Academic Senate prepares for potential new hires

Interim President Ara Aguiar led the conversation on the college’s 14 required faculty hires at the Academic Senate meeting on Monday. Three positions were filled during the Fall 2022 semester, leaving 11 positions open.

Aguiar said she tried to make the most calculated and safe decision for the college in light of the District’s implementation of these newly required hires, going as far as to track the trends of departments going back 20 years. 

“My concern now is this is an unexpected expenditure at a time when our enrollment is declining,” Aguiar said. “It’s getting better, but we are still 20 percent down.”

Aguiar said the goal is to approve new hires for departments experiencing high demand. 

Aguiar said the various offices such as Students services, Academic affairs, Dean’s and Managers are collaborating to blend the guided pathways framework, gauging the need for specific departments hires, allowing for the academic senate to better understand and act accordingly.

Aguiar said the Commercial Music and Chemistry departments can expect to see new faculty members. Chemistry consistently has high demand because it provides the credits for both STEM majors and those seeking IGETC requirements. 

“Chemistry has a 100 percent fill rate,” Aguiar said. “It has a waitlist. At this point in time we are way above the demand.”

The Nursing department is another area where Aguiar said the school could potentially have an increase in faculty members. The program is currently experiencing pressure after dropping from 18 to 15 faculty members while presently having 1,481 students identifying as nursing majors.

The Life Science department is also contending for more faculty in light of the staff not meeting student demands, Aguiar said. 

“Right now, as we speak, there are 230 students who could not get into an anatomy class,” Aguiar said. 

Aguiar said adding more faculty to these departments is contingent on the hirees expertise, which could lead to the potential additions being capable of instructing physiology and possibly biology courses.

“With a demand of over 67 percent in psychology, life sciences and chemistry, right now our own adjuncts have taught more than one or two semesters over 67 percent, making it a very safe hire,” Aguiar said.

Academic Senator for Chemistry Izzy Goodman is motivated to have these positions set.

“The sooner we can get the announcements out, the sooner we can get the most qualified worms in our beaks,” Goodman said.

Other meeting highlights included accreditation faculty coordinator Yvonne Grigg’s announcement of the Accreditation site visit. Otherwise known as an open house, it will take place on Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in building 600. Grigg invited members of the Academic Senate to volunteer, as the event is the place where they can sway commendations and talk about their department’s successes. 

“This is the place where we want to brag,” Grigg said.

The meeting also covered important steps Associated Student Organization (ASO) has taken in preparation of the Spring 2023 semester, such as Club Rush taking place on Wednesday Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 16. ASO has also collaborated with other forms of leadership, taking action towards Pierce College’s initiative to provide meals for students. 

“Through their advocacy and through this body’s advocacy with food security, Juan Carlos and Geremy have worked on getting 200 meals every day for the students,” Vice President of Student Services Jason Cifra said. “During the day through Pacific Dining, they get food through free tickets. For our evening students, there is grab-and-go [meals] at the bookstore for free this whole semester.”

The next Academic Senate meeting will take place on Monday, Feb. 27 via Zoom.