University hires 55 new faculty members for the College of Arts & Sciences
The University’s College of Arts & Sciences has hired 55 new professors for the upcoming academic year, an unprecedentedly large number of faculty compared to previous years.
These hires include 29 tenure-track professors and 26 teaching-track professors. The tenure track professors include 13 in the humanities, nine in the social sciences, and seven in the natural sciences. The hires are a mix of general hires and ‘target hires,’ instances where the University reached out to specific people to fill positions.
Vice Dean of Undergraduate Affairs Erin McGlothlin said the new faculty are being introduced to supplement the learning already happening at the University.
“We’re calling this a transformative decade,” McGlothlin said. “The hires are to support our students and to really support particular areas.”
These particular areas are departments including Statistics and Data Sciences and Sociology, said McGlothlin. The fields with the most new hires is the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Political Science.
Dean of Arts & Sciences Feng Sheng Hu said the aim of the new hires is to expand the University.
“One of the goals of our strategic plan is to grow our tenure-track faculty by 100 in ten years,” Hu said. “With the new hires this year, we are at around 411 [faculty total] with more already committed to joining us in spring and next fall.”
Jennifer Smith, Vice Provost for Educational Initiatives, said the growth of the University’s faculty is also conducive to how individual departments grow.
“We want to strengthen scholarly productivity,” Smith said. “We want to increase the student-faculty ratio. There’s oftentimes a connection when you look at department rankings and department reputation: bigger departments, more people, usually are better. Not always; this isn’t a recipe of automatic awesomeness, but frequently when we look at aspirational peers, our departments are smaller.”
Hu also said a lot of the University’s departments are relatively small in comparison to other similar universities. The faculty hires are getting these departments bolstered to a similarly strong level.
McGlothlin said that encouraging a diverse group of new hires is essential and important to the University, especially in disciplines like physics that “don’t have a historically good track record” in terms of faculty of color or female-identifying faculty.
Hu echoed the sentiments that the University is committed to diversity, especially in its new hires.
“We are deeply committed to cultivating an ecosystem where faculty, students, and staff from a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives are all welcome and will thrive,” Hu said.
McGlothlin said that diversity of origin is also instrumental to student success.
“International faculty is also important, because we want to attract the best talent we can,” McGlothlin said. “We know that our students are also looking for faculty with whom they can identify, because students should be able to see themselves reflected in the faculty.”
The University has been dealing with issues in regards to classroom availability and general space being usable, Smith said.
“We’re feeling a pinch in classroom space,” she said. “We’ve been digging into this, and we’ve been working with our University Registrar to determine how we use classroom space. There is a huge inefficiency with classes on Friday and before 10 am, but nobody wants that time. This isn’t an issue on the student side.”
Smith and many other faculty members are excited about the new hires.
“This is exciting!” she said. “The kind of nerdiness of faculty, having someone you can do research with or collaborate with, is really really exciting. Getting to have a new colleague that you can collaborate with is a really big deal. We can offer more robust curricula and we can offer a new track in our majors, for example. This creates a new opportunity for scholarship and education. It’s really awesome.”