Summer has been busy and a lot of faculty have been off contract. But District and college administration have kept up their hurried pace, pushing throught various initiatives such as the Alamo INSTITUTES. Our own Dr. Vela appeared in a traveling roadshow with Trustee Kingsbury and Student Trustee Jacob Wong (didn’t he finally graduate?!?) to “help employees understand the importance of Alamo Institutes and the district’s new advising model.” An initiative which has unfortunately suffered from very little faculty input.
SAC Faculty Senate Chair Lisa Black sent this email to all faculty. Emphasis ours. If you can attend tonight’s Board Committee Meeting, please do.
Attached you will find the Power Point presentation and Board Packet which will accompany a joint faculty senate presentation to the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees. The presentation will be given at the BOT student success committee meeting on Tuesday, July 21st, at 6pm. This email is both an explanation of the events and work that led up to this presentation, and a request for your valuable feedback.
This presentation is the culmination of over a year’s worth of significant research and consideration by faculty across all five of our colleges concerning the issue of majors and AlamoINSTITUTES. We have worked on this issue as college senates, focused committees, and during larger joint senate meetings. We have spoken with our respective administration leadership, as well as District leadership. We have held meetings with several members of the Board of Trustees. We have traveled to other community college districts for guidance. Based on our research and ongoing discussions with all of these groups, we have reached the following conclusions:
AlamoINSTITUTES is going forward with or without our input. It is imperative that faculty actively continue to work toward a place at the table in which our collective voice is influential in how AlamoINSTITUTES is implemented and maintained. We are asking the Board and District administration to implement AlamoINSTITUTES slowly, thoughtfully, in stages over several years so that faculty can provide meaningful direction.
Our current model with majors in each discipline is not the best choice for students IF they do not lead to fully or nearly fully transferable coursework into a Bachelor’s degree or to a specific career goal. If done right, the AlamoINSTITUTES model will provide clear pathways to universities and jobs without excessive coursework. Ideally, we want to work toward transfer agreements in which students are guaranteed admission into a program of study at a 4 year college or university upon graduation from one of the Alamo Colleges. There are students that a 4 year degree is not their immediate goal due limits of time, money and purpose. There will be a need for some disciplines to maintain stand alone (not transfer plans) AA and AS degrees for students. We are asking the Board to ensure protections in the policy that allows a process in which we work across colleges to identify and continue offering these degrees, keeping in mind that we must step up to assess them rigorously at a program level if that is not already being done.
Finally, we are asking the Board to acknowledge and support that we need a clearly defined decision making model to be used across the District and all colleges so that faculty are able to participate meaningfully in decisions affecting curriculum and other areas of faculty responsibility and expertise. This model can clearly define our roles and hold all participants accountable for working within those roles. We believe this will move us forward positively and productively in future work across the colleges and with the District administration.
Please take a look at the power point presentation and the Board of Trustees packet. Senators from three colleges (SAC, PAC, and SPC) will be giving the presentation.