The end of the semester marks the halfway point for current faculty members in leadership positions at Las Positas College.
At the end of the academic year in June 2013, faculty members such as Academic Senate president Sarah Thompson and chairman of the CEMC (College Enrollment Management Committee) Thomas Orf will be stepping down from their leadership roles as new candidates will be stepping up to fill their shoes.
“It’s unclear at the moment who is going to be taking on these leadership roles,” Thompson said. “There’s going to be quite a bit of turnover.”
Among those also leaving are Michael Sato, staff development chair; Lisa Everett, basic skills chair; Jeremiah Bodnar, curriculum chair; and Melissa Korber, faculty hiring prioritization chair.
Different factors are involved in faculty members’ decisions for leaving these leadership roles. One of the reasons is natural transition. Many stay for two years and then decide to move on. Occasionally one will stay for up to four years, but most will remain for two.
“Every once in awhile you’ll get someone exceptional who will do it for four,” Thompson said, “but for most people, it’s a two year gig.”
Another factor involved in the decisions is exhaustion. Faculty members either elected into the Senate, into a Senate subcommittee or into a committee by the faculty union receive a reassigned load. A percentage of the faculty’s teaching responsibility is given to an adjunct faculty member, while the remainder of the load is dedicated to leadership responsibilities.
Thompson, for example, received a 50 percent reassigned load when she was elected into the Senate as president. Adjunct faculty members bear the 50 percent reassignment while Thompson both teaches and fulfills Senate responsibilities.
Back when the decisions were made on how much load to reassign when it came to leadership positions, the school was not facing the severe budget cuts and compliance measures with state mandates that it faces today. Here is where the issue lies.
“It’s not nearly enough,” Thompson said. “I don’t think there’s any chair here who’s getting enough reassigned load, which is why the exhaustion is occurring. There’s just too much.”
Thomas Orf, who has been chairman of the CEMC for three years, received a reassigned load of 5 hours when he was selected by the faculty union for the position. Along with regular attendances of DBSG (District Budget Study Group) meetings and chair duties, he is also a geography instructor at LPC.
“(I’ve been) much more overloaded this semester,” Orf said. “Have I earned the five hours release time? Yes, and then some.”
Whether or not this time of transition in which some leaders will be going out and new leaders will be coming in will be difficult for the school will be seen in the upcoming academic year.
“I think it’ll be — it should be a smooth transition,” Orf said. “Who’s to say?”