The California State University

Office of the Chancellor

Academic Senate, CSU

California Faculty Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response to ACR 73 (Strom-Martin)

 

 

 

A Plan to Increase the Percentage of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

in the California State University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2002

 


 

 

 

A Plan to Increase

the percentage of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

in the California State University

 

 

Executive Summary

In response to ACR 73 (Strom-Martin) the Academic Senate, CSU; the California Faculty Association; and the Office of the Chancellor, CSU, submit this plan to increase the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty in the California State University. The plan contains the following features:

1.     A ratio of 75 percent tenured and tenure-track faculty to 25 percent lecturer faculty, measured in terms of Full-Time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF) can be achieved incrementally over an eight-year period of time.

2.     Achieving this goal is the joint responsibility of the CSU administration, the CSU faculty, and the state.

3.     To achieve this goal, the CSU must conduct between 1,800 and 2,000 annual searches for new tenure-track faculty.

4.     To insure that these searches yield new hires from a static national hiring pool at the current CSU success rate of 75 percent, the state must provide expanded funding for recruitment and hiring. The CSU must broaden its success at the top of the pool, not deepen its penetration into the middle of the pool if it is to maintain educational quality.

5.     To attract and retain the best faculty, the state must provide compensation funding for new positions at least equivalent to the average of current CSU employment offers. These new positions are necessary to achieve the goal of 75 percent tenured and tenure-track faculty without jeopardizing the employment status of current lecturers.

6.     Annual funding requirements for this plan range from $4.8M to $35.6M.

 

I. Introduction

In the California State University (CSU) and across the country, there is serious concern about the increasing numbers of temporary faculty, as opposed to permanent (tenured and tenure-track) faculty, in institutions of higher education. There is growing alarm that recent hiring trends in higher education, necessitated by budget deficiencies, have upset the appropriate balance between tenured/tenure-track faculty and lecturer faculty. The trend is important because tenured and tenure-track faculty bear the primary responsibility for student advising, program development and revision, and participation in shared governance. When their proportions decline, the quality of these efforts also wanes.

 

In California, the growing concern over the diminished proportion of permanent faculty culminated with the passage of Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 73 (Strom-Martin) in Fall 2001. ACR 73 urged the CSU, the CSU Academic Senate, and the California Faculty Association to jointly develop a plan to raise the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty in the CSU to at least 75 percent.

 

To meet the objectives of ACR 73, the parties established a working group, which examined recent trends in the CSUÕs use of temporary faculty (referred to as lecturers in the CSU) and developed a comprehensive plan aimed at increasing the CSUÕs proportion of tenured and tenure-track faculty.

 

Trends

In recent years, U.S. colleges and universities have significantly increased their reliance on temporary faculty. This general trend has reached serious proportions and requires attention by the system, the faculty, and the state to ensure a reasonable balance of tenured and tenure-track faculty and lecturers is maintained in the CSU.

 

Consistent with the stateÕs approach to funding faculty positions, we believe that full-time equivalent positions (FTEF) and not headcount is the best measure to identify and track our faculty balance. The same approach is used by the California community colleges in working toward their goal. The CSUÕs most recent available data indicate that lecturers make up well over half of the total faculty headcount and more than one-third of the total full-time equivalent faculty positions in the system. Lecturers account for a smaller percentage of the total FTEF because the CSU employs most lecturers on a part-time basis. Lecturers made up 45.6 percent of the total faculty headcount and 27.7 percent of the faculty FTEF in 1984. By the Fall 2001 lecturers had grown to represent 53.5 percent of the faculty headcount and 36.2 percent of the total FTEF.

