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A new state audit, called for by lawmakers in California, found that community colleges in the state hire too few full-time faculty members, EdSource reported. Some districts underspent or misspent state dollars intended for hiring full-time professors on part-time adjuncts, the audit found. It also suggests colleges need to do more to diversify their faculties.

The audit scrutinized faculty hiring practices at four community college districts: Foothill–De Anza, Kern, Los Rios and San Diego. It found that the system over all fell short of its goal that 75 percent of community college classes be taught by full-time professors. Only 18 districts, out of 73, have ever reached this goal, and no district sustained it for more than several years, according to the audit. Some colleges are far from meeting the goal. For example, only half of the classes at the San Diego Community College District are taught by full-time faculty members.

The audit also evaluated how the four districts singled out spent state funds dedicated to hiring more full-time faculty members at community colleges, including $100 million allocated by the state Legislature in 2021. Foothill–De Anza reportedly spent some of the funding on part-time faculty members, and the others left money unspent or couldn’t show that the funds were used to create more full-time faculty positions.

It also found that the diversity of faculty members isn’t representative of the system’s student body. Almost half of students in the system, 47 percent, are Hispanic, compared to 18 percent of faculty members. However, the percentage of Black faculty members matches the percentage of Black students—Black students make up 5.4 percent of the student body, and 5.9 percent of faculty members are Black.

The audit recommends more oversight by the Chancellor’s Office to ensure districts appropriately spend funds intended for full-time faculty members and use best practices for making diverse hires.