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March 18, 2010

UPJ launches faculty hiring initiative

The search is on to fill vacant faculty positions at several of the University’s regional campuses. Pitt-Johnstown recently announced its largest-ever faculty hiring initiative, aiming to hire 23 full-time faculty members for the upcoming academic year and five for 2011-12.

Searches also are being conducted for five new faculty members at Pitt-Greensburg and five at Pitt-Bradford. No increase in faculty numbers is planned at Pitt-Titusville.

Hiring on the Pittsburgh campus is being done to replace faculty lost through normal attrition, according to John Fedele, associate director of News.

According to the Pitt Fact book, UPJ had 140 full-time faculty in fall 2009, down from 151 in fall 2008. Full-time faculty at UPG fell from 74 in 2008 to 73 last year, while UPB’s full-time faculty rose from 73 to 75. UPT full-time faculty numbers held steady at 28.

Provost James V. Maher, in a written response to the University Times’s questions regarding faculty hiring, stated, “Last year, faculty hiring at all of the University of Pittsburgh campuses slowed, due to the uncertainty of the nation’s, and the region’s, economic health.

“This year, we have been hiring more, not necessarily because the economic forecast is that much better, but because we do need to fill positions to continue to provide the type of excellent educational opportunities our students expect.”

Christian Stumpf, UPJ chief of staff, said several factors figure into the UPJ hiring initiative, including vacancies due to retirement and attrition, expanded program offerings and positions being shifted into growing areas.

He estimated there should be 145 full-time faculty at UPJ this fall.

The UPJ hiring plan is in accord with the campus’s five-year strategic plan. Stumpf said the campus is moving into areas of need to serve the community, including engineering, technology, energy, nursing and business.

Over the past year, UPJ has announced new programs in computer engineering technology, biochemistry, applied computer science and health care.

Searches will include the following positions: tenure stream assistant professors in sociology, mathematics, biology (three positions), chemistry (two positions), electrical engineering technology (one or two positions), mechanical engineering technology (green/alternative energy), elementary education, early childhood education, secondary science education, English, communication and communication/journalism and mass media.

The campus also is seeking associate and assistant professors in nursing and an associate professor or professor in education/special education.

Non-tenure stream assistant professor positions are available in business/management and marketing, accounting and finance (two positions) and in nursing.

Searches are to be held next year for academic year 2011-12 seeking to fill tenure stream positions in business/health care management, green chemistry, energy and environmental sustainability, special education and health management information technology.

In a message to the campus community, UPJ President Jem Spectar stated, “This is a monumental effort towards strengthening our faculty, enhancing academic quality, investing in our core mission and attaining our vision of being a leading institution at the forefront of baccalaureate colleges when it comes to preparing students for the real world.

“Through the hiring of these critical positions, we will strengthen quality and enhance the distinctiveness of our current programs as well as provide flexibility for future program development. Pitt-Johnstown is now positioned to be competitive in several key areas of growth such as special education, energy/environmental issues, nursing, health care, and new mass media technology.”

Maher stated, “The situation in Johnstown is only unique in that when President Spectar came in, we wanted to review some of the programs offered at that campus to make it more responsive to the community’s needs. Now that that process is further along, we are able to fill accumulated faculty vacancies to support the programmatic changes that characterize the new era that President Spectar is bringing to his campus.”

While current hiring is consistent with UPJ’s strategic plan, at Pitt-Bradford the current search for five faculty members is just a fraction of the campus five-year plan goal of adding 22 new faculty.

The UPB strategic plan calls for the campus to expand the number of full-time faculty so that all majors are supported by at least two faculty members.

However, Steven Hardin, vice president and dean of academic affairs at Pitt-Bradford, said only a portion of the positions enumerated in the plan address that initiative. “The remainder of those positions represent a strategic expansion of our faculty and we will take action on these when it is appropriate to do so,” he said.

Pitt-Greensburg spokesperson Susan Isola said the campus is hiring faculty for positions in psychology, education, history and communication.

“Most of the faculty hiring for fall 2010 was the result of the normal cycle of faculty retirements and resignations. The education search is the first of several searches to recruit faculty as we prepare to launch new majors in early childhood education and secondary education,” she told the University Times, noting that UPG’s education program is in the final stages of approval through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Isola stated, “In replacing faculty in psychology, Pitt-Greensburg will augment its current major to offer a behavioral analyst assistant track.

“Similarly, the goal of the communication search is to add expertise in corporate communication. The newest addition to the Pitt-Greensburg curriculum is a Spanish major that will be launched in fall 2010.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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