6.12.06

ONE FOOT OUT THE DOOR. So much for the "if you can find a better job, take it" personnel policy.

There's been about a seven percent increase in journalism majors since 2001, and while the number of students in the department is growing, the number of faculty members is not.

Dale Zacher and his wife, Yu-Li Chang-Zacher, two of the journalism department's five tenure-track professors, will leave the university after this semester.

Chang said she and her husband have chosen to go elsewhere.

Zacher said his new position is a better opportunity, and the reason he's leaving is not related to work conditions. He does, however, say his class sizes at NIU are too big.

He said there are 22 people in his Basic Newswriting class. The classes will have a maximum class size of 15 at Zacher's new job, a number that caught his attention, Zacher said.

Associate Professor Brian Thornton teaches upper level journalism courses and said even in his Journalism Law and Regulation class, he has about 50 students. Only three tenure-track professors will remain to teach more than 280 journalism majors.

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication recommends 18 to 20 as a maximum class size for accredited journalism classes.

Zacher said the support staff in communications will take over the classes.

Chang and Zacher's contracts were up for renewal at the end of the academic year. Thornton said the department would have liked more of a "heads up" before they decided to leave.

The department is in the process of finding instructors to take over their classes, and none of the classes will be cancelled, Thornton said.

"We need more people, we need more money and we need more classes," Thornton said.

In the spring of 2006, the journalism department was in the process of searching for a full or associate professor. After that search, the department hired Assistant Professor Bill Cassidy. The department is now in the process of finding another professor in addition to replacements for Chang and Zacher, Thornton said.

Headquarters continues to skim revenues from Liberal Arts to support pet projects elsewhere, and dollars still fail to follow enrollments.

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