Trustees debate program access.
By Kyle R. Cotton
The Student Success Committee forwarded two associate of applied science degree programs to the full board for approval in Tuesday’s committee meetings.
The approval came after debate between trustees over access problems with programs scattered across the five Alamo Colleges.
NVC President Ric Baser said the NVC Business Council, which includes companies such as Nationwide, Wells Fargo, Frost Bank, Petco and Sea World, approached NVC’s administration asking for a customer service program to help fill some of their positions.
“We have 300 jobs to fill and we need people now,” Baser said.
According to NVC’s industry survey of the council, the expectation is for more than 1,750 new hires over the next three to five years with salaries ranging from $10-15 an hour and some as high as $55,000 annually. Baser said these would be entry-level positions such as answering phones with potential for upward mobility.
Students surveyed Oct. 9-Nov. 5 showed a 78 percent overall interest in the potential program.
The pharmaceutical technology degree will be an extension of NVC’s American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists accredited certificate of pharmaceutical technology.
Baser said the college must add applied science degrees because of new state credentialing in 2020 as well as requirements for the “Credit for Heroes” grant that awards credit for skills gained by veterans and active-duty military members.
The two plans sparked a debate about access to degree programs at the Alamo Colleges.
Anna Bustamante, District 3 trustee and board chair, said these programs would be too far away for students in her district. “It’s a long drive out there and some students may give up due to transportation issues and cost.”
Chancellor Bruce Leslie said it is policy that only one college will host any program that leads to an applied science degree.
District 9 trustee James Rindfuss said this was the trouble with having five separate accreditations. “You can either invite teachers from the respective colleges where the program exists to teach at the other colleges, after showing there is a demand, or once it’s all under one accreditation, teach it at all five colleges,” Rindfuss said. “As long as there is separate accreditation, this will remain an issue.”
Bustamante said the district won’t really know if there is demand at one of the other colleges unless the program is offered.
“The real solution will be in technology,” Leslie said. “Distance learning will be a better solution for many students … and frankly that’s where the competition is coming from.”
The board will vote on the two new degree plans at the full board meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Killen Center.