- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The University of Wyoming is relying on non-tenured educators to cope with an increasing number of departing tenured professors who are leaving because of retirement or other job opportunities.

The university is hoping the stop-gap measures are only temporary, but the departures could result in fewer classes and academic options.

The university is also coping with increased teaching loads after a record number of first-year students enrolled last fall, with nearly 1,700 students, about 120 more than the year before.

English department director Peter Parolin said he has several vacant tenured positions and is using non-tenured educators to fill the gaps.

“We’re not replacing people anywhere near the rate we’re losing people,” he said. “That means you either offer fewer classes and academic options to students or you rely more heavily on temporary people who are hired on year-to-year contracts. That’s the choice we’re looking at here in the English department.”

Parolin said the educators filling in the gaps are doing their best, but it’s not the same as having tenured or tenure-track faculty.

“Temporary folks tend to make less money than a tenure-track faculty does,” he said. “They teach more, but a truly rich faculty member is engaged across the entire university - research, teaching and service.”

College of Health Sciences Dean Ray Reutzel said finding professors can sometimes be difficult. He said people in academia are not likely to move to Laramie for a one-year contract, making it difficult to find short-term adjunct faculty, the Laramie Boomerang reported (https://tinyurl.com/gn8mo7p ).

Some departments are doing better, but they still want more depth.

Psychology department chair Karen Bartsch said her department is gaining an additional faculty member after two people left the department this year.

Frank Galey, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences dean, said short-term faculty will still have a place at the university.

“There is a balance, and I’m not sure if anyone’s found out exactly what that is, but right now, we’re working hard to put tenure-track faculty or extended-term lecturers in front of our students,” he said.


Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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