Academic Senate

The Continuing Need to Hire More Faculty

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Kevin Baaske (CSU Los Angeles)
Chair, 2012-2013 Faculty Affairs Committee

Each spring on campuses throughout the California State University system, we learn of faculty leaving our ranks.  Some faculty leave because they have completed their participation in the Faculty Early Retirement Program, some of chosen to retire, and others have taken positions elsewhere.  We thank such colleagues for what they have contributed to our institutions and wish them well.  Each fall we welcome new colleagues to our campuses.  Unfortunately, in recent years we have been losing more tenured and probationary faculty than we have been hiring.  Dr. Margaret Merrifield, Senior Director of Academic Human Resources at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, shared with the Academic Senate CSU at its May 2013 meeting that last year approximately 500 such faculty members departed the CSU and only about 400 were hired.  The decline in the number of tenured/tenure-track faculty continues a long trend in the CSU and is contrary to the commitments made by the CSU.i

In 2001, the state legislature passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 73.  This resolution called for the CSU, the ASCSU and the California Faculty Association jointly to develop a plan that, in part, would raise the level of tenured and tenure-track faculty to 75% of the instructional faculty.  Nine months later, leaders of these three bodies all signed a memo committing to achieve the goals of ACR 73.  Attached to this memo was a report noting that while headcount of tenured and tenure-track faculty had remained fairly constant from 1984 until 2001, there had been a significant increase in the number of lecturers.  In 1984, 27.7 percent of the faculty were lecturers.  By 2001, that number had increased to 36.2 percent.  The report acknowledged the many valuable contributions to the CSU mission made by lecturers, but argued that the “trend is important because tenured and tenure-track faculty bear the primary responsibility for student advising, program development and revision, and participation in shared governance. When their proportions decline, the quality of these efforts also wanes.”ii

In developing its strategic plan, Access to Excellence, in 2008, the CSU again recognized the need to expand the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty and committed to “develop a comprehensive plan for reinvestment in its faculty to meet its goals of reducing compensation gaps and increasing the number of tenure-track faculty.”  The plan explains this commitment this way:

The pattern across American higher education and within the CSU in the last decade has been to shift reliance for instruction onto non-tenure-track faculty. In the CSU, such faculty have represented more than half of the teaching force since 1999. The current proportion is approximately two-thirds of the total faculty.13  This is a worrisome situation because of the potential for erosion of quality and diminishing of intellectual independence that is associated with tenure.” 

13Cited figures are “head count,” and not “full time-equivalent” faculty. In terms of full-time equivalent, non-tenure/tenure track faculty represent about one-third of CSU faculty.iii

This past fall, 60.6 percent of the FTEF in the CSU were tenured or on a tenure-track appointment.  It was 63.8 percent in 2001.  The number of FTE tenured/tenure-track faculty has declined by 4 percent since 2001 (from 10,029 to 9,656).  There has been a simultaneous increase in the number of students taught in the CSU from 271,774 Full Time Equivalent Students in 2001 iv to 354,286 in
2012 v.  That is an increase of 30 percent.  How has the CSU been able to teach so many more students with a declining number of permanent faculty?  Not surprisingly, the answer is through larger classes and a 10 percent increase in the number of lecturers (from 5,693 in 2001 to 6,274 in 2012).

These changes mean that the average faculty member now has many more students to advise, counsel, nurture, and support.  The ratio of FTES to FTE tenured and tenure-track faculty was 27.10 to one in 2001, but there are now 36.69 students for every permanent faculty member.  That is a 35 percent increase. The increase in the number of lecturers also requires greater time spent hiring, supervising and observing lecturers by department chairs and tenured/tenure-track faculty. It is little wonder that many permanent faculty feel overwhelmed.

Next fall, when 2014-2015 budget requests for the CSU are being developed, the Faculty Affairs Committee intends to offer a resolution addressing this situation and calling for a greater system-wide commitment to the hiring of tenured and tenure-track faculty.

CSU-Based Permanent Faculty Numbers
Kevin Baaske - May 28, 2013

Percent change
Full-time Equivalent tenured/tenure-track faculty




Full-Time Equivalent Students




Full-time Equivalent lecturer faculty




Student to Faculty Ratio with “F” = tenured/tenure-track

271,774 divided by 10,029 = 27.10 per permanent faculty member

354,287 divided by 9,656 = 36.69 per permanent faculty member

35% increase

iFor system-wide data from 1990 to 2011, see Faculty Historical Employment Data . Data for 2012 was provided to the Faculty Affairs Committee by Dr. Margaret Merrifield on May 15, 2013.

iiResponse to ACR 73 (Strom-Martin): A Plan to Increase the Percentage of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty in the California State University, 2002.

iiiAccess to Excellence: A Strategic Plan for the California State University, 2008.

ivAnalytic Studies CSU Fall Term Enrollment Summary, Fall 2001 Profile, Table 3.

vAnalytic Studies CSU Fall Term Enrollment Summary, Fall 2012, Table 15.