The community invests in students’ education.
By Bleah B. Patterson
District officials aim to clarify incorrectly dubbed “generic degrees,” insisting they are still associate degrees but can now be classified as “transfer degrees.”
Student trustee Jacob Wong met with Dr. Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success, Wednesday to lobby on students’ behalf, and said he was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
“We’ve been using the wrong terminology all along,” he said. “This isn’t a generic degree. She told me if students understand that it’s a transfer degree, like a pathway to their bachelor’s degree, it makes a lot more sense.”
Fabianke said the issue is a waste of money and time.
“We feel it’s to (the students’) advantage to get the most of your classes to transfer,” and that currently isn’t the case, Fabianke said.
Administrators at the district and college level have consistently expressed concern about students who take classes for degree programs at one of the five Alamo Colleges and have to retake similar classes at a four-year university.
“Students once had to choose whether (just to) transfer, taking only the classes that they would actually be able to transfer, or getting a degree. Now they can do both,” Fabianke said.
Wong said students of community colleges should be responsible about their education because they are the community’s investment.
“Students don’t pay for all of their tuition. Bexar County residents pay a portion of that,” Wong said. “Students should be responsible with that money and not waste time taking courses that aren’t transferrable. They should get their degrees and then get into the workforce, giving back to the community.”
The state also contributes to the cost of students’ education at community colleges.
Fabianke said Alamo Institutes are the next step, allowing broad areas of study in business, technology, health services and other district-dubbed “pathways,” where students can move around within that field “getting their feet wet” and still transfer with all their credit hours.
The Alamo Institutes are scheduled to launch officially in 2017.
Students who enrolled before this semester will not be affected by the degree change for now. Students who enrolled this fall will not see a concentration printed on their diplomas.
Dr. Robert Vela, president of this college, said in a College Council meeting Oct. 14 he hopes to find compromise, possibly printing “transfer degree” and an area of study on diplomas.
Fabianke said the Presidents and Vice Chancellors Committee, known as the PVC, has nothing on its agenda to change that yet.