College to hire most tenure track professors since 1960s

Thirteen faculty positions to be open throughout the school year

by Abby Person

The College is about to see one of the largest faculty turnovers in many years. The College Faculty Council (CFC) has approved 13 tenure track positions to be filled throughout the course of this year.

"This is a very exciting opportunity," Dean of the College Clayton Koppes said. "We will do everyting we can to diversify the curriculum and faculty."

The large turnover in faculty is part of a continuing trend, as the large number of faculty members hired during Oberlin's 1960 expansion are reaching retirement age.

"In the college we're seeing the trend we've been planning for for some time, which is acceleration in retirement," President of the College Nancy Dye said.

"The spread is pretty much thoroughout the college," Koppes said. Eleven departments are represented in this year's searches. Koppes said for the most part, vacancies were created by professors retiring. However, some of the vacancies were created by resignations.

The CFC approved two searches in the departments of Mathematics and Art. One of the Mathematics positions was added to the department to help students fill the quantitative proficiency requirement.

"It might seem from the outside that the Math department has been given another position, but from our point of view, it is simply a temporary position that has been made into a permanent position," Professor of Mathematics Michael Henle said.

Koppes highlighted another new position as being particularly interesting. A new history postion is described as being in the area of "US Borderlands, multicultural history of the 19th and early 20th centuries with a specialty in Latino/Latina interactions with other ethnic groups."

"This is a very exciting possibility. The Latino focus is a very important development," Koppes said. "It is a very important area for the College to be aware of and build in for intellectual and institutional reasons."

A committment to diversifying the faculty was a top priority for these tenure track searches. "I think there is a broad committment in this area and I think we will have good results," Koppes said.

Searches will begin very soon. Koppes said most of the position advertisements will go out soon after the positions are approved. Most of the tenure track hiring will be some time in January and February, according to Koppes.

A Physics position was one of the positions approved. Professor of Physics Joseph Palmieri said, "We are looking for someone to do experimental Physics in Oberlin at the Physics building." Palimieri, who is retiring, said, "I haven't been doing that in recent years."

Positions in Biology, Economics, Geology, Neuroscience, Philosophy and Religion were also approved. The Philosophy opening is the first opening in the philosophy department since 1976, Koppes said.

"It is possible that there will be other tenure track searches. There are a couple of others that are still under consideration," Koppes said.

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Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 8, November 7, 1997

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