By Bleah B. Patterson
Some faculty involved in Friday’s Learning Framework and Student Development committee meeting wonder how EDUC 1300 will be completed in time for the April 21 start of fall registration, and it looks as if students may be registering for a class that is barely in the planning stages.
“We know we’ll offer the class, so we can put it on the schedule,” Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor of academic success, said in a phone interview Monday. “The curriculum decisions and training just need to be done by the beginning of the fall semester.”
The March 28 meeting to discuss details of EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, ran from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the president’s conference room here. It was closed to the public.
The course, to be implemented in fall 2014 replacing one humanities requirement in the core curriculum, has been in the spotlight as faculty have protested the decision-making process and students protested losing a humanities credit being forced to take a student development course embedded with materials from Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Each of the five colleges is working on reports in response to a request from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the region’s accrediting agency.
In light of the controversy, Michael Johnson, SACS/COC senior vice president, has launched an investigation of the process. Should the investigation show there wasn’t enough faculty involvement, each of the institutions would be in violation of the accreditation agency’s code and could affect accreditation.
St. Philip’s College is approaching reaffirmation in 2015, and this college is preparing for 2016 reaccreditation.
Twenty-two employees representing the five Alamo Colleges were invited to participate in the meeting, including Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student and academic success at this college; and Northwest Vista College’s Jimmie Bruce, vice pres
ident of academic success, and Debi Gaitan, vice president of student success.
Dehlia Wallis, coordinator of student development here, said student learning outcomes, or SLOs, and competencies were discussed, not instructional materials.
Each college decides on textbooks for 18 courses switching to e-books in fall as a first step to the chancellor’s end goal to standardize instructional material across the five Alamo Colleges and eventually convert to 100 percent free, open-source materials.
However, Fabianke confirmed previously that FranklinCovey Co., creator of training materials accompanying Stephen Covey’s bestselling “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” have been asked to provide instructional material unique to the district for EDUC 1300.
The course will not be part of the e-book, one-textbook-per-course pilot in the fall.
“We were divided into groups,” said Wallis, who is in the Learning Framework group. Each group presented recommendations to create a rough draft of a proposal. “We have been instructed to share the recommendations we came up with,” Wallis said.
Fabianke instructed the members to share at their discretion but no other guidelines. She facilitated the meeting and set the agenda for the committee of four administrators and 18 faculty.
She requested The Ranger not publish the courtesy draft she provided because she was concerned that it would be misinterpreted as a final copy.
When told Thursday The Ranger would post the proposal online, Fabianke said, “It’s not public; it’s an internal document.”
She argued that committee members were chosen because they could “handle” the committee’s work, and if a faculty member of the committee chose to, they could share the proposal with a class they “trust.”
The decision to post was based on differing definitions of “internal” and that the committee was to distribute the proposal to collect feedback.
Vela was part of a series of meetings in fall 2013 to create SLOs for EDUC 1300. “This meeting was very similar,” he said. “It was more drilled down as far as the competencies we discussed. It was a lot more work and a bit more comprehensive.”
He said there has been a steady progression since the first meeting (Sept. 5).
Vela said the group revisited the original outcomes to ensure relevancy. “We also mapped everything out — the core competencies required by the (Texas Higher Education) Coordinating Board.”
In a draft constructed during the meeting, the committee created an outline for both SDEV 0300 and EDUC 1300.
First-time college students who fail to test into college-level reading, writing, math, a combination or all, will be required to take both courses.
The committee outlined competencies for SDEV that include preparing students for career exploration, financial literacy, time management, learning styles, study skills and the ability to “recognize constructive life skills and their impact on academic success.”
In the Learning Framework portion: “Students will ex-plore, identify and develop beliefs and attitudes through the study of the psychology of learning and cognition.”
Wallis said she isn’t concerned about the courses being too similar because SDEV focuses on skills while EDUC 1300 focuses on psychological aspects of learning.
She doubted the committee will finalize the course before fall registration begins April 21. “We’ll meet again to look over the feedback we receive on April 11, so I’m hoping we’ll have everything done shortly after that.”
Philosophy Professor Amy Whitworth said the controversy surrounding the course was avoided March 28 as the main goal was to make the course as successful as possible.
“I actually feel very good about the SLOs discussion we had,” she said. “It was completely faculty-led and faculty-decided. Because of that process, I felt comfortable.”
Whitworth wanted to make clear that the work faculty did in the meeting in no way decided whether the course would continue. “We didn’t talk about the recent letters about accreditation or controversy. We decided that would be tabled for this discussion,” Whitworth said.
Learning Framework and Student Development committee members
For the first draft of the Learning Framework proposal, email a committee member. All email is @alamo.edu
Patsy Stelter English, pvilarreal12
Cristella Diaz math, cdiaz
Gary Bowling SDEV, gbowling1
Cindi Bluhm dev ed advising, cbluhm
Jeannette Jones social sciences, jjones
Traina Cowan social sciences, tdiehl
Jimmie Bruce, VP academic services, jbruce
Debi Gaitan VP student services, dgaitan
Yolanda Reyna counseling, yreyna
Daniel Rodriguez counseling, prodriguez1
Katherine Beaumont welcome ctr, kbeaumont
Maria Diaz advising ctr, mdiaz150
Julie Engel SDEV, jengel2
Emma Mendiola dean of student affairs, cmedniola-perez
Dehlia Wallis, coordinator of SDEV, dstrong2
Amy Whitworth philosophy, awhitworth
Robert Vela, VP academic and student success, rvela63
Sean Nighbert communications & learning, snighbert
Joann Davis communications & learning, jdavis256
Stephen Glover communications & learning, sglover4
Diane Hester library & SDEV, dhester
Melissa Sutherland-Hunt, SDEV, msutherland7