Stimulus funds part-time jobs

Marshall Hampson

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Sacramento State plans to hire part-time faculty members using its share of the remaining $50.9 million in federal stimulus funds given to the California State University system.

There will be openings in all seven colleges and the University Library.

Vice President of Human Resources David Wagner said those hired will be temporary faculty members because the length of employment has yet to be determined. He said the university has not decided how many will be hired.

“Temporary covers faculty who can be teaching one course a year or five courses a semester,” Wagner said.

Sac State received $3.1 million of the remaining $50.9 million in federal stimulus funds that were recently released by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.

“These numbers we see are people,” Wagner said. “They represent hundreds of courses offered and thousands of students.”

Kevin Wehr, president of the Sac State chapter of the California Faculty Association, felt relieved after hearing the news.

“It’s about time. It broke my heart to see them get laid off,” Wehr said. “We could’ve had (the money) last year but the chancellor was afraid of mid-year budget cuts.”

Wagner said the application that the university posted on the Sac State weekly bulletin about openings for part-time, temporary professors has to be posted annually whether or not there are openings.

“In most instances, it will be part time faculty that has already been working with us. It really depends on what departments are offering,” Wagner said. “(Being a part-timer) is like being a permanent seasonal worker. It’s a mark of dedication if they still have the passion of teaching.”

Wagner said that they will get new hires only if there are still spots to fill that were not taken by former faculty members. Most of the positions should be filled by the beginning of summer.

In order to apply, the applicants will have to submit a personal letter and a resume to the college in which they are applying. If selected, they will then be evaluated by the dean.

The deadline for the application is Monday. Interested applicants are required to have at least a master’s degree in the field in which they’re applying.

Former government professor Steve Iverson was one of the many part-time faculty members who received a letter from Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez saying they would be laid off after fall 2009.

“I would hope that the administration would bring back the lecturers that were let go in January,” Iverson said. “If I was offered classes I would absolutely take them. I love the other faculty and I love the students here.”

Iverson said he is unemployed and has been looking for other teaching opportunities since being let go in January. He said he didn’t think the layoffs were acceptable despite the CSU system’s budget problems.

“You’d think the administration would have some sensitivity,” Iverson said. “It feels like when you’re out on your own that nobody really cares about you.”

Wehr said they will make sure the administration will follow through with the contracts with the CFA. These contracts are for ensuring tenure, academic due processes and academic freedom.

“The only thing we can do is make sure they follow the contract,” Wehr said. “The problem is that the administration doesn’t want to follow the contract all the time, whether it’s unintentional or not.”

The federal stimulus funding plan became public Feb. 9, when Gonzalez and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced what they planned to do with the money given to the university.

According to the Sac State bulletin, Gonzalez announced that building projects like the renovation of Del Norte Hall for more classrooms and funding for science equipment will also be paid for by the stimulus funds.

Wehr, however, said CFA will make sure the stimulus funds will be spent solely on instruction and classes and the whole process will be quite long if the administration doesn’t follow CFA’s contracts.

Like Wehr, Wagner wants to see the former professors come back.

“It’s a very difficult job because you’re relying on availability from semester to semester,” Wagner said.

Marshall Hampson can be reached at mhampson@statehornet.com.