Increased enrollment opens 14 faculty positons

CLU is currently hiring additional faculty in order to accommodate its increased student enrollment and replace departing professors.

California Lutheran University’s hiring process is a yearlong, layered evaluation process that involves gathering and reviewing résumés and interviewing candidates.

“I think it’s one of the most important things we do, because really it’s shaping the future of Cal Lutheran,” said Leanne Neilson, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “The people that we hire are the ones who are the foundation for who we are.”

Seven of the 14 available positions are to replace faculty members who have either retired or left to go elsewhere. The other seven are new positions that the university has provided funding for based on increased enrollments, according to Neilson.

Each department creates a search committee that is usually led by the department chair and must include two faculty members from a different department. This committee sends out a nationwide advertisement for the position in September and October. As the applications come in, the committee reviews and narrows down the candidates to eight to 10 for reference checks and phone interviews around November and December. The phone interviews then allow the committee to select the top three candidates to bring to campus for interviews in January and February.

This timeline is common among all universities in order to prepare for the upcoming school year and allow for continuing faculty to sign their contracts in late spring.

The biology, chemistry, communication, English, marketing, psychology and theater arts departments are all looking for faculty members for their undergraduate programs. The Schools of Education and Psychology are also looking for faculty to expand their graduate programs.

Despite the growth in a few subject areas, space limitations have put restraints on undergraduate expansion because most of those classes are during the daytime. Night classes, typical of the ADEP and graduate programs, offer plenty of unused space for new classes and students.

“We are planning a lot more growth in our graduate programs and in our adult bachelor’s program, the ADEP program,” said Neilson.

With the chemistry department currently looking for a fourth full time faculty member, department chair Kristine Butcher, a 24-year CLU faculty member, says CLU provides a unique teaching environment.

“You have a lot of freedom to do things that you might not have even at a bigger undergraduate institution,” said Butcher. “The way you structure the course, what you decided to emphasize, if you want to create new classes. We have a little bit of less red tape, I think, then a lot of places.”

Faculty members have the opportunity to engage with their students through personal interaction and mentorship, according to both Butcher and Charles Maxey, dean of the School of Management and professor of business administration.

“The big part of the culture here is that we want faculty here who are generally caring about student development,” said Maxey. “We talk more these days consciously about educating a whole person, meaning you do your academic work and you learn mastery and competence in those areas, but you may also be a student athlete, you may also be involved in activities. So you’re learning about all of these other things.”

Mackenzie Gerber, a junior and marketing communication major, realizes the quality of education she receives from the CLU professors is a testament to the university’s hiring process.

“I feel like we have a lot of well-educated staff who have field experience,” said Gerber. “And most of the classes and their lectures relate back to experience, which helps with learning concepts.”

For more information about faculty hiring and university growth, contact academic affairs at 805-493-3145.

 

Ashley Adelman
Staff Writer
Published Feb. 13, 2013