College leaves spots unfilled

At a time when two departments are losing their sole full-time professors to retirement, DVC President Judy Walters has authorized some limited hiring for the 2010-11 school year.

However, hiring will not occur until January 2011.

In an April 16 e-mail to the DVC community, Walters announced her approval for filling six of 12 faculty positions left vacant because of retirements at the end of this semester.

She said three of the six were already taken, one by an administrator, social science dean Lyndon Krause, who got a “pink slip” in March and has return rights to the classroom.

The other two, Walters said, are faculty members whose positions were shifted to the general fund budget after their special “categorical” funding was slashed by the state.

The remaining six vacant positions will be used to permanently fill a $4.8 million budget gap for next year, Walters said.

Faculty Senate President Laurie Lema took issue with Walters’ decision to curtail hiring replacements for retiring faculty members, since the positions were already in the budget.

“When resources are limited, it’s even more crucial that the cuts are far away from classrooms,” Lema said. “We don’t agree that cutting full-time positions is making cuts as far away from classrooms as possible.”

A small committee of faculty and managers, known as Box2A will decide the three positions to be filled during its meeting next month.

Lema said the decision will be based on departments’ program reviews, their full-time to part-time employee ratio, whether the retiring instructor is the department head, if special expertise is required for the program and whether
it is growing or shrinking.

Once a decision is reached, hiring for spring 2011 will take place fall semester.

Vice President of Instruction Susan Lamb acknowledged the tight timeline.

“Because this is so late, we will run into some difficulties but we will try to overcome [them],” she said.

The upcoming retirements of Tom Chatagnier and Jean Dickinson leave their departments, electronics and journalism respectively, without a full-time instructor/ department chair.

Chatagnier could not be reached for comment by the Inquirer’s press deadline

Dickinson said a part-time instructor cannot receive stipends or release time for taking on the duties of department chair, which have increased significantly in recent years. A part-timer would also not be paid for the many hours involved in advising the student newspaper.

“The Inquirer has always played a vital role in providing the campus with news,” she said. “It has outstanding former graduates as nearby as the Contra Costa Times and as far away as Baghdad and Kabul.”

Filling the position is crucial, said former Inquirer adviser Barbara Sawyer, partly because faculty adviser to the Inquirer is a unique job.  

“It’s late nights, deadlines, unpaid hours … I just don’t think it’s fair to expect a part-timer to follow that kind of a schedule.”

Contact Oksana Yurovsky at [email protected]