Super Senate and board discuss instructional materials

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Students may have to pay for textbooks at time of registration.

By Katherine Garcia

The board of trustees listened but took no action on an instructional materials proposal from the chancellor and a response by the Super Senate in a special board meeting Tuesday at Killen Center.

Trustees could take action on the proposal at the regular monthly board meeting at 6 p.m. today in Killen Center.

The Super Senate is composed of representatives of senates at the district’s five colleges.

Chancellor Bruce Leslie proposed selecting a common textbook to be used in courses offered at multiple colleges in the district. Students would pay for these instructional materials at registration, and material would change only when a better book has been found.

Books would be paid at registration to ensure every student has a textbook on the first day of class, according to the chancellor’s proposal.

The goal is to find the best instructional material at the lowest, possible cost, meaning if there were a slightly more expensive option that was a better choice, then that textbook would be chosen, according to his proposal.

“If we can tell them (the vendors) how many copies are needed based on prior enrollment, that that should significantly reduce the cost of the text,” said Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success.

Dr. Gregory Hudspeth, Faculty Senate president at St. Philip’s College, led the senate in the argument of keeping the one textbook per course per college policy.

“What we wanted to do was establish an environment in which we were able to hear your charge to the chancellor-and the chancellor has shared that with us, and how do we work collectively to accomplish that task?”

Also present were George Johnson, chaiar of the Alamo Colleges District Council of Chairs; Dawn Elmore, English professor and Faculty Senate president at this college; Patrick Lee, Faculty Senate president at Palo Alto; Viviane Marioneux, Faculty Senate president at Northwest Vista; and Sabrina Hammel, Facuty Senate president at Northeast Lakeview.

Elmore argued different textbooks mean students will be presented with different problems to solve.

“I always thought diversity in education was a good thing, and that innovation comes from diversity,” she said.

District 6 trustee Gene Sprague argued that diversity comes from the educator, not the textbook.

Leslie said there is a benefit to collaboratively searching for the best textbook for students.

The best instructional material and pedagogy will be chosen through a districtwide evaluation process, Leslie said in his proposal to the board.

The term “instructional materials” refers to the eventual transition to ebooks only in the state.

Students could also print a copy from the electronic version for about $15, the proposal stated, adding when the approach was tested at St. Philip’s, no students printed the material.

Students prefer using actual textbooks, Marioneux said, adding that if students are eventually forced to use an electronic version, they would be unable to buy earlier versions at a cheaper cost.


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