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UNT to begin search for 52 new full-time teachers

UNT to begin search for 52 new full-time teachers

September 25
07:34 2013

Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer

UNT’s plan to consolidate adjunct-taught courses into new full-time positions is currently underway.

Provost and vice president for academic affairs Warren Burggren said he has authorized 52 job searches. Thirty-five will be full-time lecturers, and 17 will be tenure-track faculty with research assignments.

Senior vice provost Yolanda Niemann said this search represents a $2.8 million investment from the university. Burggren said the number of hires might fluctuate between now and next fall, when the new hires will be installed, but that the amount of money invested will not decrease.

“In any given week this number might go up or down a few as individual deans tweak their hiring needs,” Burggren said. “In fact, we may during the course of the year have opportunities to hire some additional high-profile faculty that are identified mid-year.”

The university announced in August that it would begin eliminating adjunct-taught classes over the next year.

UNT will search nationally for the best available professors, and the school plans to have them in classrooms by next fall.

This is not a regular hiring session, however. College of Education Dean Jerry Thomas said the intent is not to add courses as much as it is to increase the ratio of courses taught by full-time faculty.

As such, between now and the new professors’ first classes, each department will need to identify adjunct-taught courses to redistribute to their new full-time professors.

“The university uses a lot of adjuncts,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we’re using them for very specific things. Sometimes we’re using them because we have more classes than we have faculty to cover.”

Thomas said the deans of UNT’s colleges wanted to reduce the number of adjunct-taught courses that don’t require the teacher to have a specific, rare skill set and have basic courses taught more often by full-time lecturers.

Adjunct faculty are often less accessible to students and less active in their departments than full-timers, Thomas said. By consolidating courses and making room for more full-time teachers, the school hopes to improve teaching quality.

“[Full-time lecturers are] there year after year,” he said. “They’re there on days they’re not teaching. It makes it better for the department. It makes it better for the students.”

While adjuncts are counted on a per-course basis, Thomas said the university considers a course only 10 percent of a full-time teacher’s work in a year.

Full-time lecturers are expected to take on four courses per semester and spend 20 percent of their time helping around the department. Tenure-track professors are expected to take two courses per semester and spend the remaining time doing research.

Niemann said it is difficult to tell how many individual adjuncts will not be renewed before the departments sort it out.

“Adjuncts have varying numbers of course assignments and enrollment,” she said. “Full-time faculty generally have more consistent and extensive student-mentoring roles, and contribute to department, college, university and community service as a function of their UNT faculty roles in ways that adjuncts do not. As such, the numbers are not an apples to apples comparison.”

Thomas said the university plans to begin advertising its openings in October.

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