Despite faculty retirements and open positions, Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Elliott said the School of Education and Counseling is well-prepared for state and national accreditation.
The college plans to fill a majority of the vacancies in the school, Elliott said, and vacancies in all departments across campus are being considered during the budget-planning process.
“The reason why we have fewer professors in the department,” Elliott said, “is mainly due to retirements.”
All schools on campus have had multiple professors retire. Business and Technology has had the most, followed by Arts and Humanities; Education and Counseling; and Natural and Social Sciences.
“I think the reason for professors retiring at this time is because of how good the stock market is doing and the forecast that interest rates will go up is a good combination for a time to retire,” Elliott said.
Elliott’s main goal is to hire all full-time professors, instead of hiring adjuncts. Professors in areas of study that have lower enrollment need to be creative in how they offer courses, he said.
Instead of having a class with only five students, which doesn’t necessarily provide an active work environment for the students, Elliott would recommend combining classes.
“I taught design and sculpture classes for 10 years here on campus,” Elliot said, “and we wouldn’t have three different classes with five students in each class; we would combine them all into one class.
“Someone could be working on a technology piece and someone could be working on a wood-work project. That is a best practice for universities.”
Elliot also plans to hire full-time faculty, instead of more adjuncts. In cases where hiring adjuncts is necessary, he said, “anyone we hire to teach courses needs to be qualified to teach those courses.”
He doesn’t foresee that there will be fewer professors in the departments.
“What I am wanting to accomplish is having more full-time faculty on campus teaching face-to-face courses,” Elliot said. “I think we are going to be in really good shape, and our accreditation will be in really good shape.”