345 courses are scheduled to be deleted at the end of this semester
By R. Eguia
Dance departments across the state have synchronized forces because 64 courses are scheduled for deletion at the end of this semester.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has published its spring 2016 Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual with 345 courses scheduled for deletion at the end of this semester.
The manual is the official list of approved courses for general academic transfer to public universities that may be offered for state funding by public community and technical colleges in Texas.
George Ann Simpson, coordinator for the dance program at this college, said she worked with many other dance departments across the state to begin the appeal process for the deletions.
Some of the dance courses scheduled for deletion satisfy part of the 18 hours required for an associate degree in dance at this college.
“Every dance instructor in the dance department at this college was going to lose at least one class if we did not petition for those classes to remain,” Simpson said.
Dr. Rex Peebles, assistant commissioner for academic quality at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board said, “This is the first time the appeals have happened at this magnitude.”
Additional paper work from various colleges is still being received and all appeals decisions are pending until review by the committee in May, Peebles said.
In his five-year experience as assistant commissioner, Peebles has seen four classes appealed, and two were successful.
Simpson said the petition process was unclear at first until the dance faculty reached out to other community colleges. She said there was a lot of mutual effort from four-year institutions that also helped with the appeals process.
Pounds of paper work were relayed from community college dance programs to four-year institutions confirming the acceptance of the transferable courses set for deletion.
Applications for appeals must include a survey of current practices among Texas universities, providing comprehensive information about universities offering the same or similar course.
Recommendations from universities must be attached in the appeal by providing the completed University Faculty Course Evaluation form from academic department chairs of at least five Texas public universities. The forms affirm the appropriateness of the proposed course for transfer to a four-year institution. The department chair and the chief academic officer at each university must sign the form.
Additionally, letters confirming use of the course must be attached from five or more community colleges, public technical colleges or public state colleges indicating those colleges would use the course if included in the ACGM.
The appropriate department chairs and the chief instructional officers of each institution must sign these letters.
The Academic Course Guide Manual Advisory Committee conducts a comprehensive review of course enrollments to identify underutilized courses.
The committee uses Coordinating Board rules for course inclusion and deletion from the manual to identify courses that are not often offered, have low statewide enrollment at community colleges, or have limited applicability to degree requirements at the baccalaureate level.
For a course to be included in the Academic Course Guide Manual, five universities must accept and apply the course to a bachelor’s degree.
A lower-division course offered at three or fewer community colleges must be considered for deletion from the manual.
Underutilized courses are placed under review and scheduled for deletion with a two-year period for teach-out and comment.
At the end of the two-year review period, the courses are removed. Institutions may appeal the deletion of a course during and after the two-year teach-out and comment period. Successful appeals must substantiate the need and viability of the underutilized courses.
Peebles said there are still parts of the dance courses appeals being received so the dance programs will receive word on the applications after the Academic Course Guide Manual Committee meets in early May. The committee will make recommendations to the Coordinating Board.
Christa Emig, director of curriculum coordination and transfer articulation for this district, said the courses scheduled for deletion at the end of this semester will not be featured on the fall catalog. They will be added back if they are successfully amended.
She said there has been a trend from the Coordinating Board to clean up the course inventory, which might explain why there has been a spike in appeals more recently.
“Universities with strong dance programs want the students that come from our programs because we prepare them,” Simpson said.
Peebles thinks the Coordinating Board may have to be more involved in the case of dance programs to get its course load more aligned across the state.
“What happens is a Jazz 2 course at the community college will be recognized as a Jazz 4 course at the university, so on paper it looks like Jazz 2 does not transfer when really it does,” Peebles said.
Most courses scheduled for deletion are courses that deviated from the traditional three-hour class model that most follow, Peebles said, so it is not so much an entire course is being deleted but rather the five-hour option of that specific course is being deleted.
The second number in a course measures the class time length. For example, Czech 1311 is a three-hour course, while Czech 1511 IS the same course, but it lasts five hours a week.
Many of the courses scheduled for deletion, are the one-, two-, four-, or five-hour options of a course that deviate from the popular three-hour class structure.
Tiffany Cox, chairperson of foreign languages, philosophy and culture, said it is troubling that so many language courses are up for deletion because many bachelor’s degrees require at least 12 hours of foreign language.
“We are huge proponents for every student taking a foreign language course,” Cox said.
The handbook listed 83 foreign language classes across 14 different languages including Vietnamese, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Latin, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Greek, German, French, Czech, Chinese and Arabic that will be deleted.
The courses continue to be eligible for funding through the 2016 fiscal and academic year with eligibility ending Aug 31.
The complete list can be accessed here www.thecb.state.tx.us/AAR/UndergraduateEd/WorkforceEd/acgm.htm.