Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Additional faculty to address undergraduate ratios

In today’s State of the University address, President Mary Sue Coleman addressed plans to hire 50 new faculty members to enhance the university’s undergraduate experience.


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• Read the full speech online.

The positions were included in the current year’s budget by Provost Phil Hanlon, primarily to address the student-to-faculty ratio, currently 14.32-to-1.

“Our ratio is close to that of our public peer institutions but significantly higher than most top private universities,” Hanlon said, adding that the ratio in most private universities is below 10-to-1.

The plan is to hire faculty at all ranges of experience — from junior faculty, to mid-career, to senior-level, Coleman said during her address, adding that there also is discussion of using some of the funding for post-doctoral hires.

“We anticipate dedicating several of these openings for post-doctoral positions that lead to faculty appointments in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines,” Coleman said. “It is typical to serve a post-doc at one institution and then move to another for a junior faculty appointment. It also is disruptive, particularly when young scholars are starting families.

“This arrangement we are proposing has been successful at the University of California, and I saw it work well at the University of North Carolina. We believe it is one more way to attract the best talent to the university.”

Ten of the positions will be funded by the College of Engineering, and the remaining 40 will be centrally funded. Hanlon says discussions are under way with deans to determine the best use of the positions.