Delusions of Grandeur in New York

I read today in a piece published in the New York Sun that New York state officials are recommending that, “New York’s public universities mine their ranks of adjunct faculty for the 2000 new full-time faculty the universities are seeking to hire by 2013.” The reaction from tenured faculty? In a word: resistance.

Can we do some basic math? There are 87 campuses where the 2000 new full-time faculty will be hired. That’s 23, count ’em, TWENTY-THREE, new faculty per campus. That not even one new faculty member per department per campus. According to the New York Sun article, tenured faculty want to conduct national searches. Again, from the article, “Many full-time faculty at City University of New York and State University of New York schools said giving preference to the adjunct faculty in their departments would restrict who they could hire and would not necessarily strengthen their departments.”

Back to Math 101. We are talking about hiring a single part-time faculty member in a single department. To imply that a single full-time faculty member in a department of, say, 350 faculty members could significantly impact the overall quality of an entire department is a huge load of unsharpened #2 pencils.

The real question is not whether New York’s Public universities should mine their own ranks, and promote prepared and qualified part-time faculty into the tenure-line slots, but how there can be so many tenured and tenure-line faculty suffering from delusions of grandeur employed in the same state. Once more from the article: “Many faculty members said their departments would have no problem recruiting top talent from across the globe.” What?!? Across the globe?!?

There aren’t 2000 faculty superstars total across the globe much less faculty superstars just chomping at the bit to leave, say, the Sorbonne to teach at SUNY Buffalo, or other research campuses, where officials indicate the majority of the new hires would go.

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