Faculty hiring is starting to bounce back on at least three campuses of the University of California, which had nearly frozen searches for new tenure-track faculty members over the past year in response to deep cuts in state support.
The three most selective undergraduate campuses in the system, in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego, all plan to significantly increase their number of tenure-track faculty searches during the 2010-11 academic year. The level of recruitment, however, is still below what would be expected in good economic times.
Berkeley plans to conduct about 67 faculty searches in 2010-11, up from fewer than 30 in each of the past two years, the campus said. By comparison, the campus conducted about 134 searches in 2006-7.
San Diego plans to recruit 40 professors this year; it hired seven last year. UCLA has not determined exact numbers, but "the intention is to increase faculty hiring substantially from where it was in the last fiscal year," said a spokesman, Phil Hampton.
The budget picture for struggling California universities brightened this year when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, proposed increases in state support during the 2010-11 year. But the state's budget deficit means those increases may be rejected by the Legislature.
Officials at other campuses in the system, including Riverside, Davis, and Santa Barbara, said they did not expect to increase hiring of faculty members over the next year.
"New searches are on hold right now, pending outcome of the state budget," Gene Lucas, executive vice chancellor at Santa Barbara, wrote in an e-mail. "So we might relight some searches this year if the UC budget gets some restoration funds, but not if we have another round of budget cuts."