A miniature hiring boom at the City Colleges of Chicago has the district looking to bring on as many as 76 full-time and tenure-track faculty members by the fall semester, along with nearly 120 part-time and adjunct instructors.
The job openings are spread across all seven City Colleges campuses, though most of the part-time and adjunct openings are at Kennedy-King, Malcolm X and Daley colleges.
Several factors have the district looking to bring on more teachers, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Xiomara Cortes Metcalfe says.
“What happens during bad economic times, people go back to school and so enrollment usually goes up during recessionary times,” she says.
To gird for that, the City Colleges has to start hiring now, even though enrollment in degree programs has only risen slightly over the last year.
On top of the expected enrollment increase, Metcalfe says about 36 professors are retiring this year, part of a broader trend in baby boomers reaching retirement age.
The City Colleges has seen large numbers of faculty members retire in recent years, with more expected in the next few years, says Elaine Johnson, the vice president of academic affairs at the Illinois Community College Board.
“We are going to lose, in the community college system over the next few years, a large number of people,” Johnson says. “It’s that kind of time where there will be retirements.”
The size of the City Colleges compared to other districts in the state, with its 110,000 students per year, makes its hiring numbers appear particularly large, though Johnson still thought it was noteworthy that the district is hiring so many teachers right now.
Though the district is looking to bring on large numbers of new faculty members, that doesn’t mean it will hire just anyone who applies, says Metcalfe.
“We’re just looking for the best and the brightest, with teaching skills in front of our students,” she says.
Johnson says she’s been impressed at the high-quality hires the City Colleges has been making in recent years. Most of the current job openings require a master’s degree and the district seeks out candidates with doctorate degrees for some positions, according to current job listings.
Nursing, science and math positions are particularly hard for the district to fill because colleges and universities everywhere are competing for a relatively small pool of applicants, Metcalfe says.
The district has openings in nearly every department in addition to those, including English, psychology, business and foreign languages.
To help lure applicants, the City Colleges is hosting a job fair from 1 to 6 p.m. on June 4. The fair is at the district’s West Side Technical Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave. For more information, visit http://ccc.edu/jobfair/
Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.