CSU must return to its core mission

Reducing course offerings affects faculty and students, who will graduate later as a result

The author is a Chico resident who has taught at Chico State for four years.

In May, the CN&R reported that the budget for Chico State’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts was under threat (see “Left in the dark,” Newslines, May 11). I was quoted saying that, as adjunct faculty, I feared losing my job. Last week, I, along with approximately 60 other adjunct colleagues in the college, received the news that our names were taken off the fall schedule. We will not know until mid-August how many classes we will teach or whether we will even have jobs.

Every semester, I teach almost 200 students; my general education classes are packed and I routinely turn away dozens of students who are desperate to graduate. We know that the CSU is under pressure to graduate students in four years, yet administrators seem to be unwilling to commit to adequately funding the instruction budget. Simply put, students cannot graduate unless faculty are hired to teach the necessary courses.

As far as budget expenditures go, positions like mine are a great bargain. According to 2014 data, the majority of CSU faculty make less than $40,000 a year. Most of us routinely go above and beyond our job descriptions by advising and recruiting students, participating in panels and workshops, and developing new curricula. We are indispensable members of our departments and we bring tremendous value to this university at a bargain price.

Where is the money going? The latest state audit of the CSU offers some clues: Over the past decade, the CSU has hired new managers at more than double the rate of other employees. Not only that, but manager salaries grew at nearly double the rate of faculty and staff. Budgets are complicated, but they send powerful messages about values. The message I hear loud and clear is, “You and your colleagues don’t matter; students’ education and success don’t matter.”

The silver lining is that the CSU’s tilt toward administration is only a recent trend—a trend that can be reversed if we, the people, demand that our university return to its core mission of educating California, by investing in teaching and supporting those who are instrumental to students’ success.