Daily Egyptian

184 non-tenure track faculty members unsure of their contract renewals

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Cory Ray

The renewals of 184 non-tenure track faculty positions at SIUC are still being considered as the state continues without a budget.

The university has approximately 400 NTT faculty, according to Illinois Education Association UniServ Director Bret Seferian. This means half of the NTT faculty at the university has received or is at risk of receiving a non-renewal.

Many of the NTT faculty at risk of non-renewals are considered “term,” meaning they have taught for less than five years at the university, Seferian said.

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University leaders are required to update NTT faculty members of their employment status each year by May 1, as they receive contracts on a yearly basis.

So far, 24 NTT faculty members did not receive a renewal, whereas 91 have received a renewal to continue their position.

Seferian said four NTT continuing-status faculty — those who have taught at the university full-time for at least 5 years — received non-renewals.

Faculty members who received non-renewals or have unknown contract statuses did not receive those notices because they performed their jobs poorly, Seferian said.

“What happened is, it’s now become a de facto layoff since the budget crisis,” he said.

The decision to renew a contract is made by the deans of each college before being sent to the provost, said University Spokesperson Rae Goldsmith.

According to Goldsmith, these numbers are not much different than decisions made in May 2016, when the state was about to reach the one-year mark without a budget.

While Goldsmith said there are always some number of potential renewals or non-renewals issued each year, the lack of a state budget is playing into that decision.

“We have to allow time to figure out what classes we’re going to need to cover and fill,” Goldsmith said. “Now, we are being more cautious than we have in the past because of the budget crisis.”

Seferian said some faculty who originally received non-renewals have been offered different contracts in the past, but for the nearly 200 faculty members whose rehiring status remains unknown, it’s a waiting game to see whether they will receive any contracts in August.

“It’s not that [faculty] are not getting renewed,” Goldsmith said. “It’s that we have not committed to them. Eventually, a lot of those ‘maybe’s’ will become ‘yes’s.’”

Seferian, however, said the uncertainty this year regarding renewals is “much more extensive.”

If the school does not receive money from Springfield by July, Seferian said more NTT continuing-status faculty are liable to receive nonrenewals.

“The system wasn’t designed to deal with this kind of crisis,” Seferian said.

Goldsmith said there is no specific timeline as to when renewal decisions will be finalized; however, she said the university is working “as quickly as possible.”

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