Help wanted – Sierra College begins recruiting push for instructors
One week ago, Neal Allbee was still searching to fill classroom positions in advance of the spring semester.
And as classes resumed at Sierra College’s Nevada County Campus after a long winter break Monday, Allbee’s task was nearly complete.
Save for one anthropology lab class, the campus’ dean of instruction had succeeded in staffing all of the school’s hundreds of class sections with qualified instructors.
In the future, Allbee and Sierra College administrators hope they’ll have plenty of candidates to choose from before each semester instead of searching at the last minute.
The college system last week mailed out 4,000 letters to those in Nevada, Placer and Sacramento counties with master’s degrees, encouraging them to submit resumes in advance of future job openings.
The hope, Allbee and Nevada County Campus administrators said, is to avoid any situation where students have see their classes canceled for lack of a qualified instructor to teach them.
“Any time we have to cancel even one course, it’s a major impact on our institution,” he said. “We need to be able to increase the number of full- (and part-time) faculty.”
The Nevada County Campus employs as many as 160 instructors during any given semester, Allbee said. Of those, 15 full-time faculty members split their time between the Grass Valley and main Rocklin campus. Of those 15, seven are assigned to full-time teaching or counseling responsibilities at the Nevada County Campus.
The drive to recruit instructors can be a daunting one, Allbee said. While most of those who teach at the Nevada County campus come from Nevada or Placer counties, some, such as the anthropology instructor from Elk Grove who couldn’t teach this semester, travel over an hour each way to teach as little as one class section.
Part-time faculty are forbidden from teaching more than 60 percent of a full-time load of 15 units.
Many of the instructors at the Nevada County campus also teach at neighboring colleges, such as Yuba College or at the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento, which can infringe on their time, as well.
Allbee said he wants to eliminate the mystifying “staff” notation in the handbook, where students sign up for classes that have not yet been assigned to teachers.
“If there’s an instructor named, I think the students feel more committed that the class will be there when the semester starts,” he said.
The Nevada County Campus enrolls 500 full-time students, and Provost Tina Ludutsky-Taylor said she expects that number to top 600 by the time registration ends Feb. 4.
Approximately 3,000 students are scheduled to take at least one class this semester, she said, many during business hours.
“I hope we can have faculty during the daytime and offer more class sections,” she said.
Students interviewed Monday were eager to begin new academic challenges.
“I feel inspired and motivated to do well,” said Nevada City resident Michael Clemens, 24, who is taking music appreciation classes this semester. “This is a great place to come in and take advantage of some cool classes.”
Bookstore clerk Lillian Howard’s biggest problem Monday? Students bringing in checks issued by their parents without authorization.
“We’ve been busy and the students have been marvelous,” Howard said.
Stefanie Brasher, 27, of Grass Valley, is taking nine units, including astronomy this semester. All of her classes were offered online or via television, thus cutting down the need for a full-time instructor.
“It’s very comfortable,” said the business major of her academic setup. Astronomy will be her favorite class this semester, she said.
“It helps me get my mind off the business world and into the sky.”
Where they’re from
For the fall 2004 semester, Nevada County Campus Dean of Instruction Neal Allbee compiled a database of where the the Nevada County Campus instructors lived. Following is the breakdown by county:
• Nevada County: 86 instructors (60 percent of Nevada County Campus professors)
• Placer County: 32 instructors (22 percent)
• Sacramento County: 11 instructors (7.8 percent)
• Yuba County: 8 instructors (5.5 percent)
To apply for a teaching job at Sierra College, visit http://www.sierracollege.edu, or call the Nevada County Campus at 274-5301.
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