Faculty numbers at the three state universities are on the decline and the number of professors being considered for tenure is the lowest its been in five years.

The board that governs the three public universities takes the final vote that grants tenure. Iowa State University officials are asking the Board of Regents to approve tenure for 59 faculty members. Tenure is recommended for 45 University of Iowa faculty members and University of Northern Iowa administrators recommend tenure for 17 faculty.

Republican lawmakers this year proposed and advanced bills to end the tenure systems at the state universities. While those proposals failed to clear last week’s procedural deadline, key Republicans say rather a ban on tenure, next year they may propose limitations or new guidelines for tenure.

The number of overall faculty at the University of Northern Iowa has dropped 8% in the past year. At the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, faculty positions dropped 3%.