Academic Senate hears requests for 22 faculty, only two available

Academic+Senate+hears+requests+for+22+faculty%2C+only+two+available

Rodrigo Hernandez, News Editor

The Academic Senate heard the final faculty proposals from eight departments at its last meeting before sending its rankings to Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami. 

Departments that presented included art, medical imaging science, student health & wellness, theatre arts, HIT/CIM (health information technology and cancer information management), journalism, biological sciences, and chemistry. 

Representatives from each department stated their cases for faculty positions, some of which became vacant after faculty took advantage of the SERP early retirement program. The Channels reported that only two out of the 22 positions will be filled from the 17 departments requesting them. 

Some of the programs require a minimum number of faculty in order to be accredited—such as nursing and HIT/CIM. 

HIT Department Chair Shawna Sweeney requested two positions after former faculty member Lynette Williamson resigned in July 2019 and the current HIT program director Janet Robertson announced her plans to retire in July 2021. 

A common thread among the departments’ proposals was the assertion that requested positions could not be filled by adjuncts. They said they needed full-time faculty members with skills tailored to their classes’ specific needs.

The journalism department will lose its only full-time faculty when Department Chair Patricia Stark retires next spring. 

Stark’s proposal stated that “by not replacing this position, the college will lose 100% of the department’s full-time faculty, which would create a constellation of problems and unintended consequences.”

She said a replacement would need to have journalistic expertise for representing student’s voices when facing censorship threats and legal retaliation—along with the full-time workload that comes along with the position—something that cannot be achieved by adjunct faculty or program modifications.

“I am trying to make the case that without my position being replaced, the journalism department will face immediate program modification and eventual discontinuance,” she said. “This would be an irredeemable loss to our college.”

Theatre arts co-chairs Katie Laris and Patricia Frank presented a proposal with a similar request, and a position that cannot be easily taken over by a part-time or adjunct replacement.

“Because of the workload described above, this is a position that needs to be a full-time position,” Laris said. “In Santa Barbara there are not qualified teachers that can fill this role.”

The departments will learn the superintendent-president’s approved positions at the College Planning Council on Nov. 3, but with Goswami’s two year plan including budget cuts in order to balance a $4.9 million deficit, it is unlikely that more than two faculty positions will be filled.

The Academic Senate will reconvene on Oct. 28.