Although the Academic Senate at Pierce College met as usual on Monday, it was not business as usual. During this meeting. The most pressing discussion was the fact that Pierce College is expected to hire twelve full time tenured track professors by August of 2023.
The process of selecting the newly tenured faculty will be rushed, and faculty members who are on the board to help with this emergency hiring process will receive stipends.
Interim President Ara Aguiar during the College Administration Report said that the district applied for emergency funding for these hires.
“They are providing us funding for FTES [Full Time Equivalent Student],” Aguiar said. “The funding has totaled $45 million for a two-year period of time. The funding is with the intent to have 75% of full-time faculty, and we were already at about 69% full time faculty. These 12 positions will be for 2023 fall hires, and we are down to a crunch of time.”
Aguiar acknowledged that this process of bringing faculty on board so quickly is outside of the college’s norm.
President of the Academic Senate Barbara Anderson stated that the State Chancellor’s office was offering an opportunity for districts to apply to get additional funding to help strengthen and help the colleges grow.
The LA Community College District leadership submitted an application requesting to participate, and they were granted the opportunity in the State Chancellor’s office.
“This process will then hopefully help us hire folks in areas where there’s greater need,” Anderson said. “In areas that have needed full-timers for a while and in new areas that need to be developed, such as ethnic studies, which we don’t have. We have two full-time faculty members that teach in Chicano studies, which teach ethnic studies courses. But we don’t have more than that.”
Anderson also emphasized why it is important for the college to have full-time faculty and why that is important for the growth of the campus.
“We don’t only want to have wonderful part-time faculty, but wonderful full-time faculty who are then able to commit to the campus and get involved in a variety of ways and serve in shared governance capacities,” Anderson said. “So it helps to have full-time faculty in these areas and just strengthen the good work that’s being done.”
Although she supports getting more full-time faculty at Pierce, she was surprised the school would be hiring 12 full-time faculty by August of 2023.
“That’s really an unusual opportunity”, she said.
The typical process of hiring starts in the fall. Departments state their need for full-time faculty. The list is gathered and ranked by the committee. Then, the college president communicates with the district, and then the hiring process begins.
“So we considered our hiring cycle of hiring faculty to be completed,” Anderson said. “Then, last week, I got a call from the college president saying, ‘Guess what? We just now found out that we’re approved to get additional funding from the state of California to help beef up and strengthen our faculty ranks in the district.’ Since the cycle had already been completed, it was a bit of a surprise to find out we’re hiring 12 more.”
The Academic Senate meeting also discussed programs that benefit students through the counseling office.
Counselor Judy Lam explained the Guided Pathways program at the meeting.
“Guided Pathways program is a mandate from the state, and it started in 2017, and it’s basically a lot of funding that came down and asked us to help our students find more guided pathways,” Lam said. “We have what we call CAP Communities. CAP means career and academic pathways.”
Lam explained that there are seven CAPs and this attempts to put students into different categories based on their educational tracks.
“We have seven CAPs, so seven career and academic pathways,” Lam said. “This is to help our students kind of slot into schools, if you will.”
The seven CAPs are arts/media/performing arts and design, humanities and communication, industrial tech and automotive services, agriculture science, STEM, social and behavioral sciences, as well as business and law.
“These CAP communities are faculty, counselors, deans and everything that can provide wrap-around services,” Lam said.
The Guided Pathways program is meant to be more than a passive, and it attempts to be groundbreaking in how it serves students.
“Change is slow and change is hard,” Lam said. “So we’ve been trying to restructure the school so that we can provide more services to our students, because there are only so many faculty and staff on campus, while we’ve got tons and tons of students.”
Lam discussed the urgent need to reach more students.
“It’s impossible to have one-on-one interactions with all of our students,” Lam said. “So how do we make sure our students get as many services as possible? And this is some of it. So they’ve infused some of our funding to try and get some of this stuff out to our students.”
The next academic Senate meeting will take place on May 22 in Building 600.