At January’s Board of Trustees meeting, Dr. Mike Settles from San Antonio College was the lone speaker during Citizens to Be Heard:
- “The most productive employees are happy employees. Dr. Leslie has said that it is not his job to make employees happy.”
- “Faculty morale is at the lowest it has ever been.”
- “Dr Leslie has been untruthful in….” [several items are mentioned]
- Regarding the management of money: “Smaller amount of money goes to instruction and more and more to District.”
- “Texas A&M University spends 3.6% of its budget on administration. According to the SAC Ranger [Alamo Colleges] is spending 34% of our budget on administration.”
We faculty at Northwest Vista College have read your response to the concerns raised by Dr. Settles during the December, 2014 Board of Trustees meeting. As public servants at a public institution founded upon the principle of shared governance, we have an obligation to not only develop curriculum and teach our students, but to advocate for adequate classroom resources to accomplish these ends effectively.With these goals in mind, we are concerned that the “fact-based” claims in your letter, particularly about the budget, seem quite at odds with what we are experiencing at this college. Our average class size has grown to such a degree that our full-time instructors are teaching the equivalent of an extra section of students, for virtually the same pay. At the same time, we have seen too heavy a reliance on part-time faculty to such a degree that it has begun to get the attention of our accrediting agency.From the perspective of our students, this could mean less interaction with the instructor, a shift to less “grading intensive” (i.e. less academically rigorous) work, and an increased likelihood that their instructors will be contingent adjuncts, not required to hold office hours and likely working at one or more other institutions (See CCSSE data chart below). Given the disconnect between your budget data and our daily experience with students on campus, we wish to pose a few questions to you in the spirit of a principle you embrace: “Seek first to understand…”
1. How do you explain the dramatic drop in Instructional Expenditures per FTE student from 2008-2012 at Northwest Vista College, and where did this money go during these years?2. Are our administrative costs really not growing as District administration has burgeoned?3. Are you and the Board aware of the negative impact these budget cuts to “Instructional Expenditures” have had on our students?4. Are you aware that your policies are putting the fiscal viability of the colleges and District in jeopardy by increasing the administrative overhead at the District while pursuing policies that have actually led to enrollment decreases and thus reduced state funding?