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Audit: Community colleges rely too much on part-time faculty, misspending funds

Original post made on Mar 2, 2023

An audit shows California's community colleges do not employ enough full-time faculty and, in some cases, districts are using state funds allocated for those faculty to instead hire part-time instructors.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 9:56 PM

Comments (4)

Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2023 at 1:47 am

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

Missing from this article and the audit it describes is any explanation of why 75% of community college faculty should be full-time, and why colleges should be criticized or possibly punished if they fail to reach that goal.

Obviously, it's great for teachers if they have a full-time job, and it perhaps provides more opportunities for students to learn from and talk to teachers if they're full-time, but having such a requirement also mandates--by implication at least--that 75% of all teachers at community colleges teach subjects for which the college offers enough classes for them to have a full-time job.

This is a problem, because there are many subjects that community colleges offer that often don't include enough classes for someone to teach full time. This situation has gotten worse during the last fifteen years as community colleges, including Foothill, have drastically cut programs because of legislation that California passed in response to the Great Recession of 2008-2009. This included budget cuts, and budget redirections which funneled money away from programs the Legislature didn't prioritize to programs that it did. Art and P.E. programs were deliberately targeted for reductions, especially classes like Choir, Band, and Dance that students could take multiple times, and classes that students tended to take for personal enrichment rather than as requirements for degrees.

All of this has left community colleges, especially Foothill, with a paucity or complete lack of classes in many beloved subjects from music to creative writing to non-English languages. For all these subjects to have full-time faculty instead of the dedicated part-time instructors who often teach them, the schools would either need to offer more classes in these subjects--which is unlikely without more money--add more work for teachers who are already full-time, or consolidate different subjects under single teachers to avoid hiring specialized part-time instructors.

Posted by connie kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 2, 2023 at 11:42 am

connie kettendorf is a registered user.

When I took a number of courses at Foothill C.C., I was admiring of the instructors who worked in the field of study in which they taught. Life experience added valuable insight to the discourse.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2023 at 11:59 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

The article says, "Just 18% of faculty identify as Hispanic, compared with 47% of community college students, according to the audit. The share of Black faculty, however, is representative of the student body: 5.9% of all faculty, while Black students are 5.4% of the student body."

According to 2020 Census data, Hispanics are 18.9 percent of the total U.S. population and 25% of Santa Clara County population. The number of that group with college and advanced degrees qualifying them to teach at the college level is not available, but certainly is smaller.

It is wonderful that the opportunity to get a college education is available to these young people--many of them, I understand will be the first generation of their family to reach this level of education. That is very good news. However, is it reasonable, to expect the percentage of Hispanic professors to mirror the very high percentage of Hispanics in this college pool (47%), given the demographics above? We want high quality teachers for these promising young people. The percentage of HIspanics at this college GREATLY exceeds the percentage of HIspanics in the population. It may not be possible to hire 47% Hispanic professors. Context matters a lot with statistics.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 8, 2023 at 11:51 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The major universities have an extension class location in Santa Clara. The people who are looking for MBA's that are paid for by their employer. They attend after work. Their teachers are experienced professionals in the field study of the specific class. The teachers are telling you what is going on in the real world - Bechtel, etc. You learn from your teachers and from each other. These teachers are not looking for a full time employment in the schools.

Community Colleges today are not functioning in the same way as in the past. Foothill has a whole VISA Program that brings foreign students in. Now they are working on a certification for some professional jobs in the dental and medical fields. The world of Community Colleges is based on location. Proximity to a four year school. Acceptance to a UC/CSU system school is key. For teachers they are looking for Tenure which gives them retirement benefits. Not sure that the CC system can afford that - not their calling.

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