Strategic plan shrinks teaching resources, profs say
Laurentian University departments say faculty members are in short supply
Some social sciences and humanities faculty members at Laurentian University say their departments aren't getting the resources it needs.
Most of the concern is over shrinking department sizes — something faculty members say is making it more difficult for them to do their job and they partially blame the university's newly implemented strategic plan.
"Basically, if you're not in the strategic plan, just don't ask for anything, because you're not going to get anything in terms of faculty of resources," Cynthia Whissell, the acting chair of psychology at Laurentian University.
Whissell said attrition has shrunk the social sciences and humanities department by five full-time faculty members, none of whom have been replaced.
The chief of staff at Laurentian said the university can't replace all faculty in programs, especially in those departments that face a decline in enrolment.
"When we're talking about a per-faculty basis, yes, there's been some redistribution of where the positions are being re-hired," Chris Mercer said.
"[Laurentian is] making sure that the other programs have certain critical mass to offer high quality programs."
Laurentian released a five-year faculty hiring forecast as part of its 2012-2013 budget.
The strategic plan indicates "signature programs" for the university, including mining engineering, sports administration, and rural health.
Positions yet to be decided
Bob Segsworth, who has been a professor in the political science department for more than four decades, said he understands the need for the university to have a focus, but said it shouldn't be at the expense of the social sciences and humanities departments.
Segsworth said if he and another political science professor retire at the end of this year, the political science department will be left with only four full-time faculty members.
"These kinds of focus issues are only coming to the fore now, and that's really unfortunate," Segsworth said.
"Historically the arts are relatively cheap and generate considerable profit, and I don't know of a university in a world that could support itself on the basis of having a school of mining engineering."
The faculty of social sciences and humanities at the Sudbury campus of Laurentian is slotted to receive 11 out of 57 positions
A total of 28 positions are still to be decided.