Order to remove CIP codes shows dangerous disconnect at District

On October 18, Alamo Colleges department chairs received an email from Christa Emig (District Director of Curriculum Coordination and Transfer Articulation) stating that since the Alamo Colleges now only have “programs” instead of “degrees” that we should deactivate our CIP codes. The deadline to do this? October 31.

What’s a CIP and why is it important? From the Texas Higher Education Data web site:

The Texas CIP codes are used to identify degree and certificate programs, courses, and declared majors on the reports and inventories of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The first six digits of each code are identical to those in the Classification of Instructional Programs taxonomy published by the National Center for Educational Statistics. The seventh and eighth digits, when they are not zeroes, are Texas suffixes intended to better specify the diversity of courses and program offerings in Texas.

The two digits following the CIP code are the formula funding code. The formula funding code is important whenever the CIP codes are used to identify the content of courses. Degree programs are not funded, except through the individual courses they require.

So in other words, the colleges would not receive funding from the state if we removed those codes. These codes also identify courses and programs in high demand. The CIP ensures that colleges receive even more funding for these offerings. It is our understanding that if these codes are deactivated you can’t just ask for them back. Once they’re gone they are gone. In order to add them back each course would have to undergo the entire curriculum review process. Again. Also, if you want to pull a state report on courses and programs you can easily achieve this through the use of those CIP codes. No CIPs? No detailed program-level data.

When the October 18 email hit the inboxes of faculty, SAC’s President Dr. Robert Vela was notified immediately. Dr. Vela was reportedly surprised to learn about this District request. Presidents of each independently accredited college make these kinds of decision, not District! Thanks to the quick action of Dr. Vela this request from District was rescinded. We don’t know if Christa Emig was acting on behalf of another District administrator (Jo-Carol Fabianke?), but this incident quite clearly shows the alarming and dangerous level of disconnect at District with how each college operates.

The removal of degrees. The removal of individual college catalogs. The removal of CIP codes. The District administration seems to be grasping for relevance by poking it’s finger further and further into college business. But District does not have to answer to SACSCOC. The independently accredited colleges do.




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