District responds to Advocate letter on failure to give fair treatment to current part-time faculty in hiring for full-time positions
by Barbara Christensen, SMCCCD Director of Community/Government Relations
The Advocate published a letter [“Full-time position open: In-house adjuncts need not apply” in May 2014 issue] written by an adjunct faculty member who was bitterly disappointed because she was not offered an interview for a full time position at Skyline College. This faculty member stated that it is “unfair and inequitable not to seriously consider our own before hiring an unknown faculty member.”
First, I would like to point out that the hiring process for faculty is faculty driven; there are usually four or more faculty members and one dean on the committee that selects those to be interviewed and chooses the finalists to be forwarded to the hiring manager. Each of these committees is trained to and does seriously consider each applicant, granting interviews to those deemed to be the best qualified to join the faculty as a full time professor. The number of applicants for these positions is often well over 100, reflecting the extremely competitive applicant pool for these highly sought after positions at the District’s Colleges.
Second, Title 5 of the Education Code mandates that the District cast as wide a net as possible for candidates when filling vacancies. Therefore, a policy that would guarantee a limited number of interview slots to selected applicants would violate the spirit, if not the explicit prohibitions, of Title 5.
The District’s track record in hiring adjuncts is strong. In 2013-14, 70% of faculty hires came from adjunct faculty within our District. The percentages for 2012-13, 2011-12, 2010-11 and 2009-10 are 41%, 64%, 73% and 100% respectively. (In ’09-’10, the one faculty hire came from the adjunct ranks.) Finally, I would like to note that every year many of our adjuncts are hired into tenure-track positions for other Districts and our District hires adjuncts from other Districts as well.
The District’s goal has always been to hire the very best candidate for each vacant position and I believe we have been fortunate to have hired very talented faculty members over the past several years.