 

The data clearly indicate that the number of CSU lecturers has grown significantly over the last two decades while the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty has remained nearly constant. In terms of headcount, the total number of tenure-track faculty increased by 3.0 percent between 1984 and 2001, from 10,023 to 10,325. Meanwhile, the number of lecturers employed by the CSU increased from 8,184 in 1980 to 11,901 in 2001, an increase of 45.4 percent. Total tenure-track FTEF increased by 1.3 percent between 1984 and 2001, raising from 9,896 to 10,029. Over this same period lecturer FTEF increased from 3,784 to 5,693, a jump of 50.4 percent. It is estimated that lecturers now deliver over half of all the instruction (in terms of student credit units earned) offered by the CSU

 

Lecturers have proven their abilities through years, even decades, of service to CSU students. Lecturers are dedicated professionals and skilled teachers who offer expert instruction. However, the working group recognizes that the nature of lecturersÕ employment relationship with the University results in a series of problems that negatively impact the quality of the overall educational experience offered by the CSU. These concerns grow more acute as the proportion of lecturers employed by the CSU rises.

 

 

 

This working group believes that unless decisive action is taken by the CSU administration, the CSU faculty, and the state, the proportion of lecturers employed by the CSU will continue to climb unabated.

 

II. A Plan for Increasing the Proportion of Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty

The working group recognizes that temporary appointments can, and do, serve an important function in the university setting. Lecturers can provide specific expertise and hands-on experience as practitioners in a given field. In addition, lecturers help bridge the gap created by the lengthy tenure-track recruitment process and allow the CSU to respond efficiently to shifts in enrollment and broad economic patterns. Nevertheless, we believe that the proportion of lecturers currently employed by CSU raises serious concerns about the quality of education.

 

The current proportion of lecturers is the artifact of rapid enrollment growth following a period of severe budget reduction. We believe that continued and increasing reliance on temporary faculty could threaten the CSUÕs ability to achieve its core mission. The working group wholeheartedly agrees that the CSU and the state of California must take immediate and decisive action to increase the proportion of tenured and tenure-track faculty employed in the system. We have agreed that a ratio of 75:25 is a reasonable goal. Restoring this ratio is an investment by the state in the quality of its higher education and the benefits to be derived therefrom.

 

Requirements for the success of the Plan.

 

1.   To acknowledge the time and resource requirements of conducting faculty searches as well as fiscal realities, we are recommending that the plan be implemented over an eight-year period of time.

 

Currently, the CSU conducts as many as 1,200 searches for new tenure-track faculty each year. Conducting a recruitment and search for new faculty members is a labor intensive and time-consuming process. Some economies of scale can be obtained in the simultaneous filling of two or more positions in the same department in the rare circumstances when a department is seeking to fill those positions with the same specialties. In most instances, however doing multiple searches within a department simply multiplies the work for the faculty. There are clearly limits to the number of hours in the day and days in the week that can be devoted to recruitment and search activities, especially in light of the limited number of tenured faculty who may conduct the searches.

 

Thus, we are proposing a plan that will hold annual searches within the 1,800 to 2000 per year range and, if successful, achieve the desired ratio in eight years. If necessary funding is provided, our plan improves the proportion of permanent faculty by about one and one-half percentage points each year.

 


 

2.   To improve the success rate of faculty searches and to increase the proportion of the annual hiring pool secured by the CSU, improved hiring packages will be necessary and increased funding to accomplish this will need to be available.

 

The CSU is currently successful in approximately 75 percent of all searches conducted. Our estimate of the number of searches necessary to yield the number of new tenure-track faculty to achieve a 75:25 ratio assumes that this success rate can be maintained. This means that the CSU will be hiring a larger percentage of the available pool of applicants. It is our intention to maintain the quality of our faculty in this process and thus we expect to widen our access to the top of the pool, not deepen our penetration into the middle of the pool. This will require that we are able to make more attractive offers to our top candidates many of whom now decline our offers of employment.

 

This is particularly true as the CSU works to improve the diversity of its faculty. In many academic disciplines, underrepresented candidates are in extremely short supply nationwide. Even so, the CSU must be enabled to attract and retain the best and the brightest if we are to continue our progress is achieving a diverse faculty.

 

Improved employment offers to new tenure-track faculty involve competitive salaries, reasonable workload expectations, and attractive working conditions. The latter often include a reduced teaching load for course preparation and professional development for some initial period of time, specialized laboratory or office facilities and equipment, specialized support staff, and other inducements. To assure these conditions, the plan requires improved funding in the following areas.

