AB 1464 to improve CSU faculty tenure density moves forward in Assembly

On Tuesday, the Assembly Higher Education Committee also took up AB 1464, a bill to increase the composition of CSU faculty to 75 percent tenure-line and a maximum 25 percent contingent.

The bill’s author is Assembly­member Shirley Weber, who served as a San Diego State faculty member for 40 years.

Weber explained that as far back as 2001, the Legislature passed a resolution recommending that the CSU develop a process to improve tenure density.

Unfortunately since then, she said, “There has been a decline.”

Based on the CSU administration’s data, during the 1990s, 62% of CSU faculty had permanent jobs as tenure-line faculty. By today that number has reversed—60% of CSU faculty teach on temporary appointments. (See a chart showing the changes in tenure density over the years.)

Not only do temporary teaching appointments undermine the consistency a faculty member needs to teach and mentor students over time, but it means that ever-fewer tenure-line faculty with permanent jobs are available to help students, to keep curriculum up to date, and to do all the work needed to maintain a robust educational program.

Nichelle Henderson, a Cal State L.A. Lecturer and CFA member, told the committee about the constant churn of part-time faculty whose part-time, temporary status undermines the wish “to become vested in the long-term growth of our respective campuses”  and whose students can’t know they will be there next semester.

Lillian Taiz, CFA Political Action & Legislative Committee Chair, explained, “Thousands of Lecturer faculty are well-qualified by education and experience for permanent tenure-line positions, but they are hindered by virtue of their temporary appointments.”

Taiz pointed out, “Already a fair number of incumbent CSU Lecturers apply for and are hired through a competitive process into tenure-track positions. This bill would encourage the expansion of this practice, by opening up more opportunities. It really is a no-brainer for the university and for our students.”

In discussion, Assemblymember José Medina, who chairs the committee, said as a former part-time faculty member who had no time to meet with anyone, he supports the bill.

If signed into law, the requirement would have to be fulfilled by 2025. AB 1464 moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a vote of 9-3.

PHOTO: CFA member, Nichelle Henderson who is a Lecturer at Cal State Los Angeles, testified before the Assembly Higher Education Committee on the need for AB 1494, to increase tenure density in the CSU.