Adjuncts argue against one-textbook proposal

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Amanda Martin, English adjunct and chair of Adjunct Faculty Council, explains the district’s reasons behind the one-textbook agreement Oct. 29 in Loftin.  Photo by Emily Rodriguez

Amanda Martin, English adjunct and chair of Adjunct Faculty Council, explains the district’s reasons behind the one-textbook agreement Oct. 29 in Loftin. Photo by Emily Rodriguez

By Emily Rodriguez

erodriguez734@student.alamo.edu

In response to the district’s one-textbook per course proposal, media communications Adjunct Jerry Townsend was elected by Adjunct Faculty Council to draft a position paper against the agreement during their meeting Oct. 29.

The one-textbook agreement would require faculty of the five Alamo Colleges to agree on which textbook will be used for each course offered.

This college offers 734 courses of which 100 are unique to this campus. The other 600 course textbooks will have to be decided before April in time for fall 2014.

Council members agreed the agreement would take away the freedom of faculty at each college to choose how to teach courses.

“It’s a serious issue of academic freedom and it’s a serious issue of individual campuses having their own identities,” Townsend said. “We don’t have the same kind of students that (Northwest Vista College) has, for example; and they don’t have the same kind that we have. If we chose a textbook, it would not be as appropriate for their students as they would choose.”

Townsend said a reason behind the district’s agreement is to lower costs for students.

Amanda Martin, Adjunct Faculty Chair and English adjunct, said another reason district is in favor of the agreement is to prevent students from having to buy another textbook if they retake a course at another college.

Townsend said administrators should not have a role in deciding textbook usage.

“Our academic integrity is really in question. People are making decisions on how to choose textbooks; it’s not their business,” he said. “They’re business is to find the money so that we can do the job and help us with programs and to bring new ideas. The textbook is the curriculum, and that’s our province as faculty members. That is not the province of administrators on a campus level or particularly the district.”

The council members asked if there are data that the district has found that would support the agreement.

Townsend said he is yet to see any data, and as this has become a data-driven college district, there must be data to support the agreement.

Adjunct Faculty Council is not the only faculty body against the agreement. Faculty Senate members also voiced their disapproval of the textbook proposal during their Oct. 2 and Wednesday meetings.

The draft was completed and was read by Martin to members of the Faculty Senate Wednesday.

After changes have been made to the draft, it will be sent to college administrators and adjuncts.

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