College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | Associate faculty make significant contributions to CR

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, October 6, 2022 - 3:30pm

At a community college, the primary difference between full-time and associate faculty (sometimes referred to as part-time faculty), as it relates to student outcomes, is the number of hours full-time faculty are required to either teach or serve on college committees. Part-time faculty, on the other hand, are restricted in the number of hours they can teach and are not required to serve on college administrative committees.

Across our institutions of higher education, associate faculty used to be a small subset of the teaching population, where most professors at the college level were full-time or on a tenure track. However, today, we are increasingly reliant on our associate faculty. College of the Redwoods’ associate faculty are extremely important to our ability to fulfill our educational mission. Our associate faculty carry the load for almost half of our instructional requirements and more than 50% of all of our instructors are associate faculty.

While I say that a significant number of our courses are taught by associate faculty, the quality of instruction they provide our students is high. Many of our associate faculty have a significant amount of expertise or real-life experience in the subjects they teach, allowing them to give a much broader education to their students. Additionally, the college is more nimble and flexible when we have a large pool of part-time faculty to draw from. Besides providing students with a well-rounded and realistic education in a given subject, our associate faculty can use their professional relationships — especially in career education-related fields — to facilitate internships and meaningful career advancement for their students.

One of College of the Redwoods’ overarching objectives is to serve as a vehicle for personal transition and professional advancement and nothing is more illustrative of this goal than when students move on from CR and then return to teach. We have several associate faculty who fit that profile in English, psychology, biology, business, philosophy, environmental science, welding, construction, forestry, agriculture — the list goes on, and reaches every area of the college.

We also have associate faculty who spend years in the classroom and then decide to use their talents to serve our students in whole new capacities. Take for example, Jonathan Maiullo, a CR associate faculty of English, English Language Fellow from Georgetown University, and author of “Paper Mountains: An Armenian Diary.” Jonathan decided to move away from the classroom and join the staff of our Adult and Community Education Program, where he will use his Spanish language skills to recruit underserved community members.

Another example would be Timothy Pearson, a CR associate faculty who spent roughly 25 years teaching in a wide range of environments, from privileged students in elite North African universities to aspirational Americans in the U.S. Navy, and from community colleges in the suburbs to vocational colleges where former gang members worked to become chefs and computer professionals; from College of the Redwoods to the Humboldt County jail. Timothy has expressed an interest in using his skills and background to help low-income high school students prepare, transfer, and succeed at college outside of the classroom.

Similarly, we are delighted when our associate faculty are able to move into full-time, tenure-track positions, as was the case for four of our new hires this fall.

Cintra Agee, the founding faculty member of our new Native American Students Program, received her Ph.D. from Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a master of philosophy from Yale with a concentration in Indigenous studies and a master of environmental management also from Yale and was an associate faculty member from 2015 to 2022.

Susan Gehr, our new librarian, has a master of library and informational science from San Jose State University and a master of arts in linguistics from the University of Oregon, and was an associate faculty member from 2016 to 2022. Here’s a fun fact about Susan, she creates Karuk language memes to help her students deepen their understanding of the Karuk language.

Kendra Guimaraes will be a fulltime instructor in our English and Adult Education programs. Kendra took her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Florida International University and the Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish Literature from the University of California, Davis.

Jason White, CR’s new head football coach, was an associate faculty member in 2019, as well as assistant head football coach at Cal Poly Humboldt. Jason received a master of science in kinesiology, teaching and coaching emphasis and a bachelor of arts in physical education from Cal Poly Humboldt.

While the role of associate faculty at College of the Redwoods is continuing to evolve, their importance to the future of CR is unquestionable. I have the honor of serving with associate faculty who are among the finest, longest-serving instructors at the College, and it’s well known that their lasting contributions at College of the Redwoods can transform the lives of their students.

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.