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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Transfer rates, future hiring discussed by Academic Senate

Transfer rates and planned hiring at Pierce College were the main items discussed in Monday’s Academic Senate meeting, the first session of both the semester and with Anna Bruzzese serving as president.

New hires were the senate’s first point of order. Pierce College President Kathleen Burke was in attendance Monday, where she announced a large hiring increase slated for next year.

“Pierce College agreed to hire 50,” Burke said. “That is five-zero new faculty members to start by fall.”

Burke said of more than $62 million in state funds disbursed to colleges to increase community college hiring of full-time positions, Pierce has received “just under $900,000.”

“We are going to have to look at those disciplines that have a very low full-time to part-time ratio, and that is going to be primarily in math and English,” Burke said.

When questioned by the senate about the ramifications of the hiring plan, Burke did not rule out the possibility of layoffs in the future but said that it was unlikely.

“What happens in the future, if it changes, if it goes really south in terms of budget, we would look at layoffs, but not just of faculty but of all employees,” Burke said. “If it was ever going to be that bad, it would have been that bad between 2010 and 2013 [but] we never got to the point where we did layoffs.”

In her first meeting as the senate’s president, Anna Bruzzese described the hiring process.

“…There is an announcement that is posted and anyone who is qualified, who meets minimum qualifications can apply,” Bruzzese said. “So that means people from outside the district and part time professors can apply.”

According to Bruzzese the process relies on each candidate’s qualifications and does not give preferential priority to current part-time instructors at Pierce.

Bruzzese highlighted the effect the hiring would have on current part-time instructors, most notably a decrease in the number of classes they could teach.

“Each full-time person has to teach a certain number of classes, and if you hire another full-time faculty member that takes sections away from the part time faculty,” Bruzzese said.

Transfer Center Director Sunday Salter also addressed the senate about transfer preparedness rates for UCLA from Pierce College, a figure meant to calculate how prepared transfer students are for their new schools.

The rate of students transferring from Pierce to UCLA on the center’s latest report was 31 percent, compared to the state average of 29 percent. Pierce’s transfer rate from the Honors Program was 87 percent, close to the state average of 89 percent.

Salter said that as a result of too many qualified students having applied to CSUN, it has reached a “state of impaction” and has been forced to raise the standards of its transfer requirements.

Students may visit the transfer center with questions regarding transfers to California State Universities, Universities of California or other four-year universities. More information about the Honors Program can be found on the Pierce College website.

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