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Improving Economy Makes Room for New Hires at MiraCosta College

Oceanside CA— Due in part to the recent economic recovery and also to retirements, MiraCosta College has hired 60 new permanent faculty, staff and administrators, just in time for the 2015/2016 academic year.

“This is an exciting time for the college,” said Dr. Sunny Cooke, MiraCosta College superintendent/president. “Our enrollment has expanded by more than 30 percent over the past decade and we are finally in the economic position to hire more faculty and staff to serve our growing student population.”

This translates to 16 new faculty members/administrators and 44 classified staff. The classified staff members will support student success initiatives; enhance instructional programs, counseling and advising services; and promote other academic functions that will improve students’ educational experience and success. Of these 44 positions, 31 are new positions and another 13 are retirement replacements.

Many of the newly filled positions were needed to fulfill the requirements of a new state mandate called Student Success and Support Program (SSSP), designed to improve student success through orientation, advisement, assessment and placement, counseling, and other education planning services.

“The additional staff the college has hired in the areas of SSSP have and will help the college implement programs and services that help new students complete the matriculation process and build a solid foundation for success,” said Alketa Wojcik, dean of Admissions & Student Support. “Research has shown that students who participate in matriculation and have goals and an education plan to meet those goals, are more successful.”

New SSSP implementations include a degree audit system, weekend counseling hours, focused orientations and workshops during the first week of classes, and additional support and preparation for placement tests.

In addition to the classified hires, 16 new full-time faculty members will begin teaching this fall semester in the following disciplines: accounting, biology, child development, computer studies and information technology, English, kinesiology, mathematics, media arts and technologies, nursing, philosophy and religious studies, and sociology. Other faculty hires include the directors of the Child Development Center and Equal Opportunities Programs and Services, and a counselor. Ten of the 16 are new faculty positions while five are retirement replacements.

“Each one of our faculty searches yielded an amazing candidate who will bring together love of their discipline with the joy of teaching our diverse students,” said Dr. Cooke. “We know that this group will make a remarkable impact on our college.”

Of the 16 new faculty, eight have been serving as MiraCosta College associate (part-time) faculty.

“MiraCosta is fortunate to have excellent associate faculty,” said Mike Fino, MiraCosta College’s academic senate president and biotechnology department chair. “These professionals teach close to half of all our classes and they constitute a critical and valued role in the teaching and learning that takes place at MiraCosta.”

Joining the staff and faculty in the list of full-time hires is an administrator, Katie White, who began in February 2015, as the college’s director of Fiscal Services.

White, who earned a bachelor’s from UC Berkeley and an MBA from San Diego State University, began her career in finance working for the Unisys Corporation and later with Sony Electronics.

“I am very honored to join the MiraCosta College family,” said White. “I firmly believe that higher education is the gateway to more choices that makes a difference in a person’s life. I am very excited to transition to a college environment and bring my experiences I’ve gained from private industry to MiraCosta College.”

The hiring continues. By December 2015, the college anticipates hiring another 30 classified positions. Additional full-time faculty positions will be identified in the fall and open for recruitment in spring 2016.

These hirings are made possible by the college’s improved budget. The FY16 tentative budget is scheduled to be adopted at the June 24 meeting of the college’s board of trustees. In this tentative budget, MiraCosta’s general fund revenue, from both restricted and unrestricted sources, is $123 million. This is an estimated increase of $9.4 million, compared to the current budget.

This increase is attributed to local property tax increases, estimated to be $4.5 million (a 5.5% increase from the prior year), and from state categorical grants and one-time programs, which will fund additional staffing needs and student success programs.

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