23rd December 2008
Last Wednesday I (and my colleagues) received received my six-month notice of the non-renewal of my teaching contract at Taylor University College, Edmonton, Alberta (TUC), due to “financial stringency.” Despite receiving a “pink slip” (and, no, it wasn’t even on pink paper… rather disappointing!), there was still some hope that government funding for an affiliation agreement the University of Alberta would allow Taylor University College to continue in an albeit modified form. Last Thursday (December 18) we learned that the provincial government was not willing to fund the affiliation with TUC and we were informed by our president that the University College will close its doors for good after this next semester. Thus, when my contract expires on June 30, 2009, I will be out of a job.
More significant than my own personal situation, is what this means for students, faculty, and staff, and Christian higher education in northern Alberta. Come July 2009 (and even before for some staff) there will be a lot of people looking for employment. In this regard faculty have the biggest challenge since faculty recruitment cycles have pretty much already passed for the next academic year and almost all of them would entail a move from Edmonton as well.
As far as my own situation, I am not sure what I will do. While I love academic teaching and feel “called” to it, there are very limited Hebrew Bible/Old Tesament teaching opportunities in Edmonton and I am very reluctant to move my family — especially considering the age of my children (my thirteen year old daughter’s only response to the news was to fold her arms and say very very firmly “I’m not moving!”). So, come July, I may be leaving academia and getting a “real” job. Time will tell.
So, this Christmas season, if you are a praying sort, please pray for the students, staff, and faculty of Taylor University College.
(The official announcement may be found at the TUC website: http://www.taylor-edu.ca/)