Alamo Colleges Barely Passed Its Own Accountability Test
Published: April 16, 2014
Peebles says, “I think the chancellor is well aware of this [issue]; he got the same letter I got. There is certainly some kind of dialogue internally, at least, at Alamo Colleges about this.”
Indeed, Leslie received an additional copy of the request and responded with a sprawling 11-page letter, in which he admits he took matters into his own hands.
“I indicated that I understood faculty would oppose this decision, knew it was a difficult one but in order to initiate the course in 2014 and in the best interest of the students, I was making the decision to include it in the core and ask the group to support the decision,” writes Leslie. “The presidents are expected to communicate decisions made at the PVC (presidents and vice chancellors council) with their leadership, faculty and staff, and there was no reason to expect otherwise about this particular decision.”
Leslie acknowledges the faculty’s longstanding opposition, writing,
“[W]e have had the voice of the faculty consistently expressed over several years of their opposition to changing our humanities requirement.”
For Lewis, the response is an admittance that the chancellor dodged faculty involvement because he saw the writing on the wall.
“He’s saying: ‘I knew there would be faculty pushback, I knew you wouldn’t want this to happen, so therefore that counts as faculty input’—that’s his rationale for it, he felt it was something we couldn’t decide on so he would decide for us.”
Rindfuss has a different perspective and treats the decision as a balancing act between meeting external business demands and time.
“It’s not something that just popped up, some faculty have been involved but … people just do not like change,” he says. “So at some point we’ve got to say, ‘We got a deadline here and we gotta do it.’”
A Reversal Of (Core)Course
Despite his earlier efforts, in an e-mail message issued to the Alamo Colleges last Tuesday, Leslie put a short-term end to the complaints by announcing he would remove EDUC 1300 from the core curriculum and instead offer it as an elective.
“While it troubles me to write this, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the Alamo Colleges to redirect our efforts to place the EDUC 1300 course as part of the core. The controversy and divisiveness surrounding this issue have simply outweighed the necessity to push ahead at this time.”
Rindfuss can’t predict the next steps, but says it was heated opposition that led to Leslie’s decision.
“Because of the dissension over this, they decided to reverse course at this point. Other than that, I don’t know what will happen next year,” he says. “I think they wanted everyone to understand more about it before they rolled it out.”
For students, a tone shift has taken place, says Hubbard.
“I believe it shows that the district administration understands that there does need to be some more time as far as how things were rolled out. For students, the procedure was a little too fast for comfort,” he says. “Moving forward the conversation is what students have been pushing for. They’ve been feeling like they’re just speaking in a vacuum and no one is listening.”
> Email Mary Tuma