SSU ready for faculty hiring spree
Influx of cash from Gov. Brown opens door for additional staff
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By Natalie Gray  July 4, 2014 12:00 am

Sonoma State University President Ruben Arminana on June 27 announced the university plans to hire a minimum of 45 new permanent faculty members in the next three years. According to school officials, the change is hoped to set the school on a track that will lead to a more successful graduation rate for its students.

“We will be placing them (the new faculty) in departments where there is an overriding need and where the classes are bottlenecked,” said Andrew Rogerson, SSU provost and vice president of academic affairs.  “This is definitely good news.”

The ability to hire the new professors comes from the recent budget offer of $142 million from Governor Jerry Brown to the California State University System. According to Rogerson, how that money will be split and which programs and departments it will help fund are in CSU Chancellor Timothy White’s control, and such decisions remain to be determined. Rogerson did state that one such spending pocket has been chosen – enrollment growth.

“We have a record 9,200 students enrolled for this fall,” said Rogerson. “That’s the highest we’ve ever had.” 

Rogerson stated the chancellor has also expressed goals to assist the CSU system with increasing numbers of faculty and courses offered to students and increasing the number of academic advisors. 

These changes are all planned with the goal of increasing the number of graduation-success rates in the CSU system, as well as increasing the number of graduates that find jobs and careers post graduation. It is also hoped that the expected average number of years it takes a student to graduate will be shortened from six to four with the changes.

“Success rates of university-graduation rates are not stellar,” said Rogerson, speaking of all 23 campuses in the CSU system. “It’s 56 percent in six years. The central government is very aware of this now. The main stress of the chancellor is to improve graduation rates.

There is also hope the budget money will be dedicated to help close the $1.7 million deficit in SSU’s Academic Affairs Division. According to Rogerson, the department in question handles the money the university must find every year to cover basic “costs of doing business.” Each year, the department is given an allocation to run everything university-related, and almost every year, that allocation falls at least $1.5 million short. Rogerson said the university has the money, it just has to be pulled from other departments. Should the Academic Affairs Division be given money from the budget to help close that deficit, it would mean more money could remain in other departments and, ideally, also aid students get into the classes they need to graduate on time. 

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