Faculty Senate puzzled over common textbooks idea

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By Ryan Johnston

Confusion over the use of common textbooks in the near future raised major concerns during the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday.
History Professor Jonathan Lee said a colleague at St. Philip’s College brought it to his attention, insisting the colleges will be moving to common textbooks.
“I hate repeating rumor, but are we supposed to wait to hear something and then react?” he said.
Many senate members said that in the past, President Robert Zeigler has told faculty all the rumors about common textbooks were just rumors and not to worry about it.
President Terry Walch said she would look into this at the next Bookstore Committee meeting and report back to the senate.
In other news, Christy Woodward-Kaupert, political science professor, spoke on values and a survey that was passed around the entire Alamo Community College District.
However, she concluded that the survey had mixed results because most participants were confused on whether they were supposed to talk about their own college or the district offices.
“There was some confusion with the survey,” she said. “It construed the survey as college or district; I strongly encourage you to read it. I don’t think much was measured.”
Dr. Jessica Howard, music and humanities chair, asked if the main reason for confusion was over the college and district values.
“They were supposed to talk about the district, not the individual colleges,” Woodward-Kaupert said. “There were mixed results at all the colleges, and there was a significant variance at St. Philip’s College, but at district, no question, they are not happy.”
The senate also discussed a Feb. 18 forum for the faculty to review the values of the district, which many could not attend because it was scheduled during one of the busiest class times.
Senate Secretary John Deosdade said most of the faculty were not too thrilled with the definitions set for the five values settled on.
“I wasn’t too impressed with the meeting,” he said.
The five values that were under consideration were freedom, integrity, communication, accountability and community.
Woodward-Kaupert displayed her dissatisfaction with one of the values, freedom.
“We had much discussion on that and how it should be ‘academic freedom,’” she said.
Howard said that if this was an important topic to the senate, then members should bring it up with the values committee and Chancellor Bruce Leslie.
“That protects us in the classroom,” Howard said. “If we insist on that being a core value, I think it would send a powerful message.”
However, Woodward-Kaupert said she never recalled academic freedom being a core value for any of the other colleges.
“This is a time when they may be looking for input,” Howard said. “Now’s the time, or forever hold our peace.”
After much discussion on the difference between freedom and academic freedom, Howard came to the conclusion that the senate should write a statement to the committee and other college Faculty Senates to change freedom to academic freedom.
“This is an easy one for them to piggy back on, I think it’s a slam dunk,” Howard said.
In other business, the fact that students can participate in the college’s annual May graduation ceremony before obtaining all of the required credit hours grabbed many senators’ attention.
Howard said students with a maximum of 12 semester hours to finish can cross the stage, but not receive a diploma until the hours were completed. However, they would have to finish these courses during the following summer.
“No one knows about this,” she said. “There is this conception that we’re not completing at SAC. I have a feeling that if they cross the stage, they will be more invested in their education and be more likely to finish. This is a huge opportunity to increase our graduation rate.”
In other news, the Policy and Governance Committee spoke about standing committees on campus.
Howard said the committee would recommend that college committees, new or old, that do not report to Academic Council be made to report their work.
With the senate in agreement, the motion was passed to recommend this to Academic Council.
The next senate meeting will be at 2:15 p.m. April 2 in Room 120 of the visual arts center.


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