 

  1. Marginal cost funding for enrollment growth will incorporate funding for new faculty salaries at a level commensurate with the actual salaries that the CSU is required to pay.

 

  1. The student/faculty ratio[1], currently at 19.5:1, needs to be progressively decreased to 18.0 to 1, over the eight-year period, to reflect increases in the CSU base budget necessary to provide long-term improvements in workload expectations.

 

  1. Costs associated with the recruitment and hiring of new faculty must be recognized and incorporated in the systemÕs state funding. These costs, which average $11,000 per search plus $7,500 per hire, have never been recognized. Their inclusion will significantly improve our ability to provide the kinds of competitive employment offers that will attract larger numbers of highly qualified faculty.

 


The Plan

The top portion of Table 1 (page 10) presents our eight-year plan for achieving both a tenured/tenure-track to lecturer faculty ratio of 75:25 and a student-faculty ratio of 18.0:1. Actual data for college years 2000-01 and 2001-02 are presented in the first two columns. Estimated data for 2002-03 are presented in column 3. These data include the number of tenured/tenure track faculty and lecturer faculty, in terms of full-time equivalent faculty positions (FTEF); the percentages of each type of faculty; CSU budgeted enrollment, in full-time equivalent students (FTES); and the actual and budgeted full-time equivalent students per one full-time equivalent faculty, that is the student/faculty ratio.

 

The subsequent columns present a plan for achieving the goals of 75 percent tenured/tenure-track faculty and an 18:1 student-faculty ratio. For each planning year from the college year 2003-04 through the college year 2010-11, Table 1 displays the number of new tenure-track faculty positions required to accommodate enrollment growth, to replace separations and retirements, and to gradually improve the student/faculty ratio. The analysis assumes that new faculty positions to accommodate enrollment growth will be funded at the budgeted 18.9:1 student-faculty ratio through year 3 (2005-06) which will then decline incrementally to 18.0:1 by year 8. It also assumes that the number of separations and retirements will average 600 per year, a number consistent with recent experience.

 

Over the eight-year period, the number of new tenure-track faculty positions required annually ranges from 1,320 to 1,515, varying as projected enrollment growth fluctuates. At our current success rate of 75 percent, we will need to conduct annual searches ranging from 1,760 to 2,020. If successful, this hiring plan would increase the number of tenured/tenure-track faculty FTEF from 10,329 (estimated in 2002-03) to 16,854. The total number of lecturer FTEF would decrease from 6,042 (estimated in 2002-03) to 5,618. In the past year, CSU lecturers accounted for 16.1 percent of tenure-track hires. Thus, we anticipate that many of the lecturers currently employed will apply for and possess the qualifications to compete successfully in the national searches conducted by the CSU. Even if this did not happen, the decline in lecturer FTEF can be accommodated by attrition and will not require layoffs.

 

III.  Estimating the Cost of the Plan

 

Assumptions Behind the Cost Analysis

Table 1 also provides a cost estimation for implementing the plan to expand the percentage of tenured/tenure-track faculty to 75 percent and to decrease the student-faculty ratio to 18:1. Like the plan itself, the cost estimation involves a number of assumptions.

 

1.   All cost figures are presented in current year (2002-03) dollars and salaries.

 

The analysis would only be complicated by attempting to estimate and incorporate future rates of inflation and compensation increase.

 


2.   Lagged behaviors are ignored.

 

In reality, certain behaviors occur in sequences that take several years to complete. For example, a separation or retirement may occur in one year, the replacement search occurring the following year, with the actual hiring effective in the third year. Likewise, a high proportion of retirements enter the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) for one to five years and are not replaced, in most cases, until they complete the FERP. For simplicity, we have assumed that separations and retirements, and their replacement occur in the same year, and that the number of faculty entering and leaving the FERP program balance in any given year. The consequence is that the number of replacements remains constant at a level consistent with recent CSU experience.

