About half the non-tenure-track faculty at UMass Boston are getting notices that they may not have jobs this fall.
The notices come as universities struggle to figure out whether they will be able to open campuses in the fall and how many students will enroll either on campus or online.
Faculty may still be rehired before the fall. But the incoming president of the Faculty Staff Union, Steve Striffler, said the notices are a hard blow for people who made the campus's transition to online learning possible.
"Face-to-face classes into online classes and remote learning kind of overnight," Striffler said. "And many of these faculty just did an incredible job doing this and now they find themselves getting these non-renewal-slash-layoff notices. It's tough."
UMass Boston Director of Communications DeWayne Lehman said in a statement that faculty hired from semester to semester have been told "they may not be needed in the fall." But added, as "summer progresses and the university is better able to gauge its academic needs in the face of evolving health and budgetary conditions, we hope to be able to re-appoint some of them, but that is not a decision we can make until our financial outlook for [fiscal year] 2021 [which begins July 1st] becomes clearer."
Striffler said many of the faculty members not receiving offers for the fall have worked at UMass Boston for some time and teach some of the largest classes. He predicted many will now be looking for other jobs.
Striffler added that faculty heard from members of the administration that enrollment for the fall looks strong. He says in his own department, Labor Studies, enrollment looks similar to any other year.