Core curriculum change: too big to fail?

More articles from The Ranger and Inside Higher Ed about embattled Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie and his decision to make EDUC 1300 a part of the core curriculum for all students. Promises and deals have been made with Covey. Money has changed hands. Chancellor Leslie knew the faculty would never agree to their course’s inclusion in the core, so he unilaterally made the decision himself. In other words, too much money has already been spent on his special project and it is too big to fail.

Learning Framework to benefit training firm

Cost of Covey training increases five-fold to $3.5 million, according to a town hall presentation.

Included was the widespread announcement that the Alamo Colleges will serve as a guinea pig for Franklin Covey Co., to expand its market from K-12 into higher education.

Representatives of Franklin Covey met twice in the fall with the Student Academic Success Council, co-chaired by Dr. Robert Vela, vice president for academic and student success, and Dr. CynthiaMendiola-Perez, associate vice chancellor for student and program development.

The district is collaborating with Franklin Covey, the company behind “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and its extensive line of training and planning materials.

Covey intends to release a textbook specifically for EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, that will be required for every student taking the course.

11-page letter from chancellor addresses history of latest core change

Faculty were unaware that the core change had been approved until they read it in The Ranger.

“We have had the voice of the faculty consistently expressed over several years of their opposition to changing our humanities requirement,” Leslie wrote.

During a Dec. 6 PVC meeting to make the final decision regarding the change, Leslie chose to avoid additional faculty input and submit the core change for approval.

“I indicated that I understood faculty would oppose this decision … 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,” Leslie wrote.

Humanities or Self-Help?

Leslie said he’s been in talks with the company on developing materials, a mix of print and online resources. The chancellor said the district has spent about $700,000 so far on the endeavor, but added that the investment is front-loaded, since much of the money will go into training faculty who will teach the course. Other faculty will be versed in the 7 Habits as well, Leslie said, as he hopes instructors across disciplines will begin to “embed” it in their courses.

3 comments

  1. I suggest we consider taking this issue to AAUP for possible censure of the Alamo Colleges. We should wait to see how the Super Senate meeting Friday pans out before considering what we want to do, i believe. Jerry Townsend

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