As University of Georgia President Michael Adams leaves his position, Stacie Laplante, a professor in the accounting department in the Terry College of Business, and nine other faculty members in Terry alone will also leave UGA.
Bringing her teaching ability to the University of Wisconsin, Laplante — with her husband Mark, a senior lecturer in Terry’s department of finance and 2012 nominee for Economist Intelligence Unit’s Business Professor of the Year — is looking forward to a “good opportunity for both of [them],” but only just before her tenure at UGA would have gone into effect in fall 2013.
“I will not be here in the fall of 2013 because I have taken a job elsewhere,” Laplante said. “It was just an opportunity that arose, and we both thought it was a nice opportunity for us to take.”
The nine additional faculty — a combination of tenure-track professors and lecturers — have already been replaced. Laplante said her departure from UGA was not decided based on Adams' departure.
“Essentially, we’re going to break even,” said Daniel Feldman, associate dean for academic affairs. “We lost seven tenure-track faculty, and we hired seven tenure-track faculty. We lost three lecturers, and we [gained up] to three.”
Other big colleges on campus, like Terry, will also face faculty loss.
And as Terry will lose none through retirement, many of UGA’s colleges — including the School of Public and International Affairs — will lose faculty through resignation.
Robert Grafstein, associate dean of SPIA, said numbers concerning faculty loss cannot yet be discussed.
“I can’t give [out] that list yet because some of it’s still under negotiation,” Grafstein said.
From Adams’ time at UGA, the retention rate of many tenured and tenure-track faculty has remained about the same. After his first year at UGA — 1997-1998 — there were 1,783 full-time faculty members and a tenure rate at 73.69 percent. In 2012, there were 1,735 full-time professorial faculty members and a tenure rate of 73.7 percent.
This number may not reflect an accurate retention rate of faculty because faculty members who are not granted tenure oftentimes decide to leave for an opportunity to gain it elsewhere.
“It’s funny because I think — in a well-run department — if someone is not going to get tenure, then the head of your department will basically counsel you to seek employment elsewhere,” Laplante said. “I do know people who have known they probably wouldn’t get tenure, and so they have chosen to go somewhere else voluntarily.”
In an interview with The Red & Black, Adams said he realized the negative effects faculty loss can have on UGA.
“I regret [when] anybody who’s good, and I’ll take your word for it, desires to leave us,” Adams said. “We have set aside a considerable amount of money to make counter-offers when people have had other offers.”
In Terry’s accounting department, Laplante said there are nine tenured faculty members, five on tenure-track and seven not on tenure-track at this time, including lecturers and some of the instructors.
Speculation as to what may discourage faculty from staying could be the result of better offers from other universities, said Janet Frick, outgoing chair for the University Council human resources committee and associate professor of psychology.
“I know the fact that UGA has not had any system-wide raises in at least five years is hurting everybody,” Frick said, “and the best guaranteed way to get a raise is to get a job offer from another institution, but if you go through the trouble of applying for other faculty positions, you may decide that the grass is greener.”
Adams told The Red & Black that he has sought changes in how the system for raises work with UGA professors.
“We’ve been successful in retaining 75 or 80 percent of the people that we wanted to retain thus far,” he said. “But we can’t continue to not have raise rules long term, and have it impact us negatively. I’ve made that pitch to people that matter ‘til I’m both red in the face and blue in the face.”
But money may not be a reason across the board.
As faculty has seen a steady decrease — approximately a 0.34 percent drop since 2006 — staff at UGA has experienced an increase of 1.87 percent, or 51 new employees, in the same amount of time.
However, Duane Ritter, deputy director of human resources, said there is no observable pattern of faculty loss and staff gain.
And in SPIA, Grafstein said there seems to be a change in the pattern of faculty employment.
“I think if you took into account this current year,” Grafstein said, “[the number of faculty] seems to be growing.”
The gender ratio of faculty members is also something considered in regard to Adams’ time at UGA.
According to the UGA Office of Institutional Research, between the 2006 to 2012 school years, there has been an average of approximately one female full-time faculty member for every two male faculty members — the average percentage at roughly 32.6 percent. Faculty members at UGA, with respect to this data, are considered to include professors, associate professors, assistant professors and instructors.
Speculation behind the low numbers of female employees states that it could be the result of “UGA [not offering] maternity leave in addition to the federal Family Medical Leave Act, subsidized child care or Spousal Employment Assistance to any current/prospective faculty,” according to a 2009 article from The Red & Black.
But UGA has progressed in the past four years in helping faculty with these problems.
“On child care, there is greater availability of campus-affiliated child care now than there was a few years ago because...there are now two campus affiliated child care centers,” Frick said. “Getting increased access to campus child care was an important thing, and that is something that we’ve accomplished.”
Similar to a lack of subsidized child care, UGA also lacked a maternity or parental leave policy — unlike neighboring schools such as the University of Florida.
But Adams has made a greater effort and aims to see the administration continue reform in these areas.
“Parental leave ... is something that President Adams has expressed an interest in trying to move forward,” Frick said. “I think it’s going to take a presidentially appointed ad hoc committee to actually accomplish anything with that. If we’re going to have a comprehensive policy on that, I think it’s going to take leadership from the administration to accomplish that.”
During Adams’ time at UGA, the number of tenured female professors has increased from 17 percent of full-time faculty in 2003 to 22.5 percent in 2012, according to the UGA Factbook, thereby composing 31 percent of total tenured full-time faculty members. The total number of female full-time faculty also increased by 100 — from 495 to 595.
The numbers of female versus male faculty members are also expected to change due to the increase in female college graduates — which has been increasing yearly. The number of college graduates was split at 57 percent female and 43 percent male in 2010.
“It’s my understanding that, at least now, the number of college graduates that are female are slightly higher than male,” Laplante said. “I would say those numbers would shift — especially given that more [undergraduates] are female than male, so I really couldn’t say it’s too low.”