UConn has hired 40 additional faculty members for the 2007-08 academic year, thanks to internal spending reallocations and additional funding from the Legislature.
“A great university needs a great faculty – great in quality and sufficiently great in numbers to meet our high standards in research, teaching, and outreach,” says Provost Peter J. Nicholls.
“Although UConn looks good due to its physical transformation, has many wonderful faculty, and has acquired great students through a steady climb in SAT scores and enrollments, faculty hiring has not kept pace with our other achievements.”
The University already has made some progress in hiring faculty beyond replacing those who have retired or left. Two years ago, 51 additional faculty were hired;
last year there were 13; and this year there are 40.
Nicholls credits this achievement to “the efforts of the schools and colleges to reallocate resources to focus on our greatest needs; high-quality faculty; and important new state initiatives such as the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Eminent Faculty Program.”
The new faculty are part of UConn’s goal to hire 175 additional faculty, or at least 35 per year for five years.
They are being funded by $1 million in additional funds from the General Assembly and internal funding reallocations.
The additional faculty members will help serve the student body, which grew from 22,316 to 28,876 over the past 11 years. In contrast, the faculty only increased from 1,106 to 1,300, resulting in a student-faculty ratio of 17 to 1, instead of the desired 14 or 15 to 1.
“We have been concerned that our student-faculty ratio has climbed above that of other excellent public universities,” says Nicholls.
The hires will be made in areas of highest student demand and in those that best meet the research and outreach goals of the Academic Plan, says Nicholls.
He has asked the deans to send him lists of the priorities for their schools and
colleges, so that in the next few weeks he can allocate the approximately 30 additional faculty positions anticipated for the 2008-09 academic year.
“Hiring more faculty in our areas of greatest need and in accordance with the Academic Plan,” he adds, “will help enhance the quality of the student experience, further the state’s economic growth through research and workforce development, solidify the University’s growing national reputation, and maximize the investment of parents and taxpayers by ensuring that students can graduate in four years.”
Nicholls notes the strong support for this initiative from the AAUP and from State Rep. Denise Merrill (D-Mansfield), chair of the Joint Committee on Appropriations, who pushed to obtain funding for new faculty.
“We are very grateful for her support,” he says, “and for her efforts to rally others to support it as well.”
Merrill says she supported the request because it is clear that it is of paramount importance to the University’s future.
“I have become convinced that securing additional faculty to meet the growing needs of the student body is the highest priority for the University,” she says.
“By funding additional faculty, the Legislature has recognized that UConn’s success in attracting and retaining students demands that the budget keep pace, so the University can continue to provide a high-quality educational experience.”