Daily Egyptian

CESL to lose faculty this fall after dip in program enrollment

By Anna Spoerre, @AnnaSpoerre

SIU’s Center for English as a Second Language program will see a reduction in faculty this fall, the center’s interim director said Monday. 

Letters ­­— containing either a renewal or non-renewal of each faculty member’s term appointment — were sent Friday by Michael Molino, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, to all 21 members of the center’s faculty, interim Director Elisa Hunt said. Molino declined to comment for this story. 

She said the faculty whose contracts are not renewed will have their position terminated at the end of this semester.

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Hunt would not comment on how many faculty will not return because some have decided to wait until the end of the semester to open the letter.

Faculty members are waiting to ensure their fate does not affect their teaching ability for the remainder of the semester, she said.

Five teaching assistant and three graduate assistant positions will remain unfilled and eight more will not have their contracts renewed, Hunt said in an email — meaning 16 non-faculty positions will be vacant.

Hunt said the cuts are not the result of the state budget impasse, but rather a dramatic drop in the program’s enrollment.

The center, not funded by the university or state funds, is supported by the tuition of the students in the program.

In spring 2014 when the center was at its peak enrollment, there were 335 students. Now it has 144 students, Hunt said.

She said the cause of this decrease — which she said is reflected in most English as a second language programs nationally — is from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Brazil funding fewer students to study English in the United States.

“If we have more students, we have more money,” she said. “If we have fewer students, we really have to look at ways to cut back [financially].”

Right now, she said, some class sections only have three or four students.

As a result, students will not experience the effects of these faculty cuts, Hunt said. The program will offer the same courses for students, but will be able to accommodate more students per session with fewer faculty. 

Hunt said the 21 faculty at the center are all non-tenure track — meaning they lack the job security of tenured professors.

“Nobody is being cut because of anything they did,” Hunt said. “It’s the nature of the program.”

Anna Spoerre can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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