27 positions remain open amid university-wide hiring spree

Emilee Fine, Reporter

California Lutheran University is currently understaffed in several departments, and is presented with an opportunity to hire 27 available positions.  

In an in-person interview, Provost Dr. Leanne Neilson said that COVID-19 budget restrictions and retiring staff members led to vacant spots not getting filled. Neilson explained that there is a search committee who begins looking for new hires at the start of the fall semester. 

“We [at Cal Lutheran University] advertises, narrows down the application, does phone interviews, narrows down the applications even more, does campus interviews, and then usually brings 3 finalists for each position,” Neilson said. The three finalists have from December too February to come in. Offers aren’t made and accepted until February and March for next fall, so it takes a whole year to start the search and actually fill it.

This long search season allows Cal Lutheran University to ensure that they are bringing staff members who represent the proper beliefs and structure for their students.

In terms of finding new faculty to fill the positions, Neilson said, “we [at Cal Lutheran University] have been very successful. [For] some searches we receive over 100 applications, so there is a lot of interest in coming to Cal Lutheran.” Since the search and hiring process takes a year to conduct, Neilson said that Cal Lutheran hopes to have all 27 positions filled by the start of next fall. 

In a phone interview, Professor of the Political Science Department Haco Hoang said they are down 2 people due to a retirement and a replacement line this year. She’s overseeing the search for both of these positions in this department.

“The department has had a search and I have chaired every one of them the last three years in a row because we would hire someone then they would leave, then I had to hire a visiting-so this is the third year in a row in our department,” Hoang said. Fortunately they’ve had full pools of diverse applicants.

California Lutheran University values a professor “who is committed to teaching because in order to be successful at CLU you have to be happy and committed to teaching and mentoring students. So someone who has the potential or has shown the ability of teaching and mentoring students,”

In a phone interview, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Jessica L. Lavariega-Monforti said “[that her] role is to oversee all the searches that are taking place, specifically in the college of arts and sciences. Which I believe is 11 or 12 at this point. So that means I am in contact with the search committee chairs and the search committee themselves. I also have a role in interviewing the finalists who have applied for the position.”

Lavariega-Monforti said that Cal Lutheran hiring so many positions is a bold move, but it is a good move.

“Cal Lutheran is hiring both new PHDs and professors who have worked in other institutions. It is also really wonderful to have someone come to your institution with fresh eyes to see our curriculum and our students through a different lens, Lavariega-Monforti said. 

Cal Lutheran offers health and wellness benefits for their faculty that are important when potential employees are looking for a job.

“Our benefits are very good here at Cal Lutheran.” Neilson said.

According to the Cal Lutheran Human Resources Website  those benefits include medical, dental, vision, retirement benefits, long term disability insurance, and an employee assistance program.  Faculty also receives funding to travel to conferences every year to further their education and curriculum.