Town hall meeting addresses learning framework

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This college will be giving the chancellor a deadline to respond.

By Bleah B. Patterson

The Alamo Colleges Super Senate is sending a letter, similar to Northwest Vista College’s petition to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, to Chancellor Bruce Leslie and trustees.

The letter, expected to be sent today, requests the chancellor’s response by Feb. 19.

In a town hall meeting Monday in the nursing complex, this college’s Faculty Senate distributed copies of a letter from the district’s Super Senate, which is made up of representatives of each of the five colleges’ senates, in conjunction with each of the senates.

Previously, the senates had decided to give the chancellor until March 7 to respond, however, because the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will be making a final decision March 1, the schedule was adjusted.

Before the meeting began, President Dawn Elmore of this college’s senate and NVC senator Neil Lewis were discussing the chancellor’s 11-page response.

Elmore said, “It’s the principle of the thing. You don’t do stuff like this and slap together some B.S., 11-page letter to make it better.”

The letter, written by Elmore, echoes NVC’s Faculty Senate letter in voicing concerns about breaches in the decision-making process in replacing a humanities course in the core curriculum with EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, a recast student development course with added material from two of the late Steven Covey’s self-help books.

“The established procedures in place that afford us shared governance and permit us to take responsibility for the decision were not followed,” the letter reads. “We have very limited ownership due to our exclusion from the process on a larger scale.”

During a 2012-2013 core change, the Alamo Colleges’ faculty banded together to create a process for future core changes, Elmore said. This process was designed to protect faculty and, ultimately, students.

“Faculty members were required to attend a two-hour meeting and received almost weekly emailed updates on the process. Now, with major changes being proposed in our core curriculum, we have yet to receive any communication about this important proposal,” the letter continues.

“The current procedures in place would have allowed for input from each of the constituencies, thus making the decision one in which we all held full stakeholder status,” the letter reads.

The faculty senate said that there was no reason that Chancellor Bruce Leslie wasn’t completely aware of the opposition he faced.

“Our own leadership (President Ziegler and Vice President Vela) consulted with the faculty and our administration advocated our stance. We have on good authority the administration at the other schools voiced the same stance,” Elmore said.

The current status of the change’s approval has become unclear, both this colleges faculty senate and the senate members of NVC feel that the core has been approved and the coordinating board are holding out until Feb. 28 to announce their final decision.

“My understanding is that it has been approved but will not be made final until the deadline,” Lewis said.

Upon reading the Elmore’s proposed letter President Ziegler said that he did not think it would be appropriate for the college to send the letter directly to the coordinating board, nor did he feel comfortable signing the letter even though he agrees that the proper process was not followed.

“The president believes that I we’re going to criticize the Chancellor’s process, then we must lead by example and follow due process,” Elmore said.

Instead, Zeigler is gathering the College Executive Team to investigate the process and write a letter that will be sent directly to the board by the end of this week.

At Tuesday’s College Council meeting, Zeigler said, “I told Dawn that I would get with CET to look at the statement that the Super Senate put out and we would see if we wanted to make a statement or say anything or endorse anything.”


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