UniversityAddressing professor scarcity
Addressing professor scarcity
November 23, 2017
November 23, 2017

As enlistment season comes around the corner, students will once again face the problem of shortage in classes. This problem affects their time in the University, as it potentially delays them, especially if the limited class is a major subject.

While this is a problem for students, it is also a headache for departments that offer these classes.

A recurring problem that many departments in the University encounter is the inability to provide sufficient class openings due the shortage of professors to teach the class. Qualifications, experience, and conflicting time schedules are challenges that departments will have to overcome, especially as the demand for courses overcomes the supply of lecturers. In interviews with various departments and their heads, The LaSallian gives an overview of how these faculties address the problem of professor scarcity.


Professor Scarcity - Ernest Mateo


Process of hiring professors

One way to accommodate the demand is to increase the supply. For most departments, this means hiring more professors.

The process for hiring professors usually follows three steps. First, new openings and vacancies are posted on the University website. Aspiring applicants will then forward their curriculum vitae to the department chair of the faculty that they are interested in joining. Lastly, applicants will have a teaching demo, either with other faculty members, or with an actual class.

However, the Vice Chair of the Accounting Department, Aeson Dela Cruz, points out that hiring is something easier said than done. “You have to consider the person’s schedule, teaching abilities and skills. You can not just hire anyone and the thing here is not everyone is able, and not everyone is willing even if they are able,” he says.

Taking into consideration that each department coexists in varying fields, each department also has its own process of taking in new professors. Communication Department Chair Dr. Cheryll Ruth R. Soriano explains how the requirements and qualifications for hiring new faculty members vary according to needs of the department.

“By identifying the need, it implies that we look through the curricula and the year prior to the offered courses so we kind of have an idea which courses are to be offered including the electives,” she points out.

She stresses how pre-planning is vital in order to avoid encountering problems such as lack of professors. “In the La Salle arrangement, if you do enough planning ahead, there shouldn’t be an experience of ‘kulang faculty’ because if you can plan ahead, you can actually take the part-time ones.” Soriano emphasizes how hiring an applicant as a part-time professor will not risk the department having professor scarcity and no talent will be put to waste. “Don’t end up having a person who is not qualified teaching a course simple because you used the reason of scarcity,” she highlights.


Requirements and qualifications

Moreover, Soriano mentions the importance of having qualities such as resilience and mastery of a certain program. Using the Communication Arts Program as an example, Soriano further explains how flexibility is an essential feature as the program is designed to introduce two main facets. She states, “Courses are mixed with theory [and] because it’s a mix of theory and production, you need to find a person who has the flexibility to teach both, or who has expertise with theory or with production.”

Another specific qualification that applicants must have is a minimum degree of Master’s. Soriano shares how this is one of the factors as to why finding faculty members is slightly difficult. “People who have expertise in production, for example, may not necessarily have a PhD or a Master’s. “Yun yung kaya medyo mahirap mag-hire ng full-time na production faculty,” she expounds.

However, Soriano also mentions how the department does not have a problem filling in the gaps as they still hire those that don’t possess a master’s degree as part-time professors due to their competence and notable achievements. “Their professional expertise and national awards can kind of compensate the absence of a Master’s degree,” she explains.


Referral system

Another protocol that is in effect for hiring professors is the recommendation system. This is essential especially to the departments that are encapsulated by practicing fields. “Most of them are outside in the industry, doing their work. And in the university, it is a requirement that you have a master’s degree,” Dela Cruz corroborates. Dela Cruz said that professionals do not usually obtain Master’s Degrees because they are focused on practicing their line of work. Due to this constraint, Dela Cruz says that “to make our process easier, we ask our faculty members to recommend or to recruit if they know someone who is capable of teaching.”

This method also applies to the Communication Department as Soriano admits that they also work with referrals since their faculty are very much exposed to various media industries. “We send it [the call for applicants] to our networks, and then our networks refer us to possible faculty kasi nga very specialized kami sa media, so it’s not easy to find people,” she elaborates.

She also explains how they also reach out to their own circles of academics for reliable recommendations. “We also send it to networks [because] minsan mas reliable din yun kasi hindi naman magre-refer ng hindi magaling yung networks namin,” she asserts.


Adjusting units and schedules

Generally, 12 units is the standard load required for full-time professors every term. Although, the increase of student population, especially with the arrival of Senior High Students (SHS), coerce the departments to take measures such as overloading.

Dela Cruz says that the full-time professors of the accounting department have a load of 15 units, while their part-timers carry 12 units. A pool of experienced professors also provide education to SHS, adjusting their units. In the same effect, part-timers also increase their units, teaching more undergraduate subjects.

The Accounting Department’s Vice Chair reiterates that it is just more about adjusting the professor’s units and schedules to meet the demands. “For instance, if they have classes in the SHS in the morning, they would have classes [with] undergraduates in the afternoon or vice versa,” he explains.