Nearly half of Chico State Faculty is part-time with 40% not tenure track
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Chico State has 996 instructional faculty members. Almost half are part-time.
Tenure status for a professor means they have a guaranteed job for as long as their contract is in effect. Tenure concentration, the percentage of faculty who have tenure at Chico State, is down over 14 percent from the CSU chancellor’s goal. The goal is 75 percent according to Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson’s listening tour report.
Academic Affairs will be reporting on the number of new hires that will begin in fall 2017 according to the report in order to increase the tenure concentration to 75 percent.
Tenure concentration at Chico State was at 70.5 percent in 2009 and slowly decreased to 58.9 percent in 2014. Total tenure concentration in the CSU system has had a long-term downward trend. Tenure track concentration among all instructional faculty in the CSU was at 78.7 percent in 1991. In 2015 it was at 55.4 percent.
Too many part-time instructors without tenure can have both negative and positive effects on education. Ph.D. and director of the social work program Vincent Ornelas describes the advantages and disadvantages of part-time instructional faculty. In social work many of the part-time faculty bring in experience from jobs they have in the field.
“you have people that have a current practice whether that’s a public or private agency. They are bringing in that current experience from what it is they are teaching,” Ornelas said. The social work program has 15 part-time faculty compared to nine tenured professors.
Adjunct faculty is a term used to describe part-time instructional faculty who do not have tenure. “Adjunct faculty don’t have an overview of how the curriculum is put together and how that spans across the student’s career,” Ornelas said. He explained that part-time faculty are not required to attend faculty or curriculum meetings.
Ornelas hopes to bring more tenured professors into the social work program in the future. With part-time instructors not being involved in discussions about the future of the academic programs they teach, a disconnect between the core program and what is taught in the classroom can develop. According to Ornelas when you have tenure, “Your part of the conversation.”
Nicholas Feeley can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.
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