No permanent faculty members at California University of Pennsylvania will be laid off thanks to an agreement that could move professors into different programs or courses.
University President Geraldine Jones announced the agreement Friday afternoon between the school and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties that is expected to save $4 million, with no job losses.
“The solution was hammered out after many hours of careful analysis, followed by detailed discussions with state and local APSCUF, university leadership, and Cal U faculty,” Jones said in a written statement. “All affected faculty members have been contacted individually and have agreed to new assignments in areas where they are qualified to teach. They will retain their current rank, step, tenure status and seniority.”
Through the agreement, some faculty members may be asked to teach other courses or programs that they’re qualified in, allowing for more popular classes to be filled while eliminating lesser-attended classes, university spokeswoman Christine Kindl said. She said there were prior restrictions under the previous collective bargaining agreement, so this move will allow for more “flexible and efficient” use of the university’s teaching resources.
“This will allow the university to move faculty assignments to build a schedule that is more efficient,” Kindl said.
Two-dozen faculty members may teach up to half of their classes in an academic department outside their “home” department or be transferred entirely.
In the past, a professor may have had more classes added to his or her schedule that were lightly attended, while a temporary professor would be needed for another course. Kindl said they will now move professors into programs where they’re needed and eliminate other classes. She said no decision has been made on what classes may be eliminated.
“We needed to get the faculty portion of it squared away before we could make any changes,” Kindl said.
Three faculty retirements also helped find cost savings, the university said.
Also, collaborations and sharing resources with other universities in the state system – presumably Edinboro and Clarion – will help to stave off any cuts. The State System of Higher Education announced in October it hopes to have Cal U and those two other colleges combining their senior staff, faculty and budgets into one team to reduce expenses. That integration plan is in the developmental stage.