Discussion regarding degrees coming to a close

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Regular board meeting Tuesday is open to faculty, students and commuity.

By Melissa Luna

mluna132@student.alamo.edu

The board will decide the fate of the policy to remove designations from the associate of arts and associate of sciences degrees Tuesday during a regular board meeting at Killen Center.

Policy E.1.3, which includes a “pre-major designation (that) provides students with the greatest flexibility to customize their course schedule and program to meet both their academic interest areas and the specific requirements of their intended transfer institution,” would take effect spring 2016.

“The biggest benefits for students are to save time and money and maximizing the amount of transfer hours,” Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success, said Tuesday at the Student Success Committee meeting at Killen Center.

As part of the reaffirmation process, this college told the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges that students will be awarded degrees for transfer rather than discipline-specific.

Each advising guide will include a block of coursework providing students with skills needed for the workforce and also satisfy freshmen and sophomore requirements at a university.

“We want students to gain marketable skills that are needed in the workforce,” Fabianke said in an Oct. 1 phone interview. “This is how we will teach students what employers want them to know.”

Academic leaders will meet with employers in the community to figure out what marketable skills they look for in an entry-level applicant.

Fabianke explained faculty would cross course competencies with sought out marketable skills, such as problem-solving and group communication, into classes and ensure those classes get into the advising guides.

Using AlamoInstitutes and the new advising system, the goal is to create a direct pathway for students to complete a transfer program without taking extra courses. Incoming freshmen will meet with an adviser, choose an institute and pick a transfer plan for the university they intend to transfer to.

Students will choose from six institutes: creative and communication arts, health and biosciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics, public service, business and entrepreneurship, and science and technology.

The student is expected to follow the guide to university to ensure all hours count toward a bachelor’s degree.

In the event students want to change majors, the adviser’s goal is to keep the student within their already chosen institute.

If students don’t know what pathway they want, they will follow a generic plan until almost 30 hours are completed. Then a decision must be made.

The transfer curriculum is similar to the core curriculum, but the student focuses on completing a baccalaureate degree and gaining marketable skills instead of just an associate degree.

“It’s the same system we’re doing now, but we’re implementing it differently,” Fabianke said. “This is a way for faculty and Alamo Colleges to work directly with universities and their faculty.”

Faculty Senate has been in discussion and debate since April 2014 when the college presidents and vice chancellors committee decided not to offer diplomas with specified majors.

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