Old Dominion University will establish 50 new full-time faculty positions next year, half of them conversions from current part-time teaching slots.
The move is driven in part by a new state-mandated policy limiting the hours of part-time, or adjunct, faculty members to avoid providing them health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
The new federal law requires that employees working 30 hours a week or more receive health care coverage. In response, Gov. Bob McDonnell in February directed that part-time state employees, including adjunct teachers, be limited to a maximum of 29 hours a week.
As a result, adjuncts at ODU will be limited to teaching nine credit hours per semester, Provost Carol Simpson said Thursday. For those handling a full academic load - 15 credit hours - the change would mean a 40 percent pay cut.
The new full-time teaching slots will soften the blow of the state policy, Simpson said. The new positions are also in line with continuing efforts to reduce ODU's reliance on part-time faculty and improve the university's faculty-student ratio.
ODU employed 671 adjunct teachers last semester - 47 percent of all faculty members.
The biggest impact of the state limit on part-time hours will be felt at Virginia's 23 two-year community colleges, where more than three-quarters of the faculty - nearly 10,000 teachers - are adjuncts. Beginning this fall, they will be limited to teaching 10 credit hours per semester.
The new teaching slots at ODU will cost about $4 million, part of a $575 million operating budget for 2013-14 adopted Thursday by the university's governing Board of Visitors.
The budget includes about $6 million in new state money approved last winter by the General Assembly and another $6 million in new revenue from a 4.4 percent increase in tuition and fees approved by the ODU board in April.
Resident in-state undergraduates will pay $17,731 in tuition, fees, room and board next year - third-lowest among Virginia's 15 four-year state schools.
The ODU board also gave a vote of confidence to President John Broderick, extending his contract by one year to 2018 and raising his annual compensation by 4 percent to $357,760.
Bill Sizemore, 757-446-2276, firstname.lastname@example.org