District Seeks Faculty Approval on Advising Plans After the Fact

From Tony Villanueva, President of PAC AAUP to members of the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees:
On Nov 13 and 14th,  faculty leads were asked to attend a meeting to “work on advising plans.”  Below is a quickly drafted, hand-written memo to express our dismay at what appears to be an attempt to demonstrate that faculty approve of the decision to remove majors from transcripts.  We were asked to participate in an exercise to “validate” the advising plans and to sign-off on the form.  For those of us who attended the Nov 14 session, we quickly felt that the meeting was awkward and felt like a set-up to feign approval of the decision to remove majors.
For sure, it is unreasonable to ask faculty to “validate” advising plans on a mere 2 hr workshop and to sign-off on the form.  Advising plans and validating course transfers takes much longer than a mere 2 hr workshop.
At the meeting, the presenter (Vice Chancellor Jo-Carol Fabianke) was met with numerous questions and comments pertaining to the appropriateness of the removal of majors and the process by which it was decided.  Attempts to hold a discussion on the merits of removing majors from transcripts were met with remarks that the decision had already been made and not part of the exercise at hand.  Further, we were told that any concerns that students/faculty may have regarding transcripts have already been addressed.  The solution proposed is unclear and requires clarification.  Again, faculty, as far as I know, were not included in this resolution, therefore not properly evaluated by independent colleges.
The level of discomfort at this meeting was palpable.  The memo below is a clear demonstration of the disconnect from each of the colleges with District.  It concerns many of us that the level of disconnect has reached a level that creates significant morale concerns leading to a dysfunctional college atmosphere, ultimately affecting the students that we serve.
Further, we are concerned that SACSCOC will view such information, along with memos from the faculty senates, signatures from faculty and department leads, and disapproval from AAUP chapters from all colleges, as clear evidence of District’s violation to allow colleges to function independently and autonomously on academic matters.   If the Board does not intervene we may  be risking sanctions and even loss of accreditation.  An investigation of this highly questionable decision (to remove majors) is warranted.   I urge the Board to convene an independent task force to investigate this matter carefully in order to avert problems with accreditation of the colleges.  Our hope is that the Alamo Colleges Board of Directors addresses the concern thoroughly before regulatory bodies (THECB and SACSCOC) are forced to intervene.
(I typed the contents of the hand-written memo below and attached a photo.  Please excuse the informality of the memo – handwritten – as it was drafted at the spur of the moment and upon becoming aware of the presumptive nature of the workshop.)
Memorandum for Record
 
To:  Southern Association
 
From:  Undersigned Faculty, PAC, SAC, SPC, NVC, NLC
On Nov 14 at 1 pm a meeting was convened of selected faculty to “help” with making changes in curriculum.  While we were assembled as an exercise to attempt to show that faculty supports the administrative “pre decided” decisions regarding advising guide and majors, we the undersigned faculty do not agree with the administration.  Our attendance at this meeting does not signify our agreement with the administration.
Transfer Degree No Approval   

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