Departments play musical chairs

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By Wally Perez

gperez239@student.alamo.edu

This college is undergoing a reorganization of departments and programs that will also change for some which dean they report to.

Nothing is set in stone, but there is a plan for where certain programs will possibly be moved so they best align with the AlamoInstitutes.

There are 19 department chairs, but the proposed plan is to lower that number to 12.

Chairs were notified of the proposal in a joint chairs meeting Feb. 4 and were given until Friday to report any feedback.

Dr. Conrad Krueger, dean of arts and sciences, has worked with others on the plan since last December.

The proposed plan started with a conversation between Krueger and Vernell Walker, dean of professional and technical education.

They took it to Dr. Jothany Blackwood, vice president of academic success, and eventually to the college  executive team.

“There were a lot of variables that went into the decision of reorganizing the departments. One had to do with the sizes of the department,” Krueger said. “We wanted to make it equitable for the chairs as far as their workload goes.”

There are also other things like complications of the departments, including certificates, number of accreditations, number of degrees and location.

Krueger said that not all workloads have been even and there were concerns from different chairs over the last several years regarding the uneven workload.

With this in mind, chairs will be moving from 10 ½-month contracts to 12-month contracts so all the chairs will have the same schedule, he said.

The year-round chairs’ contracts are in answer to the chairs’ concerns about extra work, he said. “We need chairs to work during the summers, but they aren’t receiving payment for it,” Krueger said. “Now that they’ll be on 12-month schedules, they can be compensated fairly.”

Chairs also may not have similar release times; some may teach 12-15 hours, which is the equivalent of four to five classes.

Under the new schedule, they should all receive full release, he said.

“They can only teach online or during the evenings,” Krueger said. “It’s not during the 8-to-5 workday.”

Departments should see an increase in help since they will have more coordinators to put in disciplines.

“As far as benefits go, chairs will be paid fairly in the summers and if they end up fitting in the institutes well, it will be good for the advising model,” Krueger said. “It should be a much smoother flow for students, which is one thing we want.”

Students should be able to meet with faculty advisers easier so the initial advising of new students should be a lot easier.

It should help them improve their success of finishing and completion rates should go up, he said.

“I think once the departments fit in the institutes and coordinators are all set up, it should benefit the students quite a bit,” Krueger said.

Programs aren’t physically being moved anywhere; they just might be reporting to a new chair.

“We want to make sure that departments fit well with one another, since we’re doing a realignment anyway; we looked at the institutes, too,” Krueger said. “They may not all fit perfectly, but the majority will.”

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