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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Nearly half of Chico State Faculty is part-time with 40% not tenure track


Chico State has 996 instructional faculty members. Almost half are part-time.

part time chart.png
Amounts: 489 part-time and 996 full-time instructional faculty Photo credit: piktochart

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.

tenure density stats.png
Percent of tenure density Photo credit: piktochart

“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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    Meghan O'Donnell // Mar 22, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Tenure is necessary in protecting academic freedom as well. In fact, its the main point of tenure. Contingent faculty do not have the same protections to free speech and academic freedom that their tenure track colleagues have, because they do not have job protections, and they’re evaluated almost exclusively by student evaluations. I think its great that Chico wants to increase tenure density, but they should be making their contingent (adjunct) faculty tenured, not hiring tenured faculty and costing lecturers to lose their jobs. I hope they reward those faculty who have been teaching on contingent contracts with tenure track positions. Ornelas accurately points out that lecturers aren’t required to attend meetings, but many across the CSU are not even ALLOWED to attend, and its not a choice, so they are purposefully kept out of the shared governance of their institutions and remain in the dark and powerless.