By Billy Huntsman
This is the seventh installment in The Round Up/Oncore Magazine‘s 14-part series investigating professor turnover at NMSU.
The Round Up/Oncore Magazine attempted to get into contact with all 10 professors who left NMSU between 2011 and 2014. Only Brown, Durán, Luna, and Rodríguez responded (in addition to Porras’ email).
Despite the time gap between when Eber’s study was published in 2008 and when the 10 professors abovementioned started leaving NMSU in 2011, there are striking similarities between Eber’s respondents’ comments and those of Brown, Durán, Luna, and Rodríguez.
Durán says his primary reason for leaving NMSU was a lack of institutional support.
“We (the Criminal Justice Department) went through a huge growth,” Durán says.
At the time of his being hired in 2006, he estimates there were 400 CJ majors at NMSU. The department was eager to grow, and eventually ballooned up to approximately 900 majors, NMSU’s most populated major, before Durán left in 2014.
“During that same time, we also were losing a lot of faculty and didn’t get replacement lines to cover the need in terms of handling the students and also managing committees,” Durán says.
At the time of his hiring, Durán says eight CJ faculty members, particularly full professors, were being given early retirement packages, “to cut down on costs,” Durán says. These were replaced by assistant professors, “who make about half of what the (full) professors did.”
“I’d never seen anything like that,” he says, in reference to the eight professors who left the department. “I know departments have changeover, but (to) that extreme (degree), no.”
Durán says his dissatisfaction with NMSU started in his third year. His teaching load during this time “became overwhelming.”
“My colleagues at other universities got more support for their research,” he says.
He says he noticed morale was low, both in his department and university-wide. He says “acknowledgement” of faculty efforts, to hear that the administration appreciated what faculty were doing for students, a thank you “would have gone a long way” in boosting morale.
Durán says currently in his Department of Sociology at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, there are 15 faculty members and about 350 majors.
“Morale’s better here, support way better,” he says.