Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another Plan for Tenured Layoffs Without 'Financial Exigency' Nevada

From today's Insider Higher Ed

Facing steep state cuts, the University of Nevada at Reno this week released a plan to eliminate a number of academic programs (PDF) in ways that would result in layoffs for about 35 tenured and tenure-track faculty members -- most of them tenured.

If the plans are approved by the Nevada Board of Regents, Reno would become the latest university to impose layoffs of tenured faculty members without declaring "financial exigency." Under the guidelines of the American Association of University Professors, such a declaration is normally necessary for layoffs to include tenured faculty members. Marc Johnson, the provost at Reno, said he didn't believe that was the case because entire programs are being eliminated so the job losses are not because of general layoffs. (Similar rationales have been offered by university leaders elsewhere, although faculty leaders disagree.) At Reno, some of the programs being eliminated include the College of Agriculture (although some divisions would survive and be moved to other units), German studies, French, Italian and interior design. In addition, a number of graduate programs would be placed on a five-year hiatus.

Eliminating the agriculture college is unusual, given that Reno is the state's land grant university. Johnson stressed that the experiment station would continue, as would many programs that promote agriculture. "We're not getting out of the agriculture business," he said. Rather the university is looking for ways to cut administrative expenses through consolidating some programs and eliminating those with low enrollments

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