Temple warns some non-tenure track professors about job cuts due to Pa. budget

Posted: February 08, 2011

Temple University has notified an estimated 20 to 30 non-tenure-track professors that their contracts might not be renewed in the 2011-2012 academic year because of possible state budget cuts, according to Dick Englert, Temple's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

"We simply don't know how much [the state] will provide us with," Englert said. "We need to be very prudent in providing notice in a conservative fashion."

Gov. Corbett's budget proposal will be released March 8, and he has pledged not to raise taxes. Given the deficit, some people in state government predict Corbett might ax the $690 million in subsidies that go to the schools in the Commonwealth System of Higher Education: Temple, the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, and Lincoln University. Commonwealth appropriations account for $178 million, or 17 percent, of Temple's budget, according to Temple officials.

Negotiations between the Temple professors' union and the administration resulted in a required four months' notice before possible contract nonrenewal for certain non-tenure-track professors. The administration agreed to the four months' notice reluctantly because it might increase anxiety for professors.

Several professors who were recently given notice cited the state's "budget uncertainty" as the only reason for the possible nonrenewal of their contract, according to Art Hochner, president of the Temple Association of University Professors.

"I know one dean who said, 'Chances are we'll hire back 90 percent of you,' " Hochner said. "Who's in that 10 percent? Who knows? It doesn't help anybody."

Despite the chance of drastic budget cuts, Hochner said the administration was being "overly conservative" in notifying non-tenure-track professors of nonrenewal.

"If they have people they don't want to hire because they're not up to snuff, they should say that," he said.

Contact staff writer Mohana Ravindranath at 215-854-2917 or mravindranath@phillynews.com.

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