Chancellor Bruce Leslie not changing his mind

Chancellor Bruce Leslie sent an email response to the Super Senate memo regarding the core curriculum change. Copied on his response to Dawn Elmore, SAC Faculty Senate Chair, are the Board of Trustees, Super Senate members, Vice Chancellors, and college Presidents.

From: Leslie, Bruce H
Sent: Monday, February 17, 2014 7:27 PM
To: Elmore, Dawn L
Cc: RINDFUSS, JAMES; BUSTAMANTE, ANNA U; Katz, Yvonne; CASILLAS, MARCELO; ALDERETE, JOE; ZARATE, ROBERTO; SPRAGUE, GENE; BEITZEL, GARETH; MCCLENDON, DENVER; Hudspeth, Gregory C; Marioneaux, Viviane; Lee, Patrick R; Johnson, George H; Hammel, Sabrina I; Claunch, Jacqueline E; Cleary, Thomas S; Loston, Adena W; Flores, Mike; Zeigler, Robert E; Fabianke, Jo-Carol P; Snyder, Diane E; Silva, Adelina S; Zaragoza, Federico
Subject: Re: Super Senate memo on EDUC 1300
Dear Dawn,
Thank you for your memo regarding EDUC 1300.  It was made clear to me, as explained in the letter from the NVC faculty, that faculty generally disagree with placing EDUC 1300 in the core.  Your memo further reinforces this position.  Thus, it is clear that faculty have expressed their view on this matter.  My memo to the NVC faculty outlined the amount of discussion that included faculty and administrators and, to your point, the vice presidents, expressing faculty opposition, voted not to place EDUC 1300 in the core.  I don’t know that further affirmation of opposition would have provided any further instruction.  What has been telling is that no student-centered reason for this opposition, other than that faculty oppose, has been provided.  Thus, I again encourage faculty to sincerely consider the reasons that I stated for placing EDUC 1300 in the core and provide a cogent argument against this decision, one that clearly enhances student success.
I appreciate your reference to Principle Centered Leadership and our own journey to learn, understand and use these important tools to enhance our organization and its operations.  But it is difficult to find synergy when there is little to work with other than “no”.  As with the several year-long Instructional Materials discussion, I ultimately listened, adjusted and because of the need to act rather than loose another year, to make my recommendation to the Board.  As you know, there was also a deadline in this instance, one that was deferred by the coordinating Board in November but would have been missed if we hadn’t acted by January.  Thus, the necessity of making a decision in December so that we wouldn’t loose another year and miss the opportunity to help our students.  Rather than loose another year, and with no purposeful arguments other than no presented not to include EDUC 1300 in the core, I acted.
The key now is for faculty to continue their efforts to shape EDUC 1300 so that it is the best course possible.  There is much research affirming the value of this approach and an increasing number of colleges, including universities, are adding this to their core  Thus,  I have every expectation that our version will have similar impact.  If not, we must certainly continue to refine it to ensure that our students are benefitted.  An important aspect to this benefit is including the course in the core so that it will automatically transfer to university/college, thus saving state funds and our student’s money and time.  Increased student retention, skills to be successful learners, strategies to better manage our student’s finances and the presentation of the foundations for leadership are also a key aspect to our Board’s Policies for student success.  This strategy is certainly not a silver bullet but, in conjunction with MyMap and our new advising system, introduction of our Institutes model and the enhancement of instructional pedagogy will collectively help us achieve our student retention and completion goals.  Please tell me why these proven best practices as not appropriate for the Alamo Colleges’ Students.
As always, I am clearly seeking synergy and invite you to help design EDUC 1300 to be the best, most effective approach to student success that we can design.  Our students and community deserve no less from us.
I look forward to our Super Senate meeting on Friday and the opportunity to begin a collaborative process to helping our students succeed.
Sincerely,
Dr. Bruce Leslie, Chancellor
The Alamo Colleges
Bleslie@alamo.edu
210-485-0020

Faculty are not opposed to the Chancellor’s proposed EDUC 1300 course itself. The curriculum committees at each college welcome the reintroduction of this course into their process of deliberate consideration. By not following the established curriculum change procedure at each college, Chancellor Bruce Leslie has no idea how his unilateral decision will affect students: graduation timelines, transfer agreements with 4 year colleges, certificate programs, and more. This is why the curriculum change procedure exists – so that faculty at each college can gather the facts and thoughtfully consider how a major change such as this one will affect students.

Chancellor Leslie’s decision to act alone shows a failure of leadership, disrespect for faculty, and a complete lack of disregard for the 60,000 students of the Alamo  Colleges.

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