Committee endorses departments in need of staff members

Graph by Seth Perlstein
Graph by Seth Perlstein

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) is set to hire 157 new faculty next year. Current Pierce College faculty attempted to convince a room-full of peers about why their department needed new hires more than others.

The Faculty Position Priority Committee (FPPC) voted on 31 applications from 18 departments. Each department made its case for up to two of its disciplines. The votes were tallied, and the applications were ranked with cumulative scores that ranged from 27 to 52, with the high scores at the top of the list.

The committee will use the list to recommend to President Kathleen Burke for which departments the school should hire next year.

“Because we have shared governance here at Pierce, the faculty plays a critical role in the future of the college, and managing decisions with the President,” Committee Chair Constance Kocs said.

The Media Arts Department lost one of its two full-time journalism teachers after last semester. Assistant Media Arts professor Jeff Favre presented his case to add a second full-time journalism teacher to the department.

“Advising the Roundup is a two-person job,” Favre said. “It truly takes two full-time people to make sure it’s working properly.”

Journalism scored 45.50 points and tied for eighth place with theater.

Favre also argued for a new full-time cinema teacher. Cinema lost a full-time, tenured teacher three years ago, and finished in third place with 50.00 points. Cinema was automatically placed in the top-three because it lost a tenured employee.

“It’s really dependent every year on the list that they send me, and how many separations we’ve had, how many openings we’ve had and what some of the hiring mandates are from the district,” President Kathleen Burke said.

Career Center Director Joanna Zimring Towne pointed out that the counseling department was not in-line with Title IX’s recommended student-per-counselor ratio of 900-1, or the Academic Senate’s recommended ratio of 400-1. Pierce had approximately 2,000 students per counselor, Zimring Town said.

“We need some full-time faculty to help manage that program,” Zimring Towne said. “Just relying on adjuncts is not going to be enough.”

New-student counseling finished in fourth place with 50.00 points, but sat one spot below cinema because it didn’t lose a tenured employee. General-student counseling finished fifth with 47.00 points.

The committee’s list is just a recommendation. Burke will make the final hiring decisions, but will use the FPPC’s recommendations in her decision-making process.

“She will certainly consider what the faculty puts forth,” Kocs said. “Then she makes decisions based on factors that we know about, and sometimes factors that we don’t know about.”

Those factors include inside and outside influences, Burke said.

“It’s really dependent every year on the list that they send me, and how many separations we’ve had, how many openings we’ve had and what some of the hiring mandates are from the district,” Burke said.

If Burke doesn’t hire the recommendations from the list, she has to give the Academic Senate “written rationale as to why I skipped it,” Burke said.

But before Burke even gets the list, the FPPC needs to have it approved by the Academic Senate. The senate will vote to approve it at its next meeting on Monday, Nov. 17, in the Great Hall at 2:15 p.m.