Faculty senate discusses class cancellation policy

Karla Enriquez

For students who worry about class cancellations due to low enrollment, there may be a solution in the near future.

Class cancellation policy and faculty hiring were the two topics discussed at the Tuesday faculty senate meeting.

The group discussed how the school is currently canceling classes that don’t reach 60 percent of the seats filled, which faculty senate expressed concern over.

Faculty Senate President Michelle Lewellen said, “When classes are cancelled for low enrollment, that number now sits at 60 percent, so you have to reach 60 percent of the seats filled in order for the class to run. The problem that the faculty have with this is that we don’t know where 60 percent came from and this really disadvantages high cap classes, which is most of the general education, social science and humanities.

“When you are talking 60 percent of 60, that is 36 students. They’re canceling classes with 30 to 34 students in it because you’re not hitting that 36 mark in a 60 cap class and that really hurts our students,” she said.

Lewellen’s expressed concern about how the current procedure not only affect students but also affect faculty.

“Chances are [students are] not going to be able to find another class to get into, a class that meets the same requirement.

“It also disadvantages instructors in that [they] don’t know what their schedule is, don’t know if they’re going to have a full load, if they’re going to have to take classes away from someone or teach a short -term class, like a 12-week or a 9-week, which is not always favorable to an individual faculty.

She added, “We need a process that is a little more solid than we have.”

Faculty senate voted to recommend a 50 percent or 15-student cap, whichever is lower.

Lewellen stated she will be pushing for the 15-student cap “unless there is considerable evidence and logical reasoning from administration that we should go higher.”

The decision will affect the spring 2017 semester.

Another item the faculty senate discussed was faculty hiring ranking.

Speech Professor Dr. Angela Hoppe Nagao stated that although there is a hiring procedure, she was concerned with the lack of a written process that has been mutually agreed upon used by divisions for the ranking of new faculty hires.

The speech professor proposed a motion that the faculty senate create a task force to research new full-time faculty ranking procedures used by other colleges in order to create a procedure that the campus mutually agrees on.

Hoppe Nagao said, “California Education Code 87360 (b) specifies that policies for faculty hiring shall be developed and agreed upon jointly by the governing board and the academic senate.”

“The faculty senate should no longer agree to the haphazard ranking procedures used by different divisions on this campus,” she said.

Another source of concern was whether retention rates play a role in faculty hiring ranking.

Lewellen said, “It doesn’t serve students well to be making decisions based on success and completion because thats not always the faculty’s responsibility.”

At the end of the last faculty senate meeting of the semester, Dr. Solomon Namala announced he was stepping down from president of the Cerritos College Faculty Federation and will be replaced by Political Science Professor Terrance Mullins.