University still searching to fill three tenure-track positions

Although the St. Edward’s University’s English Writing and Rhetoric program is currently not facing a faculty shortage, it could be in the future.

There is still the same number of professors as last year—15 full-time faculty members, which includes a mix of one-year contract and tenure-track professors. The search is on, however, for three new tenure-track professors.

“We have everything covered right now, but there is currently an advertisement for three tenure-track professors to replace those who left or retired,” said Father Louis T. Brusatti, dean of the School of Humanities.

The three tenure-track professors who recently left or retired are Anna Skinner, Doug Dorst and Jodi Edgerton. Skinner, who won the Distinguished Teaching Career award in 2010, retired. Dorst now teaches at Texas State University, and Edgerton is in California with her husband. All professors were part of the English Writing & Rhetoric department.

Beth Eakman, Michael Yang and Doug Norman are currently filling these three positions.

“Those who occupy their positions are at the assistant [professor] level, but that could change,” Brusatti said.

The number of one-year contract professors depends on the number of tenure-track professors currently employed, according to Mary Rist, professor and area coordinator of English writing and rhetoric.

The number of professors in the department also depends on the growth of the university. There are currently 146 students in the English Writing and Rhetoric major. According to Rist, that number usually rises in the spring semester after students have declared majors.

As of the spring 2010 semester, the English Writing and Rhetoric major is the second largest major within the School of Humanities and the fourth largest major overall—out of the 155 majors offered by St. Edward’s—behind psychology, communication and biology.

“We’ve taken one step forward, but we’re still treading water and not really growing,” Brusatti said.

Since there is still the same number of faculty members in the English Writing and Rhetoric department, students will still be able to take the classes they need.

Rist said classes are only cancelled because of low enrollment—less than 10 students—not because of shortage of faculty. For example, Media Writing was not offered this semester due to low enrollment.

“This is only done for elective classes; required classes are always offered each semester,” Rist said.