Campus: San Francisco State University -- August 30, 2002

Funding for Year-Round Operations Devoted to Increasing the Number of Tenure-Track Faculty

San Francisco State University is adding 80 new tenure-track faculty positions over the next three years, the largest number of new faculty positions in decades. The hiring program, which was created by allocating over $4 million from money received for year-round operations, will increase the number of SFSU faculty members by 10 percent and decrease the percentage of courses taught by lecturers. The new faculty positions will augment the existing practice of hiring scholars to replace retiring faculty.

Universities across the country have been criticized in recent years for their increasing reliance on lecturers to teach undergraduate courses instead of tenure-track and tenured faculty members.

"This was a dramatic, strategic move on the part of the University," said John Gemello, interim vice president for academic affairs. "These new faculty positions will allow academic departments to either fill existing curricular needs or to attract faculty with academic specialties that are new to the department."

California State University (CSU) campuses are working under a state of California mandate to move to year round operations by offering a state-supported summer semester with expanded course offerings.

When SFSU received the funds last year from the CSU Chancellor's Office to offer year-round operations, Gemello, then associate vice president for academic resources, and Thomas LaBelle, former vice president for academic affairs, suggested that the University devote all of these funds to hiring new tenure-track faculty. President Robert A. Corrigan agreed with the plan, and academic departments were asked to send in their wish lists.

"These new faculty positions are an immensely valuable addition to our campus," said President Corrigan. "It is tenure-track faculty who drive curricular and disciplinary change, guiding the academic program. It's especially gratifying to know that these new faculty hires will help many departments round out their areas of expertise, allowing the University to offer more depth and a broader range of study and scholarship to our students."

The year-round operations program increases the amount of money San Francisco State receives from the state of California because the number of summer students are now combined with the fall and spring students in the enrollment pool that determines the University's funding level. Before year-round operations, all summer courses, including those that could be applied toward a degree, were offered through the University's College of Extended Learning, which is supported solely by student fees. The University received no state funding for these summer students.

Each of SFSU's eight colleges received at least one new faculty position as did most individual departments in the larger colleges, thanks to the hiring program. Two of the University's most popular majors-management and cinema-received the largest faculty windfall, five and three respectively. The added course sections the new faculty will teach will allow students to finish their degrees at a faster pace.

In addition, five of the 80 new positions have been allocated for faculty with expertise in Islamic Studies. When those specialists are in place, the University will explore creating an Islamic Studies program, and perhaps even offer a minor degree in the field.

"With this tenure-track initiative of hiring a cluster of faculty experts in Islamic Studies, SFSU will go from a deficiency to a strength concerning this important area of the world and religion," said Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. "We plan to convene the newly hired faculty of 2002 and 2003 and explore with them how their expertise can be best conveyed curricularly to our students so that they, and the entire Bay Area community, can benefit educationally from their presence."

Of the 80 positions, 28 were allocated for fall 2002, 15 of which have already been filled. An additional 34 positions for fall 2003 were authorized last May so that departments could get a jump on the academic hiring season. The University will allocate the remaining 18 positions by spring 2003, and all of the new faculty members are expected to be on board by fall 2004.

CONTACT: Ligeia Polidora, SFSU Office of Public Affairs (415) 338-3053, (415) 338-1665


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