After hearing 22 proposals for faculty positions from 17 different departments the Academic Senate made their rankings which will be submitted to Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami before he makes his final decision before the College Planning Council next week.
The senate also drafted a statement to be passed on to Goswami requesting that the number of faculty to be hired or replaced for next fall not be limited to two positions, based on the need presented in proposals over the past two meetings.
The senate’s rankings placed nursing and medical imaging at first and second, with the journalism department’s request to replace department Chair Patricia Stark ranked third.
The Channels reported that only two positions are expected to be confirmed, due to downsizing and proposed cuts in Goswami’s two-year plan to balance the budget and a $4.9 million deficit.
If no new positions are added, only the two top-ranked requests will be filled, which could affect or alter departments that have been with the college for decades.
“There have been studies that have shown that cities that lose their local newspapers suffer an increase in property tax because there aren’t journalists to keep politicians in check. It’s hard to imagine a school without a school newspaper,” said Senator Robbie Fischer.
HIT/CIM, biological sciences, English, business administration, chemistry, art history and computer science round out the top 10, some of which may be filled by adding more positions or reallocating funds from grants or other sources.
Proposals from academic counseling, computer information technologies, DSPS, student health & wellness, American ethnic studies, additional requests from HIT/CIM and nursing, as well as theater arts and music will not be filled for 2021.
The senate has had many discussions over the need for more hires, as many departments said they are already understaffed and their employees overworked, along with the fact that certain positions are not able to be filled by part-time or adjunct instructors.
It should be noted that student health & wellness, nursing, and DSPS are in a separate section from other rankings because the position being requested for student health & wellness will most likely be converted to an administrative role. A grant from Santa Barbara Cottage hospital will supplement one of the requested positions from nursing.
Hiring an additional counselor for DSPS is possible without taking another place in the rankings because DSPS receives 80% from categorical funding, which comes from the state or federal government to qualifying schools or districts “for specific children with special needs, certain programs, or special purposes such as transportation,” according to EdSource.
The senate reviewed the Deans’ suggestions for how student health & wellness, nursing, and DSPS will be able to have those roles filled through alternative means.
The senate stressed during discussion that it does not agree with the idea of hiring only two full-time faculty members when so many departments are in jeopardy of either accreditation failure, lack of student success, or both.
Senator Patricia Stark motioned for a statement to be read to Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami saying, “After spending two entire meetings hearing presentations from department chairs, the Academic senate respectfully requests that the number of faculty members to be hired or replaced for Fall 2021 not be restricted to only two. We do not suggest a specific number, yet we believe demonstrated need justifies hiring more faculty members.”
The senate voted to approve the statement, and President Raeanne Napoleon will have a conversation with Goswami before he makes his final announcement at the College Planning Council on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The Academic Senate will reconvene on Nov. 4 to discuss the budget crisis in a meeting that was added during Wednesday’s meeting.