Review of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education Continues with Hearing on Faculty and Staff Needs

Friday, May 4, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), Jose Medina (D-Riverside), and Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) held the fourth hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education in California today. Today at UC Riverside, the Select Committee met with representatives from the California Community College, CSU, and UC systems to discuss what faculty and staff need so they can better support students. 

“It’s critical for student success that our students taught by faculty that they can relate to. Yet while our student population is much more diverse than it was when the Master Plan was written 58 years ago, faculty do not reflect that increased diversity. We must do a better job to increase the diversity of our faculty ranks,” said Berman, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education in California. “We also heard from student services staff, from financial aid staff, and from custodial staff who demonstrate that it takes a whole ecosystem at a college or university to make sure that students reach their full potential. This further reinforced the powerful testimony we heard from students at our last hearing. I greatly value the information provided by everyone today.”

Panelists identified a number of challenges facing faculty and staff today. The chairs of the Academic Senates of each segment, in addition to Sarah Klotz from USC’s Center for Urban Education, discussed the need for more professional development in order to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. The Committee also heard from union leaders representing faculty and staff who voiced concerns about funding, understaffing, and reliance on temporary faculty. In the fourth and final panel, student services staff testified to the need for coordination among the state’s higher education segments including clear pathways for transfer students.

“College faculty and staff play a tremendous role in a student’s success,” said Assemblymember Jose Media, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “To ensure that all of our students have engaging, high-quality college experiences, we need to further invest in our faculty and staff. The state needs to dedicate more resources to ensure competitive pay and benefits to recruit and retain top talent, increase the diversity of faculty and staff, and improve the ratio of full- to part-time faculty at our colleges and universities. Supporting our staff and faculty is critical to maintaining California’s world class higher education systems and meeting the needs of our students.”

In 1960, California developed a visionary plan for the future of higher education. Known as the Master Plan, the document sought to provide guidance to the state’s higher education system. However much has changed since the Master Plan was written, and California’s higher education system must respond to a host of issues never previously envisioned.

The Assembly Select Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education, which was established in March 2017, is conducting a thorough review of the Master Plan. Previous hearings provided an overview of the state’s higher education system, workforce needs, and students’ needs.

Contact: Kaitlin Curry (916) 319-2024