Central Oregon Community College hired 24 faculty members this school year, a large amount to accommodate increasing student
“We’ve never had that amount of new faculty on board,” said Dean of Instruction Michael Holtzclaw. “I think it’s the largest if not one of the largest amounts of hiring we’ve done.”
The college hired the new staff to fill such departments as Nursing and Psychology, according to Vice President for Instruction, Stephen Newcombe.
While other community colleges employment rates have remained low or declined this year, COCC has managed to stay ahead of the curve and increase its faculty from 100 to 110 members this school year.
“We were fortunate enough to hire in an economic downturn,” said Holtzclaw. “We are kind of out of step with the other colleges. They’re experiencing cutbacks and slower enrollment growth … We’ve held off for a while, so this year’s hiring was sort of our catch-up.”
Student enrollment at COCC has grown from 15,775 to 18,433 total students over the last four school years.
“We’ve grown faster than the other colleges,” said Holtzclaw. “We’ve moved from a small-size to a mid-size community college.”
The faculty hired were chosen based not only on enrollment growth, but also on recent openings in COCC’s departments and to benefit the college in the long term.
“The positions that were filled were based on which ones had the largest enrollment and which ones had the most vacancies,” said College Relations Director Ron Paradis. “It’s important to have an adequate number to fill those positions but also to help the college move forward.”
This year’s applicants impressed COCC administration members.
“The quality was really phenomenal,” said Holtzclaw. “I’m just blown away by the credentials.”
Emma Chaput, one of the new faculty members, is teaching Biology at COCC. She moved from Wyoming where she taught at another community college.
“It’s been fantastic, it’s exciting to get into the classroom and teaching biology again,” said Chaput. “I’m new to COCC and Bend, it’s been lovely.”
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