University of Windsor to add 50 new professors
The Windsor Star/Mary Caton
The University of Windsor officially hung a help wanted sign in the window with Monday’s announcement that the institution is looking to hire 18 new assistant professors.
The hiring spree is part of a three-year initiative that will see up to 50 new faculty positions established at the university.
“It’s the most we’ve hired in quite some time,” said university president Alan Wildeman. “Any time you have the chance to bring in 50 new people, that certainly creates a very significant impact.”
Six faculties will share the wealth of knowledge from the initial 18 spots which the university expects to fill by July 2016. They were doled out following consultations between the university’s provost and faculty deans.
The faculty of science leads the way with five new hires on the horizon.
“It’s really very impressive,” said Charles Macdonald, the acting dean of science. “I think we’ve had some significant growth and I think we have the potential for more growth in the coming years. We’re the strongest faculty in terms of research and all these positions are very research intensive.”
There are currently 110 full-time faculty in the science department and 530 full-time professors across campus. The university also employs 380 sessional instructors.
Macdonald said additional positions allow the faculty to expand existing programming and establish new programming.
“We can offer more programs and handle more students,” Macdonald said.
The faculty is looking for expertise in big data science and analytics for cross-border strategies, ecosystem functioning and climate change, cellular molecular neuroscience, sustainable materials and health applications of materials.
“Materials is one of the things we do really well,” Macdonald said. “We’re known around the world. We’re building upon that particular kind of quality.”
The materials they develop have a wide range of applications from the automotive industry to the medical field.
All hiring is done with an eye firmly trained on the strategic mandate agreement between the university and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
“This lets us build on our strengths and bring in new ideas,” Wildeman said. “We have to determine what students are looking for and the kinds of programs where we can redevelop strengths.”
He said the university is looking for candidates who “think differently about their classroom using technology and social media to create opportunities.”
Even with retirements over the next three years, Wildeman expects total numbers to be greater than today’s staffing levels.
A plan for 50 new hires was initially unveiled last March.
It is seen as a strategic move to help stem the flow of declining enrolment.
In his fall update, Wildeman noted there were 326 fewer students than a year ago. The 2015-16 school year began with 13,534 full-time students.
That’s projected to drop to 13,300 by the fall of 2016.
“We want to tell the world there’s some great things going on here,” Wildeman said.
Other faculties gaining professorial staff include engineering (four), arts, humanities and social sciences (three), the Odette School of Business (three), law (two) and nursing (one).
The university has 76 per cent of course sections taught by full-time staff.