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October 10, 2002

New faculty arriving at record-setting rate

Those new faces you've seen this fall are not all new students.

Many are new professors. In fact, 110 of them are new tenure-track professors, the largest class of new faculty in the University's history.

They've arrived just in time to fill big gaps left by retirements and take on a growing number of classes needed for this year's record student enrollment.

"We are experiencing, as we work together, substantive reshaping of the University through the appointment of new faculty," noted CSUS President Gerth at his annual fall address this year. He then told the new faculty what was on so many other minds: "You have no idea how welcome you are."

This year's growth in new faculty tops the increases seen in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And it is no anomaly. Large numbers of faculty have joined the University in each of the last three years.

This latest hiring blitz has been compared to the early 1960s, when the University was growing rapidly and hiring many new faculty. That group created and shaped the academic program for decades.

David Wagner, dean of faculty and staff affairs, describes the new group as having "a good mix of experience." He says they come from different backgrounds, are different ages and have different experiences, with some who completed their doctorate right away and others who are starting a second career.

Wagner says faculty hiring will probably continue at about the same rate in coming years. There will be about 110 searches next year. And if the hiring rates continue, he says, 40 percent of the full-time faculty will be untenured in just a couple years.

"All this hiring is creating an ongoing set of organizational challenges for the University - both philosophically and practically," Wagner says. "There are questions of passing on organizational values and academic culture. And there is the need to mentor all these new faculty."

Evaluation and tenure decisions alone will be time-consuming.

Already, Wagner points out, some departments have undergone major changes.

In the last few years, environmental studies and ethnic studies have hired nearly all new faculty. History has hired a number of new faculty and will be seeking four or five new hires next year. And child development, which just recently became its own department, will be seeking three new faculty next year after hiring the same number this year.


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