- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The University of Oregon will have fewer non-tenured faculty members next fall after its president declined to renew 79 contracts.

President Michael Schill issued the contract non-renewals Monday. The change is part of his larger effort to focus priorities like hiring 100 tenure-track faculty members over the next five years and making it easier for students to graduate on time, reported The Register-Guard (http://bit.ly/1oPQ8cD ).

All of the affected faculty members worked in the College of Arts and Sciences, and 60 percent of them were in the humanities, according to a memo from interim Dean Andrew Marcus. But officials more job cuts are probably on the horizon.

“Other schools and colleges - like business and journalism - will be doing it in the future, I suspect,” said university Provost Scott Coltrane on Tuesday.

The university also decided not to renew the contracts of six central office non-faculty employees.

Schill had expressed concern that departments were hiring non-tenure track faculty to teach while some tenured faculty had skimpy teaching loads.

Nathalie Hester, an associate professor of Italian and French, said departments like English and foreign languages seem to be the hardest hit. She expects that five to seven of her colleagues in the romance languages department won’t be returning next year.

“There’s a lot of apprehension and a lot of anxiety in our department,” Hester said.

The school’s faculty union, United Academics, supports the goal of increasing tenured faculty. But United Academics President Michael Dreiling said the cuts were too abrupt.

“By making these cuts all in one year, it leaves open the question of how are those programs going to deliver the high-quality undergraduate training that they’re expected to deliver?” he said, suggesting a two- or three-year rollout would have given the departments more time to adjust.

Coltrane said the cuts weren’t really abrupt because they’d been on the table for more than a year.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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