2009/10 Support Budget II

Additional Challenges

Increasing the Ratio of Tenure-Track Faculty, $42 Million

For several years, the CSU has been faced with enrollment challenges that significantly exceeded enrollment growth funding provided by the state. To accommodate this student demand for access, campuses have employed a number of faculty members on a one-time and temporary basis to enroll as many students as reasonably possible while maintaining the quality and integrity of CSU academic programs. Hiring temporary faculty to address undergraduate course demand and increasing admissions of first-time freshmen as a proportionate share of new enrollment growth has helped the CSU manage this increased enrollment.

In May 2001, the state legislature identified this reliance on temporary faculty, as opposed to permanent (tenured and tenure-track) faculty, in institutions of higher education to assist with meeting the challenge of student access demand (ACR 73). ACR 73 identified serious concern within the legislature and at the CSU over the increasing reliance on temporary faculty, as opposed to permanent (tenured and tenure-track) faculty, in institutions of higher education. There is growing alarm that recent hiring trends in higher education, necessitated by recovery from prior-year budget deficiencies, competitive salary lags, increasing student demand, and limited enrollment growth funding support, upsets an appropriate balance between tenured/tenure-track faculty and lecturer faculty. The trend is important because tenured and tenure-track faculty bear the primary responsibility for student advising, program development and revision, and participation in shared governance. When the proportion of tenured/tenure-track faculty declines within the CSU, the quality of these efforts also wanes.

In furtherance of these and other efforts, as well as the continuing concerns raised by the legislature in 2001, the 2009/10 CSU budget plan includes a request for $42 million to implement the first phase of the eight-year comprehensive effort to increase the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Improved Current Employees Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Ratio $12,320,000
Increase Percentage of Tenured/Tenured-Track Faculty $9,957,000
First-Year Cost to Improve CSU Student Faculty Ratio to 18:1 $19,675,000
Total $41,952,000

The CSU’s most recently available data indicate that lecturers make up more than one-third of the total full-time equivalent faculty (FTEF) positions in the system. Lecturers account for a smaller percentage of the total FTEF because the CSU employs most lecturers on a part-time basis. Lecturers made up 27.7 percent of the faculty FTEF in 1984. By fall 2004, lecturers had grown to represent 34 percent of the total FTEF. Despite CSU efforts and adoption of ACR 73, state budget reductions, and unfunded enrollment demand have resulted in an increase in the number of lecturers to approximately 37 percent of CSU full-time equivalent faculty.

The data clearly indicate that the number of CSU lecturers has grown significantly over the last two decades, whereas the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty has remained nearly constant. It is estimated that lecturers now deliver over one-half of all the instruction (in terms of student credit units earned) offered by the CSU. Lecturers are dedicated professionals and skilled teachers who offer expert instruction and have proven their abilities through years of service to CSU students. However, the CSU implementation working group recognized that 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. These concerns grow more acute as the proportion of lecturers employed by the CSU rises. The CSU’s goal is to achieve a proportion of 75 percent full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty over eight years without jeopardizing the employment status of current lecturers. The CSU anticipates that many of the lecturers currently employed will apply for and possess the qualifications to compete successfully in the national searches conducted by the CSU. Even if this did not happen, the decline in lecturer FTEF can be accommodated by attrition and will not require layoffs.

Given the difficulty of attracting new faculty to CSU campuses in many parts of the state, the eight-year plan was believed to be challenging, but achievable. It identified the need to conduct from 1,800 to 2,000 faculty searches per year over the eight-year period. With adequate funding, the plan was structured to achieve an annual increase of 1.5 percent in the tenured/tenure-track faculty percentage and an annual decrease in the student faculty ratio (SFR) of approximately 0.15 per year.