CSU hiring more faculty to handle growing enrollment

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The California State University system plans on hiring hundreds of new, full time faculty members in order to handle growing enrollment. (KGO)

Students throughout the Cal State system are hoping they'll soon find it easier to get into the classes they want because the university system has announced that it's going on a faculty hiring binge.

It is especially good news in light of the fact that CSU is facing a record number of undergraduate applicants in the fall -- 760,000, which is the highest ever.

"I felt for many years we were in a crisis state in the California State University system in terms of hiring tenured faculty," said Professor John Engell, head of San Jose State University's Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Student enrollment at CSU campuses has skyrocketed from 362,000 students two decades ago to 446,000 last year. But the number of full time faculty has dropped by 900 professors in just the past five years.

Two thirds of Prof. Engell's faculty are lecturers and not full time professors. He says that leaves a void.

"Tenured line faculty are not only essential to teach students, but to advise them, to assist then in a variety of ways outside of classes," he said.

Something Engell says lecturers aren't paid to do.

Proposition 30, which was passed by voters two years ago, is providing much of the funding for the hiring wave. San Jose State will get some of that windfall.

"What that has meant for San Jose State is that we expect to welcome about 26 new faculty members this fall and we're going to go out and try to hire 60 for 2015," said SJSU spokesperson Pat Lopez Harris.

Students have felt the brunt of the faculty shortage. For many, it's meant not being able to get the required credits to graduate on time. Jasmine Arellano will be a senior in the fall.

"We can't really get the classes that we need so we sometimes, so we all sometimes fall back and wonder if we'll graduate in the four years or not," she said.

There may be more good news for the California State University system if Governor Jerry Brown gets his way. He wants to give an additional $142 million for Cal State campuses in his new budget proposal.
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