New faculty contributes to future focused vision
Photos courtesy of University Communications and Marketing
Biola recently hired 24 new faculty members according to an article released by the university, including two new deans and 22 new professors. An additional 280 adjunct faculty members were hired for the academic school year said Jackie Beatty, executive assistant to the provost.
Depending on contract length, faculty professors will work for the duration of the 2014-2015 academic school year, while adjunct staff will remain on staff indefinitely, said Shelly Cunningham, director of faculty development.
According to Biola’s provost and senior vice president David Nystrom, four previous faculty members retired and ten faculty members left to pursue other vocations, including Doretha O’Quinn, who accepted the position of provost and president of academic affairs for Vanguard University.
During this year’s communion service, the university announced that the incoming freshman class is the largest in Biola’s history. However, Nystrom said that this average amount of new faculty compared to previous years remains unrelated to the incoming freshman class.
FACULTY BECOMES FUTURE FOCUSED
All campus faculty participated in annual mandatory training from Aug. 20-21 at Grace Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, Cunningham said. This year’s theme, “Future Focused,” centered on ensuring student employment and enrollment in graduate degree programs.
“That’s what students are here for: to be prepared for the future. So thinking how does that happen in all of our courses, our core courses, our lower level and upper division classes, and how do we build blocks in to better prepare was our conference this year,” Cunningham said.
On Aug. 18-19 new faculty hires attended an orientation that introduced teachers to resources on campus, Cunningham said. Training included a campus-wide scavenger hunt to familiarize the staff with the campus and a HR orientation that provided information about benefits.
New to the position of associate professor of political science this year, Thomas Copeland said that during the interview process the university showed concerned about his family’s well-being in the midst of moving from the east coast to California.
“I appreciated that. It showed a lot of respect for me and for my family, but also for me and how I’m going to thrive in this environment,” Copeland said.
Along with ministering to students, Copeland said he hopes to spend more time in writing and research.
“Teaching at a Christian college is a form of ministry. You pour yourself into teaching and interacting with students. Biola is really encouraging so that we want to have really good teaching and really good scholarship,” Copeland said.
UNBALANCED FACULTY GENDER RATIO
Of the twenty-four new faculty members joining campus this year, seven are women. However, seven of the nine faculty members that left campus last semester were women, Nystrom said.
“The balance of male to female faculty is definitely skewed on the male side,” Nystrom said. “We had seven women leave, which is alarmingly high. For Dr. O’Quinn, for a couple of others, they left to pursue something else that seemed like it was really God’s calling.”
With these faculty members leaving, the university recognizes the room for improvement with the ratio of male to female faculty on campus, Nystrom said.
“We should pay attention to the wholeness of our community as a whole range of God’s people. We have a ways to go, but I think we are headed in the right direction. I think we have a desire to grow into that and not to ignore that,” Nystrom said.