Budget woes to impede faculty searches


Responding to a question at NVU-Lyndon’s March Faculty Assembly meeting, NVU Provost Nolan Atkins acknowledged that some ongoing searches for tenure-track faculty will likely have to be either cancelled or scaled back due to ongong budget shortfalls.

As of press time, the nature and extent of those changes have not been announced .
Currently, Northern Vermont University has five open searches for faculty positions between the two campuses and online programs. Each search is at a point, but NVU Provost Nolan Atkins says most are at an advanced stage.

“I would say that most of the searches are well-advanced to the point where we’re interviewing the short list of candidates,” says Atkins.

Each department relies on a committee to weigh in on the individual searches, and many have already made recommendations. For those positions still in the earlier stages of their searches, the committees are still interviewing applicants.

“We have an arts search that’s ongoing, given the fact that Professor Ken Leslie’s going to be retiring at the end of this semester,”Atkins said. The retirement of Leslie leaves a vacancy at the Johnson campus. “I have not interviewed any candidates yet, so that is still within the realm of that committee in terms of candidate interviewing,” he said.

The committee for the art department includes department chair, Sean Clute, Professor of Fine Arts Mary Martin, a student representative, and other faculty members. “We had a lot of great applicants,” says Martin. “We have reviewed all the applicants and will be doing the first round of interviews in the next few weeks.”

Early education is a degree program that’s offered mostly online and tends to attract CCV students who have earned their associate degree and have some work experience, according to Atkins.
“We have a search that’s ongoing for a tenure-track position to oversee and teach that program,” Atkins said.

There is also an ongoing search for a business full-time faculty member to be taught across both campuses. The pending retirement of department chair Bill Morrison leaves only one one full-time professor overseeing the entire Business department, Henrque Cezar.

The secondary education program at Johnson is also accepting applications. “The committee has identified a short list of individuals, and they’re starting to go through the more comprehensive interview process with others,” says Atkins. “So that one’s moving along pretty well.”

According to Chair of the Education Department Hannah Miller, the quality of the applicants for both education positions is very high. At least one candidate has already visited the campus.
“We have multiple outstanding candidates for each position, and we hope that we will be able to extend [other] invitations…soon,” Miller said.

Another art position is housed at Lyndon for a program specific to that campus, animation illustration. “We’re in the process of interviewing the short list of candidates for that position, as well,” Atkins said.
Once candidates have been interviewed, they move on to the final steps of the decision-making process. The open geology position, which is located at Lyndon but is taught on both campuses, has reached this milestone.

“We’ve actually interviewed all of the candidates and the committee has made a recommendation in terms of whom to make the offer to,” Atkins said. “So I am in the process… with President Mills, of reviewing the committee recommendations.”

This is one of the last steps of a faculty search.

Another open position has been filled internally. “There was a search for the biology position,” says Atkins. “Professor Lisa Zinn was in the one-year position, and she applied for the tenure track and was awarded that.”

According to Atkins, decisions regarding the status of the ongoing searches, will need to be made soon.
“This is the time of year where the searches get to the point where we identify a candidate, and we start making offers,” says Atkins. “So I would expect that we’ll get to that point here soon. The candidate pool has been good.”

Atkins noted that NVU wants to ensure that the selected candidates can mesh well with the culture of the university while also bringing unique personality and ideas to the table.

The candidates’ views regarding diversity, equity and inclusion and how to honor those in the classroom are important considerations, says Atkins. Important too are their attitudes towards the emerging Learning and Working initiative at NVU. “Their commitment to or how they would move forward with and engage students in applied learning [is relevant] , because that’s going to become an important part of the educational experience for Vermont State University students,” he said.