not have to go through this exercise, but that’s not the situation we’re in right now.”

Some of the departments losing the most in these cuts are the languages, classics, religion and black world studies departments.

Lee Fratantuono, director of classics and the only full-time classics professor, said the classics major is “okay for another year” because of Stinemetz.

Greek was almost reduced to being offered every other year, but that possibility was decided against.

“It was the first time in my ten years it was called into question,” Fratantuono said. “The price is that we will not be able to offer two electives that we would normally offer, unless there’s a larger incoming class.”

Fratantuono said enrollment in classics has gone up “appreciably” in the past ten years, and Greek and Latin are subjects of the oldest department at OWU.

He said one effect of the part-time faculty positions changing so much is a lack of continuity for students.

“We have students now who have literally had a different professor every year because we’ve had three people cycle through,” Fratantuono said.

David Eastman, assistant professor of religion, said the religion department requested three part-time teaching positions, but all were denied.

Because of the cuts, the department will no longer be able to offer courses in Judaism or the Hebrew bible, even though the latter is an introductory course OWU was founded on, said Eastman.

Fewer introductory courses hurts enrollment in upper division courses, he said.

“I’ve been told that one student would like to major in religion, but because of this person’s schedule, can’t get enough upper division classes,” Eastman said. “So that’s our loss.”

Randolph Quaye, the only full-time professor in the BWS department, said about 60 percent of the department’s courses are taught by part-time faculty.

“I think these cuts are a crisis that we have to deal with and I hope and I pray that whatever the final decision is, it will take into account the academic programs and the staffing positions,” Quaye said.

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