Administration is discussing increasing tenure faculty to 75 percent in order to promote faculty commitment to Cal Poly.
Though Cal Poly has one of the highest tenure-line, or full-time, faculty out of the California State Universities (CSU), at approximately 50 percent, the hiring of tenure-line faculty has decreased since 2010, according to Faculty Rights Chair for California Faculty Association (CFA) Jere Ramsey.
The CSU recently sent out documents outlining systemwide goals including hiring more tenure-line faculty, according to Associate Vice Provost Albert Liddicoat.
“We want to make sure we have permanent faculty to do all the things the university values and help us with our Learn by Doing education,” Liddicoat said.
According to political science associate professor Matthew Moore, it is not a lecturer’s job to work with students to advise them or help them with their projects, tenure-line faculty are supposed to work closely with students. If Cal Poly values those roles, then it needs as many tenure-line faculty it can afford, Moore said.
According to Ramsey, Cal Poly can afford more tenure-line faculty, but is choosing to save money by hiring lecturers and then spend the rest on administrators.
“What has been going on at Cal Poly is they have been decreasing tenure-line faculty since 2010 because that way they save money which they then spend on administrators,” Ramsey said.
Though CSUs are not getting funding to accomplish the goal of hiring more tenure-line faculty, each campus president is encouraged to take these goals into consideration and decide what’s best for the university, according to Liddicoat.
College of Liberal Arts Dean Epperson said there’s a lot of reasons to support tenure-line faculty.
“Tenure-line positions are more favorable to faculty generally. Increasing line nationally is a good idea because it creates more desirable positions for faculty to take,” Epperson said.
According to Moore, lecturers do a great job, but at Cal Poly and across the country they are not paid enough for the work they do. If Cal Poly wants there to be future professors, there needs there to be jobs for them, which is one of the reasons to have more tenure-line faculty, according to Moore.
“I retired as a lecturer — this is not an insult to lecturers — but lecturers are in many cases temporary employees and aren’t paid to help with faculty governance on campus,” Ramsey said. “(Tenure-line faculty) can, from their position of job security, they can help govern and stand up to administrators that at risk employees like lecturers cannot do.”
Epperson also said lecturers may take teaching jobs at other schools to piece together a full-time job while tenure-line faculty are hired full-time for the university, which generally makes them more committed to the university.
“The driving reason (to increase tenure-line faculty) is it’s just the right thing to do for our faculty, for our students and for the institution,” Epperson said.