Bucking the trend that we usually see in higher education, the University of Rhode Island (URI) has recently announced that it intends to hire 55 new full time faculty between 2016 and 2019. These positions would be in addition to filling any vacancies that result from retirement or departure from the college. According to the University, 40 of these will be tenure track positions with the remaining 15 being new lecturer positions.
URI contends that a majority of their courses are taught by full time faculty members. According the U.S. Department of Education, 42 % of the courses at the University are taught by part-time faculty. Clifford H. Katz, Vice Provost for Academic Finances and Academic Personnel, was cited in the Providence Journal as saying “In the arts and humanities, part-time faculty mostly teach introductory level courses” (Arditi “URI” A10). What is unclear at this time is which courses the new full time faculty members will be teaching. Will they be assigned introductory courses or will they be teaching mostly advanced courses?
A companion piece in the same edition of the Providence Journal highlights the plight of part-time faculty. This second article illustrates how part-timers are forced to work retail jobs to make ends meet while simultaneously worrying about whether or not they will be rehired by their respective colleges. URI uses the lowest percentage of part-time faculty. For comparison purposes, it should be noted that 57 % of the faculty at Rhode Island College and 64% of the faculty at the Community College of Rhode Island are part-time, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Will these part-time faculty benefit from the promised full-time positions? How will these new hires impact the livelihoods of the part-time faculty currently teaching at the University?
Arditi, Lynn. “URI: Enhancing Full-Time Staff.” Providence Journal. 2 August 2015: A1, A10. Print.
—— “”R.I.’s Cut-Rate Professors.” Providence Journal. 2 August 2015: A1, A10. Print.