The University of Montana will have 24 fewer faculty members when students return to campus this fall, a headcount as of July 18 shows. And that number is expected to grow.
"There will be no automatic replacements, and in fact, there will not be very many replacements," President Sheila Stearns said Friday. "But there will be a few."
This year, UM offered two different sets of early retirement buyouts to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty in an effort to save personnel costs and shore up its student-to-faculty ratio.
UM made an initial round of offers in May to 48 faculty ages 65 years or older. Eleven faculty members accepted offers and had a termination date of July 17, according to UM.
UM declined to provide a list of faculty members who accepted buyouts, citing personnel privacy.
However, the Missoulian requested and UM provided a list of all full-time tenured and tenure track faculty who taught in the last school year and their salaries, and all who were slated to teach in the upcoming school year as of July 18.
The list shows 24 faculty departures to date out of 538 who taught last school year. The departures should include the 11 who took buyouts as well as others who are leaving under different circumstances. (See corresponding list for names, salaries and departments of departing faculty.)
Collectively, the 24 faculty earned $1.87 million, from as low as $52,020 to as much as $127,163, according to the data.
The final tally of faculty who will no longer teach in the upcoming school year is pending a second round of buyouts.
|Beed, Teresa||Accounting and Finance||$127,163|
|Clow, Richmond||Native American Studies||$99,313|
|Dao, Thi Hong Diep||Geograhy||$56,574|
|Fillmore, Deborah||Missoula College/Dean||$69,623|
|Gaskill, Steven||Health & Human Performance||$77,324|
|Golbeck, Amanda||School of Public and Community Health Sciences||$111,787|
|Hines, Samantha||Mansfield Library||$72,742|
|Klika, Bart||Social Work||$60,898|
|Layton, Bradley||Missoula College/Dean||$63,955|
|McLaughlin, Dixie||Missoula College/Dean||$72,000|
|Medvetz, Mark||Missoula College/Dean||$62,332|
|Miller, Arthur||Health & Human Performance||$75,789|
|Molgaard, Craig||School of Public and Community Health Sciences||$114,091|
|Olson, Timothy||Missoula College/Dean||$61,726|
|Rivey, Michael||Pharmacy Practice||$112,508|
|Samson, Sue||Mansfield Library||$76,502|
|Sanders, Talena||Media Arts||$52,020|
|Smith, Andrew||Media Arts||$69,988|
|Valentin, Michel||Modern/Classical Language/Literature||$78,715|
|Williams, Sandra||Teaching and Learning||$61,905|
Source for departing faculty: University of Montana
An enrollment decline at the Missoula flagship has caused budget problems for UM, and the Montana Legislature set aside $2 million this year to help the university pay for buyouts. UM aims to save $4 million a year in the long run with buyouts, although it has not yet reached that target.
Officials in the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education have said the campus must make faculty cuts to align its enrollment and resources with its personnel. Stearns, serving as interim president of UM, has also said UM spends too much of its budget on personnel, some 80 percent instead of closer to 70 percent.
Stearns said Friday a small number of positions will be filled based on accreditation needs, and the provost and deans will determine the posts that are "mission critical."
"We want to make sure that all of our good programs have all the faculty they need to meet our students' needs," Stearns said.
Five of the 24 faculty members who have left so far are from Missoula College, according to information from UM.
In a text, Missoula College Dean Shannon O'Brien said it feels premature to make any substantial comments on the situation. The data from UM show 33 faculty listed as being with Missoula College last school year.
"We are now simply preparing for the best experience and high quality instruction for our students and looking forward to a great year," O'Brien said.
The number of faculty who are leaving will likely increase because the second round of buyouts had yet to be finalized last week.
The termination date for faculty ages 60 to 64 who accepted buyouts was July 28. However, the six employees who had expressed interest in them had until Friday to revoke agreements, and Stearns said the second round of buyouts had yet to be solidified.
She said it's too early to tell whether enough employees will have departed to avoid layoffs, but she suspects UM will need to cut the faculty further.
"I think it is probably insufficient, which is why we really need to proceed with prioritization," Stearns said.
UM is in the midst of evaluating its academic programs, and it aims to have identified its priorities by December, the president said. Through the fall, a committee will determine which programs are staffed at adequate levels, which have too many employees, and which have too few, she said.
UM will use $580,000 of the $2 million appropriation to buy out 11 faculty and additional funds for possibly six others who accept the second round of offers.
Stearns said she hopes the Commissioner's Office will hold the funds that remain until December so UM can extend a third round of offers based on sector, ostensibly to faculty in academic programs deemed a lower priority for UM.