Update shared on College of Arts and Sciences realignment

W. Andrew Marcus, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, sent the memo below to all faculty and staff in CAS about contract non-renewals to address the college’s $4 million deficit. In January, President Michael Schill explained in a memo to campus that the tenure-track faculty hiring continues, but he said it is necessary to align resources to the university’s greatest priorities and address budget shortfalls in some schools and colleges.


I am writing to tell you about the NTTF contract non-renewals that I issued today in the College of Arts and Sciences. In my memo of January 13, I outlined why we needed to reduce the number of NTTF in CAS, and the processes and principles we followed to reach decisions.

As I write this note, I am acutely aware of how difficult this has been for many individuals and departments. It is precisely because of that impact that I want to give the entire college an explanation of my final decisions. 

I want to emphasize that all of these non-renewals followed conversations with department heads in affected units – sometimes multiple conversations. In a number of cases we scaled back our initial recommended cuts in order to maintain lower class sizes, address key pedagogical needs, or provide support for critical departmental functions. I want to thank our department heads, managers, and the faculty who worked to help us understand local department needs. A number of heads did not agree with my final decisions, but their willingness to engage in difficult conversations and offer alternative solutions made it possible to move through this challenging process in a manner that helped us meet the financial and strategic needs of the college while being as responsive as possible to the needs of each unit.

In total, I sent 79 non-renewal notices to NTTF, plus 11 notifications of reductions in FTE appointments. This is in addition to six central dean’s office staff to whom I issued non-renewals in January.

This comprises the full set of budget-related NTTF reductions in CAS this year, with the exception of the American English Institute, where instructional needs vary with overseas enrollments and non-renewals may be forthcoming, depending on demand. These decisions are final and, with the exception of AEI, I will not issue further budget-related instructional NTTF contract non-renewals this fiscal year.

Sixty-three of the NTTF non-renewals were for pro tem appointments, 14 of whom held post-doctoral positions funded through the college. Eleven of the non-renewals were for visiting scholars. Many of these individuals were one-year appointments who did not intend to stay beyond this academic year and for whom notices of non-renewal were not required. However, the uncertainty and concern I have heard expressed from individuals about the future of NTTF positions prompted me to alert everyone who would not be receiving a contract renewal this year. I realize that receipt of the non-renewals may irritate some who are already aware their contracts would not be renewed, but I decided to err on the side of over-informing rather than leave any confusion.

Beyond the positions outlined above, five career NTTF who were at the end of their contract periods did not receive renewals. In addition, we will not be refilling twelve positions that have been vacated due to retirements or resignations.

These non-renewals do not impact any grant-based post-doctoral appointments, nor do the non-renewals constrain departments from offering the same people instructional appointments next year if evolving situations create the need (e.g. tenure track faculty going on leave). I am encouraging individuals with questions about their potential future employment at the UO to talk to their department heads.

Many of the positions that will not be renewed or refilled were partial FTE appointments, so the total FTE reduction sums to about 52. However, approximately 12 of these FTE will be returned to departments via ongoing career NTTF searches; it is possible that some of the individuals receiving non-renewals may fill these positions. Once these searches are completed, the total reduction in personnel FTE across the college will be about 40, not including the six staff non-renewals in the CAS dean’s office.

All parts of the college were affected by the cuts. Approximately 60 percent of the individuals receiving non-renewals were in the Humanities, with the remainder split approximately evenly between the Natural and Social Sciences, in accordance with instructional need.

Thank you for the conversations and questions that have guided us through this difficult process. There is no way to minimize the force of a contract non-renewal notice for those who have received them. Though some did not anticipate working at UO next year and already have other plans, others have devoted their time and talents to the college for many years. I acknowledge that there is a significant impact on each of them and I recognize, too, the impact on their immediate colleagues and programs. This is not an easy process for anyone.

I hope you will continue to contact me and those of us in in the dean’s office with your input and questions in the days and months ahead as we work to support all of you in adjusting to the new staffing levels in the college.

W. Andrew Marcus, Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences