Hiring initiative makes significant impact
When Binghamton University’s NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant proposal was given the green light by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in early August, a domino effect began that is fueling growth for the campus. First, the addition of approximately 500 students kicked in — the first installment of a plan to grow by 2,000 students to 17,000 over a five-year period.
With the additional students and the approval to increase tuition, the University has also focused on hiring more faculty. Anticipating approval of its challenge grant, the University ramped up faculty hiring during the 2011-12 academic year to have sufficient faculty to meet the student growth and to begin lowering its student-to-faculty ratio, said Donald Nieman, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“As the fall semester begins, we have added 46 tenure-track faculty, including two tenure-track librarians,” Nieman said. “We’ve also brought in another 10 visiting assistant professors and lecturers.”
The result is a net gain of 34 tenure-track faculty over those beginning the fall 2011 semester — from 467 to 501 tenure-track faculty.
The hiring spans all schools and the library, said Nieman, but the University has also kept the commitments it made in its NYSUNY 2020 plan to hire faculty with a focus on energy research. “We added faculty in physics, chemistry and engineering,” said Nieman, “but our hiring was remarkably broad, with new faculty added in the liberal arts (classics, Arabic, theatre, music, English, philosophy, cinema, history, political science, anthropology, sociology and others) and the professional schools (management, nursing, education, social work and public administration).
Additional faculty will enhance energy-related research that is part of NYSUNY 2020 — our smart energy initiative — and strengthen the University’s healthcare research initiative and other graduate and undergraduate programs, said Nieman.
Importantly, it will also begin the process of lowering the student-to-faculty ratio, he said. With the hiring for 2012-2013 complete, tenure-track faculty were added at a ratio of 15:1, significantly lower than our current 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio. For students this will mean more available classes and smaller classes and hiring in future years will bring us to the 19:1 ratio we’re aiming for.
“We have not only added faculty to key programs and begun the process of lowering the student-faculty ratio, we have recruited outstanding teachers and scholars who will help us build on Binghamton University’s tradition of excellence.”