“New” School Means New Faculty
by Daniel Luzer
The University of North Texas, Dallas is the Dallas extension of the University of North Texas, a Texas public university in Denton. In 2001 Texas passed a bill that said the Dallas campus would become an independent public college when enrollment at UNT Dallas got to 2,500. In 2008 the UNT board of regents announced that the new University of North Texas at Dallas would officially open in the fall 2010 semester.
This very minor transition was accomplished without much trouble, except for faculty at the school. According to an article by Katherine Mangan at the Chronicle of Higher Education, last week:
All 38 faculty members on the University of North Texas’ Dallas Campus received letters notifying them that their contracts, which expire in May, will not be renewed.
They will be given the option to reapply, along with applicants from across the country, to a “new” institution, the University of North Texas at Dallas.
The school said that reapplication was legally necessary because the University of North Texas at Dallas was a new institution: “As a new state agency, we’re obligated to abide by the law and fill these positions based on processes that are fair and equitable,” said John Ellis Price, a school official.
It’s unclear what Ellis is referring to when he cites “the law”, however. When two campuses of Texas A&M University became independent colleges earlier this year faculty at the extension campuses were not required to reapply to their positions.
Price offered faculty at his school some (vague) reassurance:
“A great many of the people we hire will be faculty members who get notice” this week, he said. “People who have been with us, worked hard, and done a good job have nothing to worry about. That’s the overwhelming majority of the faculty.”
Price was vice chancellor of the University of North Texas system. On Feb. 13, 2009, the UNT board of regents announced that Price would become president of the University of North Texas at Dallas. It’s unclear if Price had to “reapply, along with applicants from across the country” for the position.