Chancellor Bruce Leslie and the board of trustees are deciding whether to award associate degrees with “pre-majors” or no major at all before students transfer to a four-year institution.
The problem is the term pre-major turns an already insane list of steps students must go through — as required by the state of Texas and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges — just to enroll in the Alamo Colleges into something completely pointless.
If pre-majors are approved, students who enroll in this college in the 2016-17 academic year will meet with an adviser to discuss a prospective occupation, pick a four-year transfer institution and select one of six Alamo Institutes.
They would not pick a pre-major until they are 30 credit hours into their time at Alamo Colleges.
All this does is create a conveyor belt of undeclared students forced to stay in line and not deviate from it.
The district is more focused on getting students out of here quickly, rather than making sure each student is accomplishing goals that can change at a moment’s notice.
It discourages students from exploring options outside their Alamo Institute.
Plus, imagine a student putting “pre-major” on their résumé; they would be laughed out of their interview.
The board’s heart is, in all likelihood, in the right place, but pre-majors do nothing but herd students like cattle into a specific Alamo Institute.
Then you have chairs not only handling their entire departments and pointless Covey training, but making time to meet with local business leaders to figure out exactly what “marketable skills” are.
For those in fields with direct examples, such as engineering, students might as well go to trade school to get those skills than have “pre-major” on their résumé.
For the inexact fields, such as philosophy, English and history, who are those department heads supposed to speak to?
Fellow philosophy professors? High school English teachers?
Nobody hires these majors with just an associate degree anyway, so what good would marketable skills be?
Students are human beings with the right to change their mind.