UI offers to rehire Catholicism prof, ends funding from Newman Center
Kenneth Howell has been offered his job back teaching Catholicism, but from now on the University of Illinois will pay his salary, the UI said Thursday.
He has until Aug. 6 to respond.
And the university will dissolve its relationship with the local Newman Center, which for decades has been paying instructors to teach Catholicism under the UI's religion studies department.
This fall, the Urbana campus will pay Howell $10,000 a semester to teach Catholic thought.
His status continues to be that of an adjunct professor, hired on a year-to-year basis, said Robin Kaler, the chief spokeswoman for the Urbana campus.
Howell could not be reached immediately for comment.
Kaler declined to say whether the rehiring was related to publicity about Howell.
"The university values academic freedom. As the fall semester was fast approaching, the decision was made to contract with Professor Howell to teach Catholic studies, while the committee continues to look into the matter," she said.
The UI will pay the salary of instructors teaching any Catholic studies courses taught for university credit, rather than St. John's Catholic Newman Center as in the past.
A press release said "the university values its relationship with the Newman Center and plans to continue offering courses in Catholic studies."
The move comes with the recommendation this morning of the Faculty Senate's General University Policy committee. The committee called for dissolution of the arrangement whereby St. John's Catholic Newman Center funds instructors for credit-bearing UI courses in Catholic studies.
"This offer of appointment does not affect the process or outcome of a review by the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure," the release said.