MISSOULA - Higher education officials say that the University of Montana is following policy after approximately 40 lecturers were told their contracts may not be renewed in 2018.
Montana University System Deputy Commissioner Kevin McRae said the potential staffing cuts are part of ongoing efforts at UM to align faculty expenses with revenue.
He explained that guidelines require any cuts based on enrollment made to faculty must begin with non-tenure-track employees and -- that as adjuncts, none of the roughly 40 lecturers were eligible for tenure. McRae added that this is something those employees are aware of.
McRae told MTN News that those jobs rely on per-semester contracts, and UM is required to provide at least one semester's notice before removing those positions.
But nothing is set in stone; McRae said if the need for some of these positions exists after re-prioritization takes place, new contracts could be offered this spring.
"Depending on the program, depending on the department, if the university after the fall semester finds itself in a situation of wanting to extend an offer to a lecturer for spring semester, we believe the university will have that option," said McRae.
He further explained that these possible cuts all come down to enrollment numbers and available revenue and that non renewals of contracts do not reflect on the lecturers.