Clemson, University of South Carolina Plan to Hire Hundreds

Clemson, University of South Carolina Plan to Hire Hundreds

COLUMBIA, S.C.

The universities of Clemson and South Carolina plan to hire nearly 1,300 new faculty over the next five years as some 5,000 college professors in South Carolina become eligible for retirement.

The Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive, or TERI, program give universities in South Carolina an insight into the near future because the program requires the state employees to declare their intention to retire within five years. That warning gives academic leaders a clear picture of recruitment needs.

The impact will be seen in departments across the university, said University of South Carolina provost Mark Becker, including science and engineering as well as in arts and humanities, and professional schools such as journalism.

“It is an opportunity to be strong in areas where we were not strong before,” Becker said. “There will never be another time in my career when we will be hiring this many faculty. This time will be transformational for South Carolina.”

Clemson University, which has roughly 1,300 full-time faculty members, will hire 695 faculty and staff members during the next five years. The school could lose more than 200 faculty and staff members next year.

The loss of professors should increase the cost of operating colleges in South Carolina. New faculty members will expect labs, graduate assistants and other support services — Clemson expects to spend $29 million — excluding salaries.

Clemson provost Doris Helms said turnover has become the topic of conversation among to academic officials nationwide. Administrators are wrestling with how to fill the ranks when demand for the most qualified people is likely to drive up the cost of salaries and supporting facilities.

USC vice president for research Harris Pastides said the school’s recent tuition increase was necessary in part because of faculty recruitment needs. He is optimistic the number of students planning careers in academia is increasing and said a reduction in corporate research will drive more people to classrooms and labs.

In some cases, faculty members hit by the TERI provisions are not ready to quit, and some will be accommodated, Becker said. Take John Baynes for example, a chemistry professor who Pastides describes as “irreplaceable.”

His continuing research will be funded by grants brought in by Baynes’ research into the chemical characteristics of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and aging. “That frees up money for the university, and I’ll still be there,” Baynes said.

He is optimistic the university will become stronger.

“We are hiring people from outstanding institutions, such as Johns Hopkins University. We are bringing in people who enrich the state, both intellectually and economically,” he said.

Associated Press



© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com