This article has been updated on May 3 at 3:35 p.m.
This semester has been plagued with budget cuts, walkouts and campus strikes. Tension between faculty and administration have reached a peak.
Amidst all this, Physics and Astronomy professor Paola Rodriguez-Hidalgo decided to turn in her resignation. At the end of her third year here at Humboldt State, her office is filled with boxes that have yet to be unpacked ,and won’t be until she settles in at the University of Washington Bothell.
“I wanted to make my home here but, in my humble opinion, I believe HSU is experiencing an identity crisis,” Rodriguez-Hidalgo said. “There is a lack of balance between the teaching I’m supposed to do and the research I’m supposed to do, and at the end of the day I felt that research component was not really valued that much. When I came to HSU, I was expecting a better balance between the two; I don’t know how much I was misled or how much I misinterpreted what I was told.”
Rodriguez Hidalgo said she believes HSU is asking too much of its faculty. She explains how they are expected to plan hours of lecture, lead student research, guide advisees, sit on committees, attend conferences, grade papers and show up to class every day.
Rodriguez Hidalgo thinks as more jobs are put on professors, they will have less time and energy for teaching and research.
“I think the faculty want to put the hours into creating good learning experiences which is what students are going to remember,” Rodriguez Hidalgo said. “But if you don’t have the time at some point you need to give up on the excellence. Last semester I was working 80 hours plus a week and I was burning out. If I stayed here, how much longer was I going to like my job? I love being a professor; this is a job I don’t want to hate.”
Rodriguez Hidalgo said she doesn’t place the blame on HSU or any administrator in particular. To her, it’s the system that HSU exists in. She said our current situation is the consequence of years of a constant revolving door of administrators.
“It is very hard to have a vision when people are always coming and going,” Rodriguez Hidalgo said. “For me, personally, I wasn’t seeing that leadership. I wasn’t seeing that heart. I wasn’t seeing that support. What the faculty needs is a support structure that allows me to do my job to the best of my capabilities.”
3:35 p.m.: The professor’s title has been corrected from physics to physics and astronomy. Her quotes have been updated to reflect direct quotes.