VCCCD Board of Trustees welcomes 52 newly-tenured faculty, the most in recent years

The+Ventura+County+Communty+College+District+Board+members+pose+for+a+photo+with+two+of+the+many+tenured+staff+and+Interim+President+Julius+Sokenu+on+Tuesday%2C+March+10%2C+in+Camarillo%2C+Calif.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt

The Ventura County Communty College District Board members pose for a photo with two of the many tenured staff and Interim President Julius Sokenu on Tuesday, March 10, in Camarillo, Calif. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By John Louie Menorca

The Ventura County Community College District recognized 52 full-time faculty who recently made tenured contracts at the Board of Trustees meeting on March 10. This comes at a notable increase from the last two years combined, where there were 22 tenured in 2019 and 25 in 2018.

Earning tenure means that a full-time faculty member has worked for four years under observation and evaluation from a board of their peers consisting of tenured faculty and administration.

Rainer Mack, Art History professor at Oxnard College, was one of the newly-tenured recognized at the meeting. He feels really excited to be there and said the four-year process is like probation.

“When they (the institution) have hired you (its) sort of temporarily for three years, they evaluate you every year and they make a decision at the end of each whether to continue with you,” Mack said. “And then finally you get to the fourth year, they decided ‘Well, I think we like you and think you’re a good fit, and we’d like to invite you to have a permanent job here’.”

Interim President of Moorpark College Julius Sokenu reads the names of the newly tenured staff during the VCCCD Board meeting on Tuesday, March 10, in Camarillo, Calif.
Interim President of Moorpark College Julius Sokenu reads the names of the newly tenured staff during the VCCCD Board meeting on Tuesday, March 10, in Camarillo, Calif. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The four year process not only consists of observation and evaluation, but a period of constructiveness and improvement. Beatriz Zizumbo, academic counselor working at Ventura College, felt that her probation period made her stronger.

“It was so stressful at times,” Zizumbo expressed. “But overall, I have a very good committee that always supported me and encouraged me to grow and develop new skills and tools to become a better counselor.”

Zizumbo is looking forward to the opportunity to be more proactive and advocate for the students, to have the opportunity to speak up and really commit to what she is passionate about.

Once an individual has passed the four-year process, the college president reviews all documents, evaluations and the faculty member’s plan going forward. Then the Tenure Review Committee evaluates each faculty member’s performance at their post, as well as within the college and local communities as a whole. Both parties then agree with the tenure recommendations, and forward them to the Board of Trustees, who then grant tenure based on those findings.

Crowds of tenured staff and their friends and family pack the meeting room prior to the session on Tuesday, March 10, in Camarillo, Calif.
Crowds of tenured staff and their friends and family pack the meeting room prior to the session on Tuesday, March 10, in Camarillo, Calif. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The process is a long-term commitment for any faculty involved, and once the process is over, there is a feeling of elation to be had.

Nicole Block, an associate professor with the Film, Television, Media and Arts program at Moorpark College, was also one of those granted tenure and recognized at the meeting. She looks forward to the rest of her career at Moorpark College.

“It feels great to be wanted, it feels great to have the commitment, it’s almost like someone wants to marry you,” Block said. “You know, because I’m gonna be here for the rest of my career and I want them and they want me, and we made this ceremony, and now it’s official. And it feels good.”

When a faculty member is approved for tenure, it represents the confidence of their students, fellow faculty, administration and the district as a whole in their work.

However, some faculty like Blane Schloo, lead instructor for Diesel Mechanics at Ventura College, don’t see it as the finish line.

“It affects people differently, I mean, yes I am honored to be tenured here, but it’s not gonna change the way I do my job,” Schloo emphasized. “I’m gonna be doing my job 120% every single day, giving the students all I have. I just look at it as a formality, but again, it’s not going to change what I do.”

The full list of tenured faculty can be found on the meeting agenda. The next VCCCD Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 14.