Curriculum changes cut English staff

Editor’s note: The quotes from Dr. Joseph Graves were approved by Graves. He requested that The A&T Register allow him to preview the story, but that is against our policy.


A change in A&T’s general education requirements will combine many 100-level courses and cut 15-20 teaching jobs in the English department in fall 2006.

University Studies is the new curriculum, and the dean is Dr. Joseph Graves. Graves said Critical Writing, the course replacing English 100 and 101, will be better for students. He said he has heard complaints ?” that A&T students could not write well ?” en masse from all around campus. Graves also said he heard reports of English teachers not holding classes on Fridays, and sometimes canceling class altogether.

“The situation was not at the standard that a research-intensive institution should have,” Graves said.

Shirley Bell, the English department chairwoman, was out of her office and could not be reached for comment.

In creating the University Studies courses, which Graves said will be interdisciplinary and prepare students to be more competitive in the job hunt, the courses were voted on by faculty. The new courses passed by a majority vote.

Graves called reports of teachers losing their jobs a “misrepresentation” because the classes that they taught, English 100 and 101, would not exist anymore. The teachers affected by the course change, mostly adjunct and part-time professors, were not terminated, Graves said, but they were told that their contracts would not be renewed.

In the past, the contracts of adjunct and part-time professors were usually renewed each year. The English department faculty is challenging the decision to not renew contracts.

One tenured professor in the English department, who declined to be named because of ongoing negotiations for the teachers’ jobs, said, “We’re gonna fight this. It’s not over.”

Graves said some of the teachers had applied to work in University Studies, and their applications are currently being reviewed.

Most of the instructors who teach English 100 and 101 are adjunct professors, meaning they teach only one or a set of courses each semester. Graves said he plans to staff University Studies with a balance of tenure-track faculty, meaning the professors are doing scholarly research, publishing their work in academic journals and bringing money to the school. Graves said there would be some adjunct and part-time professors working in University Studies.

“I want our best faculty on the line with freshmen,” Graves said. “That’s what our students want and what they should demand.”

  • Chad Roberts