The Academic Senate expressed concerns about the hiring process for the Faculty Job Fair at its regular meeting this week, arguing that new online faculty don’t have the proper expertise to teach useful courses.
Eduardo A. Cairó, President of the Academic Senate, said the lack of online teaching experience and training for new online faculty recruited at the job fair on January 18 is unfair to students. He also said the Administration broke college policy by creating its own list of faculty hiring priorities.
Matthew Jordan, Interim Associate Dean of General Education, said all faculty at PCC have to meet minimum qualifications and that the administration did not violate college policy in identifying faculty hiring priorities.
The Faculty Job Fair flyer states no online teaching experience is necessary to teach the seven online classes listed.
“It is common for 30% of online students to drop or fail a course,” Cairó said. “We can expect an increase in students receiving a non-passing grade for students who receive instructors with inadequate experience.”
Jordan said new hires must meet all minimum qualifications required of all professors to teach at Pasadena City College. The standards are the same whether they teach in the classroom or online.
Cairó said professors for the new online courses will only receive a quarter of the previous required training for online instructors before being “tossed” into an online environment and then expected to complete the training at the same time they are teaching the course.
Jordan said the seven new online courses are model courses created by other professors. The new instructors act more as facilitators of the course material and interactions with students. Their training requirements differ from that of professors who develop their own online courses.
“We have knowingly created a situation by staffing courses with undertrained instructors and…our students deserve better,” Cairó said.
At a meeting between the Academic Senate’s Faculty Hiring Priorities Committee and the President, two lists of faculty hiring priorities were presented.
The list of 11 new faculty to be hired created by the administration violated college policy, Cairó said, referring to Faculty Procedure 6100.10 (1.A.).
“The Academic Senate will form the Faculty Hiring Priorities Committee to assess and rank requests for new or replacement positions,” the procedure states.
Senator Kris Pilon said not following this policy could negatively affect the school’s accreditation review.
“Nowhere in those procedures does it state that the Administration can’t come up with a list,” Jordan said.
Jordan said the policy actually states that the president receives the Faculty Hiring Priorities Committee recommendations. If the president differs, he will meet with the committee, then act on their recommendations. He acts based on what he feels is best for the students, Jordan said.
“Although it is commendable that PCC is attempting to give more students access to necessary courses,” Cairó said, “the process by which PCC has decided to hire instructors is deeply flawed.”