After adding a record 35 new full-time faculty this year, PCC will be hiring 50 more full-time instructors for fall 2016.
The new instructor positions are well-distributed throughout divisions, with at least four new faculty in the Business, Math, English, Health Science, Social Science, Natural Science, and Performing and Communication Arts divisions. Seven new counselors will also be hired, four general counselors and three specializing in financial aid, DSPS, and EOP&S.
“[The number of hires] is incredibly high,” said Valerie Foster, academic senate president. “This will really benefit our students. For a college of our size, there are definitely not enough counselors.”
The staff increases for this year and next are mandated by the full-time faculty obligation number (FON) set for each community college by the state Board of Governors, based on the amount of full-time equivalent students the school had in the previous year.
The intention of the law requiring schools to hire full-time instructors based on growth was to encourage having full-time instructors in the classroom, the goal was to ensure 75 percent of all instructors were full-time. The more full-time equivalent students in a school, the more money that campus receives from the state; ideally that means more full-time instructors as well.
“Having the ability to hire more full time faculty is significant for the college and for our students,” Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs Kathleen Scott said in an email. “Full-time faculty have more office hours to meet with students and are on campus more. They are the ones who create curriculum. They participate to a greater extent on committees and in our shared governance processes. And they are generally the faculty serving as club advisors and leaders of programs such as Honors and Study Abroad.”
Although the FON sets the minimum number of faculty required for next fall, it does not specify which divisions or classes should receive increased hires.
To determine which positions to hire, the faculty hiring priority committee of the Academic Senate has reviewed over 100 applications for increased staffing from departments across the campus. After ranking these applications and comparing them to the department dean’s list of priorities, the committee along with president-superintendent Vurdien compiled the final list of 50 positions.
“Today was a great event, a great moment,” President-Superintendent Vurdien announced to the Board of Trustees. “When we met with the faculty prioritization group within one hour we had a very collegial, cordial meeting. We discussed the positions. We knew that we would not reach agreement 100% but we disagreed in a very collegial manner, we had explanations for everything we did, we had justifications, and we had data to support what we were saying.”
President-Superintendent Vurdien called it one of his proudest days as a Lancer since coming to the college amid tensions between faculty and administration.
“The process between the academic senate’s review and the administration review coming to closure on the actual list—that process was smoother and finished much earlier than it did last year,” Said Assistant Superintendent Robert Bell.
With so many new hires to be added, the school has had to carefully plan for the huge influx.
“[W]e have staggered dates for the job announcements to be published and staggered closing dates, so that we’re not overwhelmed with all of those job applications coming in at the same time,” Scott said. “We’ve also hired extra staff in HR to help us and we have an online process so it’s not as if it is all coming in in paper form.”
Also among the list of next year hires are two Instructor/Head Coach positions: one for Track and Field and Cross Country, the other for Football.
The school has recently parted ways with Track and Field coach Crespo after an altercation involving a student, and the current football coach, Thom Kaumeyer, was hired on a temporary one year assignment.
According to the latest data available on the California Community College Chancellor’s Office website, PCC has had about 50 percent full-time faculty over the last few years, just below the state average of 56 percent. Of the five schools in the state that have over 70 percent full-time faculty, only one, San Francisco Community College, has over 500 faculty total. PCC has over 800 total faculty.
“This is a banner year for the community college system in California, there will probably 2000 positions being [added],” Vurdien said. “The division of human resources will be working very hard.”