By Hilary Niles, VTDigger.org
Eight full-time faculty at Vermont Technical College in Randolph received layoff notices Monday, Nov. 29. The action is part of a large-scale financial reorganization that could have major implications for the school’s course offerings.
Additionally, senior professors are being offered cash incentives to retire early, and up to 27 adjunct instructors may not be hired back in the fall.
Departments are required to increase the number of cross-listed course offerings to cover more academic ground with a smaller faculty. Students will be asked to take some core classes at other institutions in the Vermont State College system: Castleton, Johnson and Lyndon state colleges and the Community College of Vermont.
VTC President Dan Smith emphasized Monday afternoon that the layoffs don’t take effect until Aug. 1, 2015.
“A lot can change from now to then, but I need to give notice now,” Smith said, citing contractual obligations.
State funding for higher education has declined consistently over the past three decades.
“By virtue of its inattention to public higher education, the state has now put at risk the very programs it claims to need. I am committed to seeing both of those things change, and welcome your help in that effort,” Smith wrote in a letter to faculty sent Monday.
Four departments are implicated in Monday’s layoff notices: Civil Engineering Technology; English, Humanities and Social Science; Landscape Design and Horticulture; Architectural Engineering Technology; and Electrical Engineering Technology.
Landscape Design and Horticulture also may see more layoffs if spring recruitment doesn’t produce adequate enrollment. Equine Studies, Civil Engineering Technology and Diesel Power Technology programs also have been placed on a similar “financial watch.”
Students who are enrolled in a degree program are guaranteed that they will be able to finish their degrees, Smith said.
The administration and the Faculty Federation’s VTC chapter, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO, have agreed on retirement incentives for senior faculty. Early retirement offers expire Jan. 5, 2015.