The economic crisis could threaten the security of the tenure system, according to an article on Inside Higher Education today, "Layoffs Without ‘Financial Exigency.'" The article names two universities – Florida State and Clark Atlanta– that have already made or plan to make substantial cuts among tenured faculty, and policy changes in other university systems that may make it easier to lay off tenured professors.
Other colleges have made headlines over the past two years for planned faculty layoffs, including Arizona State, the University of California system, Florida State and Virginia Commonwealth. Others established mandatory furloughs.
UNM has been hit hard by the recession as well. While the hiring pause and other belt-tightening measures have helped stave off deeper cuts, many staff and faculty struggle to keep units running smoothly with less support.
Still, protecting the university's academic mission has remained a top priority. Not only is UNM not laying off faculty, we're growing it. As of this writing, 29 tenure or tenure-track faculty positions were posted on UNMJobs. In a faculty retirement incentive program under development, reserving those lines for tenure-track hiring has been a key point.
Of course, that things could be worse doesn't mean they couldn't be better.
While budget decisions may need to be made quickly, they should also be made strategically, avoiding quick fixes in favor those that will strengthen – or at least not damage – the long-term success of the university and its ability to serve students, patients and the community.
Submit your budget suggestions to the president's cost containment Web site.