Faculty learned of the core change weeks after approval was granted.

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Core protest comes in wake of state approval

By Bleah B. Patterson

By the time the faculty of Northwest Vista College raised its protest of another core change that will replace a humanities credit, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had already approved the change.

Dr. Rex Peebles, assistant commissioner of workforce, academic affairs and research, expressed surprise at The Ranger’s inquiry Thursday, saying he approved the district’s core change request two or three weeks earlier.

The change will take effect in fall 2014.

The initial core change request was made the first week of December.

“I received it in my office a couple of weeks ago and approved it,” Peebles said in a phone interview Feb. 6.

Peebles said he could not comment on the Northwest Vista Faculty Senate’s letter asking the THECB to deny approval because the petition with 131 faculty signatures is still going through the “internal process.”

Peebles said he saw no reason when he received the request for denying it.

“The expectation is that there will be faculty involvement where higher education is involved, as these types of situations (core changes) tend to start from the bottom up,” Peebles said.

The Alamo Colleges request, however, did not originate with faculty and the THECB has no guidelines for the district to seek faculty approval.

“We do not have a policy that includes direct instructions on how to acquire faculty approval,” Peebles said.

In reference to the NVC letter, Peebles said it doesn’t surprise him that faculty and the district disagree in this matter because it’s very common.

“Often times, faculty tend to come from their discipline’s perspective so they don’t always understand the interests of the district,” Peebles said. “Faculty cannot always see the district’s big picture.”

Not all Peebles’ responses seemed to directly answer questions put to him.

“In some cases — though it doesn’t happen often — the decision to overturn faculty decisions rests with the chancellor of a district, and in the case of Alamo Colleges, that is the decision that had to be made.”

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