College council scrutinizes graduation process

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The deadline to turn in Flex I grades is today.

By Richard Montemayor

rmontemayor15@student.alamo.edu

Growing concern over the graduation application process was the main topic at the March 17 college council meeting.

The faculty members were concerned students have to apply on paper and online to graduate.

Director of Admissions Martin Ortega acknowledged that the process needs improvement.

“We definitely want to improve, and ultimately implementing some improvements to that process.”

Ortega plans to ask for volunteers in order to do a true focus PDCA, or Plan Do Check Act, on the graduation application process.

“I’ve gone through the focus training last summer. I am by no means an expert in the process, but I know enough of it to get myself in trouble,” he said.

Ortega said he believes the focus training is a really good way to identify some stakeholders to support the graduation application process among faculty, students and student success staff.

“(This will) take a look at what do we currently have in place and where are some clear opportunities to make a process better in the response for the concerns that were raised,” Ortega said.

President Robert Vela asked if there is a target date for getting recommendations.

“Yes, we want to begin as soon as possible this spring and probably carry over for the summer with a recommendation improvement process to be implemented for our fall 2015 graduates. The current process for graduation will remain unchanged for the spring and summer,” Ortega said.

Thomas E. Billimek, psychology chair, expressed concern over degree audits, which determine if students are eligible to graduate.

“If district is going to do the degree audits, then let district do them,” he said. “If not, then get out of our business and let us do our own thing.”

Lisa Alcorta, interim vice president for student success, assured him her office will work on clarifying language and communicating better.

“I think we just need to be able to communicate better information with everyone else in this room ensuring whatever online application we are getting and whatever paper documents that we’re getting as well that they are aligned,” Alcorta said.

Billimek voiced frustration students have to apply for graduation two different ways.

“This doesn’t make sense; why does the student have to apply online and on paper together,” he said. “If there was some way for applying online where they can identify their major and it goes to that department, but we don’t get that.”

Vela agreed with Billimek.

“How would you know unless you are getting some kind of daily message in your departmental inbox that these students are applying?” Vela said. “Our charge here is basically we don’t want duplication and publication of things. Do it one time and get it in the form that we can utilize in a department level to begin that degree audit.”

Vela reassured everyone “we will get this issue resolved.”

Ortega also presented the new student orientation team and the deadline for turning in Flex I grades.

“We got a new student orientation team that will re-launch how we are going to be doing student orientation with a more strategic schedule,” he said.

The deadline to turn in Flex I course grades is 11:59 p.m. March 23.

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