Due to funding cuts from the state, colleges are pushing faculty to secure grants to support research more than ever. One big complaint from our faculty in HSS is how difficult it can be to hire and spend money obtained through a grant. They have already met the federal requirements (code) when the grant was awarded to them, so why is the state putting up roadblocks when it comes to hiring and buying equipment. We propose having a separate component within HR for hiring grant employees year to year that is free from state regulations, which slow the process down and cause loss of valuable time and dollars. Hiring practices needs to be done quickly in order to collect data. Due to hiring delays, several of our faculty have had to “give money back” to funders at the end of grants.
Another suggestion was to have the Research Office coordinate grant funded hiring through post-award processes.
Junior faculty, in fact all faculty, are under a lot of pressure to secure grants and produce related research concurrently. We as a college are seeing the lowest morale ever in our faculty. By removing unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to hiring and spending, we will be assisting all faculty, reducing stress and benefitting productivity and morale.
We also feel that classified staff should be evaluated every year, not just after the six month probation period. Performance review is also meant to acknowledge good performance and to assist URI employees in continuous improvement. The process to remove incompetent or non-performing employees is cumbersome, lengthy, and demoralizing for supervisors and especially, for the peers of non- or low performers who are dedicating themselves to excellence in their positions at URI. We realize in large measure that this is a union issue.