New faculty members hired to meet student needs

Many departments on campus have hired more full-time faculty to ensure there are enough professors to teach the required classes students need for their majors.

There have been 47 faculty members hired this year, and Chico State is expecting to hire 125 more in the next three years, said Joe Willis, director of public affairs and publications.

The biggest variables for hiring new faculty include:

  • retirements
  • student needs for desired courses
  • growth of the university
  • impacted classes, especially General Education courses

“The campus has been working hard to replace faculty members who have retired so we keep our faculty numbers up,” said Susan Elrod, vice president of Academic Affairs.

Additionally, in recent years departments have experienced a shortage of full-time professors but an increase in number of major options per department.

“Our department currently has half the full-time faculty we had a decade ago and double the amount of majors,” said Josh Trout, kinesiology department chair. “The pendulum started to swing around the recession in 2008, departments were hiring more part-time and fewer tenure track, because that’s cheaper for the budget.”

Josh Trout, kinesiology department chair, thinks the new part-time faculty are being hired for budget reasons. Photo credit: Lauren Anderson

According to research from the chancellor’s office, the percentage of tenure faculty decreased 11.6 percent since 2009 with 70.5 percent of faculty on a tenure agreement until 2014 with only 58.9 percent of faculty on tenure.

Tenure is when a faculty member has a contract with the school and cannot be fired without sufficient cause after a fair hearing. The contract results in teaching for a set amount of time.

Every campus in the CSU system received additional funds from the state this year, and the big focus at this campus is hiring new faculty, Willis said.

Currently, the university has hired more full-time teachers for departments.

Trout says hiring more part-time faculty than tenure hasn’t worked for departments because part-time faculty just teach and don’t have to take on responsibilities like research.

“The tenure faculty we hired are total rockstars with strong research agendas and teaching backgrounds,” Trout said.

The kinesiology department alone has 900 majors, and full-time faculty is needed to run the department.

Richard Ponarul, marketing and finance department chair, emphasizes that departments need tenure faculty. Photo credit: Lauren Anderson

“Departments require a certain number of tenure faculty,” said Richard Ponarul, marketing and finance department chair. “The number of faculty became really thin at one point,” he said.

Both department chairs expressed the importance of having enough faculty members to maintain a large number of majors and ensure quality teaching.

The quality of courses will go up with more faculty members, Ponarul said.

Furthermore, without new hires, departments may lose the ability to provide students with core classes, he said.

New tenure faculty members will ensure students can take the classes they need and may aid in creating classes with new or different research.

“New faculty are bringing research that we have not yet been exposed to,” Ponarul said.

Sometimes new research creates opportunities to teach new courses, he said.

The kinesiology department hired two faculty this semester. Both have strong research agenda and strong teaching backgrounds, Trout said.

“It’s central to our mission,” Trout said. “We can’t run a department without faculty and as many majors as we do.”

Three new faculty members were hired in the finance and marketing department, Ponraul said. The programs had to expand by hiring new faculty to maintain the program.

The finance and marketing department is planning to hire two more tenure faculty within the next year.

“New faculty members are important, because it’s about the quality of teaching and education for students,” said Ponarul.

Lauren Anderson can be reached at [email protected] or @laurentaylora on Twitter.