Four professors in the English department at Oswego State will retire next semester.
Two of the professors have confirmed their retirement, according to Bennet Shaber, chair of the English department. The remaining two will most likely retire as well and are not currently listed on next semester’s schedule, he said.
"It will certainly affect us," Shaber said. Losing these professors will result in the elimination of about 12 sections of English classes.
"We’ve had to sort of reshuffle the deck," Shaber said. "It’s certainly not anything catastrophic, at least right now."
However, with recent budget cuts, Shaber said he is unsure whether the department will be able to afford to hire replacements for the four professors.
"It will depend on the state of the budget," Shaber said. "We might not have money."
The reduction in the number of English professors will also have an impact on elective courses.
"We will have fewer elective courses because we’re going to have to teach required courses first," Shaber said.
Full-time faculty will be moved to teach only upper-division courses, while adjunct professors will teach the introductory levels. This "reshuffling" will remain until the professors are replaced, or if new professors cannot be hired.
"The simple fact is that if the resources are not there to replace those of us who leave, these core courses will not be taught," said Thomas Lowe, one of the retiring professors. "I regard the courses that my ‘retiring’ colleagues and I teach as central to the mission of the college, to general education and to the major."
Lowe, however, is confident that the remaining professors will be able to "weather the impact created by the large percentage of retirements in our department and emerge even stronger."
"It’s terrible to lose people who’ve been working so hard for so long," Shaber added. "It’s also an opportunity for us."
Lowe said he is choosing to retire this coming semester because he has been "teaching close to 40 years at Oswego [State] and think it’s a good idea to quit while I am still enjoying it. I believe one of life’s lessons is that we have to learn to give up what we love best."
Despite losing a number of experienced professors, Shaber said the English department is remaining confident in its ability to give students an excellent education.
"I’m pretty hopeful," Shaber said.