 

3.   The compensation savings realized by permanent faculty separation or full retirement is $ 82,700.

 

This figure is an estimated average of the annual salary including benefits[2], of all permanent faculty members retiring or otherwise separating from the CSU in 2002-03.

 

4.   The recruitment cost for a new permanent faculty search is $11,000.

 

The cost of recruiting and advertising a new permanent position is assumed to be $4,000, and the cost of travel to interview finalists for the position is assumed to be $7,000, for a total of $11,000 spent on every search.

 

5.   The hiring cost of a new permanent faculty position is $7,500.

 

Currently, 75 percent of all CSU searches are successful. Each new permanent faculty hire will incur additional average costs of $2,500 for relocation and $5,000 for computer, laboratory and/or other equipment, and support.

 

6.   The compensation cost of hiring a new tenure-track faculty member is $70,200.

 

This figure is the actual average salary plus benefits, paid to new tenure-track hires that began in the Fall 2001, increased by 4 percent to incorporate compensations increases negotiated for the FY 2002-03.

 

7.   Marginal cost funding for new faculty positions is assumed to equal the actual salary cost incurred in the most recent year.

 

The parties to the development of this plan have jointly agreed that the current basis for calculating marginal cost is flawed and under-funds the actual costs of hiring new faculty. We will be requesting a revision to the marginal cost calculation through the regular CSU budgeting process. Current marginal cost funding provides $65,842 in salary and benefits for a new faculty position. Thus, a positive adjustment of $4,358 per position would be necessary to reach actual average compensation costs of $70,200 (see 6 above).

 

8.   All new positions required to accommodate enrollment growth and the decrease in the student/faculty ratio will be filled by tenure-track hires.

 

This assumption is necessary to achieve the desired ratio of tenured/tenure-track faculty to lecturer faculty in eight years.

 

9.   Declines in lecturer positions must be replaced by tenure/tenure-track positions.

 

The gradually increasing proportion of tenured/tenure-track faculty to achieve the eventual 75:25 ratio requires a small annual decline of lecturer positions. These positions must be replaced by permanent faculty in order to achieve the desired ratio. Former lecturer faculty members currently constitute 16.1 percent of new tenure-track hires and will certainly fill many of these new positions. Even so, we believe that this reduction can be easily accommodated by attrition and that no current lecturers will lose their jobs.

 

The Cost Analysis

Table 1 also provides an implementation cost projection for the plan over the eight-year phase-in period. The intent is to show the methodology behind the annual calculations and the total impact of the plan. The detailed calculations are presented in four categories:

  1. The costs of replacement positions for the annual estimated 600 tenured/tenure-track separations and retirements.
  2. The costs of new permanent positions required for enrollment growth.
  3. The costs of new permanent positions to improve the student-faculty ratio to 18.0:1.
  4. The costs of new permanent positions replacing lecturer positions eliminated to achieve the 75:25 ratio.

 

The costs of replacement positions for the annual estimated 600 tenured/tenure-track separations and retirements.

 

Each year, we project that approximately 600 tenured/tenure-track faculty will leave the CSU by way of retirement or separation[3] generating a savings of $49.6M. Some of these retirements will enter the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) and earn 50 percent of their annual salary. For the purposes of this analysis, we are assuming that as many faculty members complete the FERP program as enter in each year, so that 600 separations and retirements must be replaced each year.

 

Replacing the annual 600 vacant positions will yield a annual compensation savings of $49.6M, but will also require recruitment costs of $8.8M, hiring costs of $4.5M, and new compensation costs of $42.1M. Overall, this yields a net cost of $5.8M for replacements in the first year.

 

The recruitment costs and hiring costs are one-time costs for each cohort of replacements. In subsequent years, the difference between the compensation savings for separations and retirements and the compensation costs for new hires provides a net $7.5M in salary savings. These funds are used by the CSU to fund programmatic and faculty-related needs.

 

The costs of new permanent positions required for enrollment growth.

