April 29, 2015 update
In an April 23 meeting with campus leaders, SIU President Randy Dunn discussed the importance of deferring staffing commitments wherever possible until the budget picture becomes clearer. He noted that it would be irresponsible for the university to commit to positions that are historically funded by state resources that may not be forthcoming.
Dunn said the university would not implement an across-the-board hiring freeze but instead asked campus leaders to make strategic decisions based on critical priorities. He outlined the following strategies based on employee group.
Tenure and tenure-track faculty, administrative professional and civil service staff positions
Departments will continue to use the Position Request Form to request administrative approval to create or fill a position on campus. Following review and approval by the appropriate dean or director, the respective vice chancellor or other direct report to the chancellor will review the request. If the request is supported, the vice chancellor or other direct report to the chancellor will approve the request and the search process may begin. The Chancellor’s Cabinet will periodically review a listing of Position Request Forms approved by the vice chancellors and other direct reports to the chancellor to create an additional level of accountability. The respective administrator will explain the rationale for his or her approval to the Chancellor’s Cabinet.
In short, the process for requesting to fill a vacancy will be unchanged, but approved requests will be monitored by the chancellor’s cabinet.
Non-tenure track (NTT) faculty positions
With some exceptions, commitments for term non-tenure track faculty positions for 2015-16 will be put on hold pending a clearer picture of state funding. This does not mean that positions will not be filled, but that final decisions may be delayed pending a clearer state budgetary picture. The university is committed to notifying all term instructional personnel of their official status as soon as possible once the state budget outcome becomes clearer.
In compliance with the NTT collective bargaining agreement, NTT faculty on term appointments must receive a letter by May 1 indicating that the faculty member either “will,” “will not” or “may” receive a new appointment for the fall. Given the budgetary uncertainty, it is likely that most term NTT will receive “maybe” letters due to the uncertainty of the budget (unless it has already been determined for other reasons that they will not be hired, in which they will receive “will not” letters).
Decisions related to NTT faculty on continuing appointments do not have to be made immediately, so no actions will be taken at this time for continuing NTT faculty or for those with existing or fully executed contracts. However, units have been asked to make no new commitments for 2015-16 NTT faculty until the university has better information about the FY15 budget.
Dunn said assistantships are critical to academic programs, both in attracting and retaining students and delivering on our commitments to education and research.
The university will fulfill commitments that have already been made for the fall but has asked departments to defer commitments that have not yet been made for renewals or new appointments. Exceptions for assistantships covered by federal or other non-state grants and for those covered by local, non-state funds will be approved on a case-by-case-basis.
Similar to NTTs, graduate assistants anticipating reappointment will likely receive a “might be” reappointed notice by May 1, in compliance with the GA contract. Again, this does not mean that positions will not be filled, but that final decisions may be delayed pending a clearer state budgetary picture. The university is committed to notifying GAs and others of their official status as soon as possible once the state budget outcome becomes clearer.
Current faculty and staff
Dunn said that there have been no discussions to date about potential layoffs of current employees related to the fiscal year 2016 budget and that all conversation has been about managing future commitments.