Trustees consider follow-up designs for district support operations building.
By Wally Perez
A new job description for department chairs and program coordinators was moved forward by trustees at the Student Success Committee August 9 in Killen.
Board committees now meet as a committee of the whole. Decisions are not official until trustees approve them in board meetings. The next regular board meeting is at 6 p.m. today in Killen.
The updated job description for department chairs includes job duties concerning students, curriculum and instruction, and management and administration.
“We’ve been working on these job descriptions for a while, and have good input from the college presidents, vice presidents and the department chairs,” Chancellor Bruce Leslie said.
Chairs will be moved to 12-month positions, although some disciplines such as nursing have already had some chairs in the 12-month format, Leslie said.
“We need chairs to be dedicated to fulfilling the agenda they will have as opposed to splitting their time between trying to teach and trying to lead,” Leslie said.
The chairs’ duties will primarily be administrative, and college presidents have the authority to select the chairs rather than the chairs being voted to the position as had previously been the practice, Leslie said.
The current 10.5-month contracts will be annualized to a 12-month contract, which is meant to be a flat salary adjustment, Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said.
Chairs will be allowed to teach overload classes after normal work hours, but they will be limited to two courses in fall and spring and one in the summer.
Leslie said chairs will not be allowed to teach during the 8 a.m.-5 p.m. workday because they need to be available during those hours to attend meetings, be engaged and so on.
Overloads need to be approved by college presidents and cannot conflict with the chairs’ responsibilities.
“It’s common for a chair to teach because of a gap in their department, whether it be someone retiring, or someone may be out sick, which causes them to fill in,” Leslie said.
Overloads will be compensated at adjunct rates the same as for other faculty, according to the proposed minute order.
Chairs will be reviewed for placement every three years by college presidents, but may be reviewed more frequently.
“It’s a tough job … you’re kind of in the middle of everything and may be criticized by your colleagues if you’re not doing the right thing politically,” Leslie said.
There is increasing responsibility by the chairs in regards to the win-win process, helping faculty improve and trying to reduce the number of high-risk courses, all of which is heavily influenced at the departmental level, Leslie said.
Palo Alto, St. Philip’s, Northwest Vista and this college will see full operation of the 12-month model starting in the fall, while Northeast Lakeview College will start the 12-month model in fall 2017.
The number of chairs at this college was reduced from 19 to 12.
In other business, updates on the concept renderings for the district support operations building were presented during the Building, Grounds and Sites Selection Committee meeting.
Adam Reed, principal architect at Ford, Powell and Carson Architects and Planners Inc., gave a brief overview of two design schemes.
“We have about 10.3 acres of land to work with in terms of development and a tremendous amount of natural resources,” Reed said. The DSO is planned for 2222 N. Alamo St.
Both schemes included ideas of the previous four designs presented at the committee meeting July 19.
Option A depicted usage of the northern and center part of the site for the buildings, while Option B made the center of the site its major focus.
The area is home to many pecan and oak trees as well as an acequia, which runs through the site. Reed plans to preserve it.
Through discussion with the members of the surrounding neighborhood’s Westfort Alliance Neighborhood Association, Reed said a topic of concern was additional traffic caused by an increase of activity in the area.
Reed said the parking areas located in the designs were specifically set so there wouldn’t be too much congestion on the already busy Cunningham Avenue.
Additionally, community members asked for bike and jogging trails on the site, since it will be an open campus, which Reed said would be a realistic possibility, implementing trails in the designs.
Some of the site goals included preservation of resources, preservation of culture, areas of repose and engagement, dual-use of singular elements and public and private access.
In terms of development goals, pinpoints included contextual/anticipatory siting, collaborative campus, safety, partnership opportunities and flexibility, Reed said.
Gloria Ray, citizens advisory committee chair, and other members of the committee attended to give their personal feedback on the project.
Ray said a meeting was held with the design team July 28, which included the citizens advisory committee and members of the Westfort Alliance Neighborhood Association.
“Through these discussions we were able to come up with some basic ideas for the site including the foreseeable long-range planning for the district and planning for the site to be ecologically responsible,” Ray said.
District 2 trustee Denver McClendon voiced concern over security in the area and whether sufficient lighting and cameras will be available during the evening.
“There has been a traditional battle with vagrants and prostitution in this area and I’m sure the neighborhood would encourage our development and police monitoring of the area,” McClendon said.
John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities, addressed this, saying lighting and cameras will be developed for the site and District Police Chief Don Adams will be working with the team to decide how many cameras will be needed and where they will be placed.
District 1 trustee Joe Alderete was pleased with the updated designs and thanked the architects and the citizens advisory committee for their input and work so far.