 

Over the eight-year period, the CSU estimates that its enrollment will grow from approximately 318,100 FTES to approximately 404,500 FTES, an increase of 86,400 FTES, or nearly 11,000 FTES per year. To accommodate this enrollment growth, the CSU will need to hire an average of 582 new tenure-track faculty members per year. These searches will cost between $8.0M and $9.2M per year. Once filled, the new positions will require hiring costs of between $4.1M and $4.7M, and the salary and benefits of between $38.5M and $44.4M. Given the position funding projected from the current marginal cost formula, the CSU could expect to receive between $36.1M and $41.7M for these new positions, leaving an annual net unfunded cost of between $2.4M and $2.8M.

 

As described in the assumptions, the current average compensation cost of hiring a new tenure-track faculty member in the CSU is $70,200. The current marginal cost funding formula provides the CSU only $65,842, leaving an unfunded deficit of $4,358 per new position.

 

The costs of new permanent positions to improve the student-faculty ratio to 18.0:1.

 

In order to reduce the student/faculty ratio over the eight years of this plan from the current 19.4:1 to 18.0:1 and thereby provide for the improved offers to new tenure-track hires necessary to broaden our share of the candidate pool, the CSU will need to hire additional faculty beyond those necessary to replace separations and those required to accommodate enrollment growth. In the first year of the plan 141 new positions will be required. This number will gradually increase to 221 new positions in the final year.

 

The recruitment costs, hiring costs, and compensation costs for these new positions will range from $13.0M in the first year to $15.7M in the final year.

 

The costs of new permanent positions replacing lecturer positions eliminated to achieve the 75:25 ratio.

 

We have assumed that the new (rather than replacement) positions for enrollment growth and to improve the student/faculty ratio, will be permanent positions, that is tenured or tenure-track faculty. In the first year of the plan, these new positions are sufficient to achieve the graduated increase in the tenured/tenure-track to lecturer faculty ratio necessary to reach 75:25 after eight years. However, after the first year, additional tenure-track hires must be made, with a corresponding reduction in lecturer positions, to achieve the marginal increases. This requirement ranges from 16 addition hires in the second year to 120 additional hires in the eighth year.

 

The annual savings from a reduction of lecturer positions ranges from $0.9M in the second year of the plan to $7.4M in the eighth year. However, the recruitment and hiring costs to replace these lecturers, plus the higher compensations costs for tenured/tenure-track faculty yield a net cost to the CSU that ranges from $0.5M in the second year to $1.5M in the penultimate year.

 

Summary

The plan presented would increase the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty in the CSU from the projected 63.1 percent in 2002-03, to 75 percent in 2010-11. It would also reduce the student/faculty ratio from the current 19.4:1 to 18.0:1. We regard this latter step as necessary to provide the funding necessary to allow the CSU to secure a larger proportion of the best candidates in the applicant pool.

 

The implementation of this plan will require increased resources from the state. The cost will be greatest in the first year, $35.6M, primarily due to recruitment costs that are currently unfunded. Thereafter, the annual cost ranges from $4.8M in the second year to $12.3M in the final year. These cost are largely due to the marginal cost adjustment necessary to remain competitive in the employment market and to the costs of new positions to adjust the student/faculty ratio and to achieve the 75:25 ratio of tenured/tenure-track faculty to lecturer faculty.

 

The study group believes that the implementation of this plan will achieve not only the goals that the Legislature seeks to accomplish in ACR 73, but will also insure the overall quality and diversity of the CSU faculty, thereby guaranteeing the high quality of education provided to CSU students well into the 21st Century.

 



[1] In higher education, the Student/Faculty Ratio (SFR) is calculated by dividing the systemwide full-time equivalent students (FTES) by the systemwide full-time equivalent faculty (FTEF). Since faculty duties include considerable time spent on student advising, curriculum development, committee work for shared governance and personnel activities (hiring, retention, tenure, and promotion reviews), and other quasi-administrative activities, the calculated SFR is much lower than the average class size.

[2] Benefits are calculated at 20 percent of salary in all cases.

[3] In reality, these numbers are highly variable and difficult to forecast. We believe that 600 is a reasonable estimate of the average number of separations and retirements over the eight years of this plan.