Funding increase allows RCC to offer additional classes and hire new faculty

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Updated: September 30, 2015 | Written by Amelia Alverado
Illustration by Daniel Murillo| Viewpoints
Illustration by Daniel Murillo | Viewpoints

An increase in funding has allowed the RCC community to start the semester off with 145 more classes, 10 new hires and a pay raise for faculty as a result of the agreement signed Aug. 10.

Students can look forward to more open English, Science and Mathematics classes for this semester and for the semesters that follow.

During the summer members of the Faculty Association spent their time editing and finalizing their collective bargaining agreement. According to Wolde-Ab-Isaac, RCC president, there are 16 additional positions for the district on top of the eight hired the previous semester.

Positions will be divided between the Norco, Moreno Valley and Riverside campuses with Norco and Moreno Valley to expect six new faculty members and Riverside will have 12. “Many professors had retired or resigned or unfortunately had met their passing, and were never replaced,” said Isaac.

This new agreement was made possible by state funding and has also allowed for the faculty to receive a raise a 3 percent to 2 percent raise plus cost of living adjustment dependent upon time spent with the district and if they have 67 percent more or less of a full load.

Kathleen Sell, instructor, Faculty Association member and lead negotiator for the contract, explained how faculty members had not received a raise in more than three years. She explained that students will also benefit from the contract. “The goal, of course, is student success and completion overall, “Sell said. “RCC is back in business.”

With additional classes and new faculty members, this semester is proving to be a successful one. “With more Instructors and more classes there’s going to be a lot more options for students when selecting a class,“ said RCC student Humberto Alcaraz.

There was an increase in enrollment. Fall 2013 there were 17,797 students attending RCC, in fall of 2014 there were 18,259 students attending classes; this fall there are 19,690 students enrolled at RCC.

“We remain a destination campus for students inside and outside of our immediate area and our enrollment has continued to climb,” said Dawn Valencia the Dean of enrollment.

“Students were still able to change their schedule if other students dropped classes or changed schedules. But  in terms of course availability, as of Sept.1 there was not a lot available.”

Going through the list of classes offered at RCC there’s many classes that were filed with little to no waitlist. Though there were still many classes with much longer waitlists some even double the available seats.

“The new district wide funding has allowed more courses for students enriching their education,” said Aaron Brown, vice chancellor of Business and Financial Services. “There will be additional funding for student completion and success.”

Students such as Jonathan Williams who also attends classes at the Moreno Valley and Riverside had a similar thoughts. “It is absolutely going to help in enriching my education,” Williams said.

He also believes it will attract more people to sign up for RCC and hopefully bring more diversity to the classroom.

“Even though it is my first year this semester it seemed easier to get classes than people make it seem,” said Carla Johnson, first semester college RCC student.

Oscar Baltazar explained that he expected to be at RCC for four years to complete his transferable units, but hearing about the increase of classes changed this for him.

“This is beneficial and I think now students can expect to complete transferable units much faster. I know for myself, that instead of staying the four years that I expected to be here, I only need three years.”

Students had received emails up until the last week before school started with information on open available classes encouraging them to add.

“As far as this semester goes versus last I see a lot more people at school, but I was at ease with picking my classes. I got what I wanted,” said RCC student Charles Dante Black II.

Some students are saying they are not seeing a difference in this semester.

“I found registering for classes was the same like any other semester,” said RCC student Kyle Steen.

Other students are disgruntled asking “With more classes is there going to be more focus on student services such as more parking?” said RCC student Alejandro Ceja.

Brown emphasized that this is a concern that is in the process of being addressed. “This will be a continuing process as the year’s progress,” Brown said.

“This is indeed a long overdue remedy our district needed in order to remain true to its mission of providing affordable and accessible education to members of our community,” said Dariush Haghighat, RCCD Faculty Association president in an email addressed to all faculty members.

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