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Alamo Colleges Barely Passed Its Own Accountability Test

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Absent Students and Faculty

This disconnect between faculty’s educational values and the chancellor’s attempt to ensure hirable graduates set the stage for an arguably more important organizational dispute. While not inclined to support EDUC 1300 to begin with, faculty and students claim they were “blindsided” by efforts to include it among ACC’s core courses.

“Ordinary procedures were not followed,” Charles Hinkley, chair of the humanities department at Northwest Vista tells the Current. “We have curriculum teams on each campus that discuss curriculum changes; these processes were simply circumvented.”

According to the Colleges’ 2013 core course selection process handbook, aspects like objectives and student outcomes must be met and the course’s strengths and deficiencies debated openly—there’s even a two-page rubric involved. For starters, the Alamo College Curriculum Council, or ACCC, comprised of the chief academic officer of each college and three representatives from each college’s curriculum committee (at least two of whom must be faculty), must sign off on the changes.

“When a course or program is introduced or revised, the discipline team first agrees on the proposed item. Those curriculum proposals are vetted through each college’s curriculum committee. …” the review process states. The ACCC then recommends the courses to the chancellor’s cabinet of presidents and vice chancellors for approval.

But that didn’t happen, say faculty, who claim they were only alerted to the change after the fact.

Lewis says, “We were really surprised, the more you talked with people—from the president to the vice president to anyone on campus—the more you realized no one knew about this. At the very top of the organization, there was no information shared ... We were really blindsided.”

While procedurally speaking, faculty—not students—are required to be part of the core curriculum review process, students have certainly sounded off about feeling shut out from the discussion as well, resulting in some tense exchanges between Leslie and student representatives.

“We’ve had multiple forums with our administration to understand the process it took. Students say they weren’t first consulted or … didn’t seem to have … input,” Andrew Hubbard, president of the Student Government Association at SAC and chair of the Alamo Colleges Student Council, tells the Current.

A February SGA survey asked students, “Did you agree that college credit of humanities should be replaced by college credit courses based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?” Of those polled, 18 percent said yes; 40 percent said no and 41 percent were not sure. Hubbard says the results signify most students were either opposed or so removed from the process they weren’t able to respond.

On the faculty side, the only information they were getting, says Lewis, is when professors picked up the San Antonio College newspaper or called the state coordinating board themselves to understand the details.

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