Palo Alto students raise concerns at Student District Council meeting.
By Aaron Martinez
Removing majors from degrees makes the process of going to a university more flexible, Chancellor Bruce Leslie told students at the Student District Council meeting April 10 at Killen Center.
Leslie and Adelina Silva, vice chancellor for student success, attended the meeting, which drew students from Palo Alto College and Student Government Association officers from this college and Northwest Vista College.
Leslie said students who complete majors at district colleges could lose up to 24 semester hours at a university.
“We are planning to ensure all of your classes are going to transfer when you have the new degrees,” Silva said. “What’s best for the student is that a student does not have to retake classes when they transfer to a university.”
Leslie stressed retaking courses will cause students to feel like they are not moving forward with their education and not want to continue to a university. “Our intent has never been to hurt anybody,” Leslie said. “Our intent is to make sure it is not wasted time or wasted effort which is going to cause students to drop out at some point.”
Leslie questioned having majors when most U.S. community colleges do not.
Palo Alto students asked how the major changes would affect students getting hired, and student trustee Jacob Wong assured them employers will hire students without majors on their degrees.
Wong said local business leaders told him they would hire students without majors on their degrees.
Hires are based on experience, Wong said.
He said he is working to set up a fall forum where members of City Council, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and public and private universities will answer questions on what businesses want when hiring graduates.
“No real solution came forward,” Wong later said at the SGA meeting at this college April 13. “But we were able to fill in a lot of the gaps and the missing information that they had.”
He referred to Palo Alto students, who argued the district does not have enough transparency, students do not have a voice and they are concerned about degrees for freshmen who started in fall 2014 when they transfer to a four-year university.
“I will agree with you that we have not had a system that works,” Leslie said. “We need to fix the system and students need to be a part of it.”
Leslie said he is open to suggestions from Super Senate, Faculty Senate leaders at the five colleges. The May 22 Super Senate is not open to the public.
Computer science sophomore Simon Sanchez led Palo Alto students as he asked Leslie to be more specific on the removal of majors from degrees. Students said major-change information is hard to find online.
Leslie said, “We are working very deliberately so we can get all this information on the website.”
Administrators plan public forums at each of the colleges, but only Palo Alto has set a date. That forum will be 6-8 p.m. May 6, but no location has been set.
The next SDC meeting is 2 p.m. May 1 at the Killen Center.