Addressing the Urgent Need for New Tenure Line Faculty in the California State University (CSU)

AS-3142-13/FA

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) express its grave and growing concern that the number of tenured and probationary faculty has fallen increasingly short of the Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 73 recommendations1 as indicated by a declining number of tenured and probationary faculty in contact with a rising student population within the CSU; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recognize the key role of tenured and probationary faculty in all aspects of university life, including in particular supporting student retention and success through the development and implementation of high-impact learning practices, advising and assessment; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recognize online instruction, while important in addressing some facility- and access-related concerns about bottleneck courses, cannot replace the need for tenured and probationary faculty in the classroom; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the Board of Trustees and the Office of the Chancellor to review the history of past ASCSU reports and resolutions related to ACR 73 and addressing the declining numbers of tenured and probationary faculty embodied in numerous ASCSU resolutions,2 and also to review the 2002 “Response to ACR 73 (Strom-Martin): A Plan to Increase the Percentage of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty in the California State University1; and be it further

RESOLVED: That ASCSU urge the Office of the Chancellor to work with the ASCSU and California Faculty Association (CFA) to develop a new system wide executive plan by means of which to implement ACR 73; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the Board of Trustees to reallocate existing resources and seek new resources from the State Legislature dedicated to the implementation of ACR 73, specifically with regard to the recruitment and retention of quality faculty, including fair and equal consideration of demonstrably qualified current contingent faculty within the CSU; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the CSU Board of Trustees, Chancellor, campus Presidents, campus Senate Chairs, campus Senate Executive Committees, Provosts/Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, and the California Faculty Association.

RATIONALE: This resolution responds to the failure of the CSU to implement ACR 73. In 2012, the ASCSU prepared a detailed review of efforts to implement ACR 73 and to achieve related elements contained within Access to Excellence. AS-3067-12/FA (Rev) provides context for these reports, and offers links to other relevant ASCSU and CSU actions since 2001.2 This review indicates a clear lack of progress towards the goals of ACR 73 and of the Access to Excellence document through Academic Year 2009-10. Subsequent data from fall 2011 indicate that the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty has again fallen, constituting 62.0% of Full-Time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF).

In drafting this resolution, we recognize that the Office of the Chancellor is aware of the failure to implement ACR 73. In his July 13, 2012 Chancellor’s Office response to AS-3067-12/RA (Rev), Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Vogel wrote:

We would like to thank the ASCSU for the resolution and the detailed report written by the Faculty Affairs Committee. We readily reaffirm our support for “Commitment 2” and all others (sic) commitments in the Access to Excellence (A2E) strategic plan. We are aware that many of our plans outlined in A2E, which includes increasing the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty, have been negatively impacted by the severe budget cuts we have experienced. Hiring probationary and tenured faculty throughout the CSU remains a priority but must be done at the campus level in the context of reduced resources. Simply stated, we are aware that hiring qualified tenured and tenure-track faculty is vital to many of our programs. The ASCSU’s resolution is important to both the faculty and administration throughout the CSU and the written report sends a message to the legislature and governor that budget cuts are eroding our ability to maintain the core mission of the CSU.3

We appreciate that this response indicates a continued commitment by the Office of the Chancellor to address issues related to tenure-track hires and improving funding for implementation of ACR 73 and A2E. While we recognize that hiring decisions are made at the campus level, these decisions are greatly influenced by system policy and budget allocations. In light of this fact, the resolution calls for the Office of the Chancellor to develop a new executive plan, in concert with other named parties, in order to implement ACR 73.

When the legislature of the State of California adopted ACR 73 in 2001, they charged the Trustees of the CSU, the ASCSU, and the California Faculty Association (CFA) to develop a plan that would: (a) Raise the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty to at least 75 percent, with the unit of measurement to be developed jointly by the entities described above; (b) Provide that no lecturers currently employed by the university will lose their jobs as a result of implementing the plan; (c) Provide that qualified lecturers will be seriously considered for tenure-track positions; and (d) Provide for the continued improvement of faculty diversity. In 2002 the ASCSU, CFA, and CSU Office of the Chancellor jointly developed the “Response to ACR 73 (Strong-Martin): A Plan to Increase the Percentage of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty in the California State University”.

As has been addressed in many reports, and clearly articulated in the CSU’s 2002 implementation plan for ACR 73, lecturers provide many important contributions to the CSU, including some vital functions in shared governance. However, “the nature of lecturers’ employment relationship with the University results in a series of problems that negatively impact the quality of the overall educational experience offered by the CSU” (p. 2). The call for increased tenured and tenure track faculty included recognition that in addition to engaging in instruction, such faculty, “bear the primary responsibility for student advising, program development and revision, and participation in shared governance. When their proportions decline, the quality of these efforts also wanes” (p. 1). Many of our activities related to improving student retention and graduation rates and assessing student achievement rely upon expertise and job responsibilities tied specifically to tenured and tenure-track faculty. Indeed, Associate Vice Chancellor Vogel’s September 2013 report on the Bottleneck Courses survey indicates lack of funding to hire faculty, and tenure-line faculty specifically, are the most important reasons why bottlenecks occur in undergraduate courses.

As the CSU is beginning to recover from the massive budget cuts of the past several years, the ASCSU believes it is time to comprehensively review the 2002 plan, and to develop a new system-wide plan to increase the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty in the CSU. Given the data provided in the 2002 implementation plan, it appears clear that improvements in percentages of tenured and tenure-track faculty are possible under current conditions, but achievement of the 75% standard seems unfeasible without additional budget allocations to the system. As is indicated in the 2002 implementation plan, increased funding is needed to fund searches, offer competitive faculty salaries, improve working conditions in part by decreasing the student faculty ratio (SFR), improving laboratory and office facilities, providing appropriate support staff, and supporting professional development. Therefore, the resolution calls for the prioritization of ACR 73 with an urgent call for forward movement in achieving its goals.

Approved – September 20, 2013

 

 



 
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