The effort to bring personnel costs in line with enrollment at the University of Montana continues, with notices sent out to lecturers that their contracts will not be renewed for the spring semester.

UM spokesperson Paula Short explains the employment arrangements with adjunct professors and lecturers.

"We utilize what are termed as 'non-tenurable faculty' who make up from 20 to 25 percent of the faculty at the university," Short said. "As the name implies, non-tenurable means they are hired on contracts of varying terms. Some are semester by semester, and others are on one year contracts. Those contracts do not come with an expectation of renewal. Lecturers have a very specific stipulation in university policy that says if a lecturer has been at the university for three years or longer that they are entitled to one semester advance notice if they will not be hired for a subsequent term. That means if there are lecturers that we do not anticipate needing for the spring semester, we must notify them prior to the fall semester, giving them that one semester of required notice."

Short said all 34 lecturers have been given that notice. In addition, only 13 or 14 of the tenured faculty members have agreed to the university's voluntary early retirement in its effort to bring personnel costs in line with enrollment.

"These are tools or strategies for the university getting at this challenge of more than 80 percent of our budget being allocated to personnel," she said. "We are staffed with too many employees commensurate with the number of students that we are serving. Just like any organization would add employees as their organization grows an contract when they don't.We're like any organization that needs to be agile in responding to the demands and finite resources that we have."


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