With accreditation visits looming, district administrators and five presidents respond to concerns about autonomy of colleges.
By Kyle R. Cotton
A statement addressing a Northwest Vista College no-confidence resolution from Northwest Vista College faculty was emailed Tuesday night to media.
In the statement, the chancellor, vice chancellors and the five college presidents say they are not risking the colleges’ accreditation.
The NVC chapter of the American Association of University Professors sent a statement Monday on a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Bruce Leslie because of the delayed accreditation of Northwest Vista and St. Philip’s colleges and this college. The vote was approved by 107, or 65 percent, of full-time faculty.
The group planned a press conference Thursday.
The administration’s response listed district accomplishments in student success.
“(The) focus on students first frames our strategic plan, policies and board charges to the chancellor. The great news is that our strategic plan has provided the framework and incentives for the Alamo Colleges to achieve remarkable improvement in student persistence, completion, employment, transfer and degree achievement.
“The Alamo Colleges have strategically adopted a series of best and promising practices, which have yielded exceptional results for our students,” the statement said. This includes a 224 percent increase in degrees and certificates since 2006 from 3,707 to 12,003.
“The very nature of accreditation is to promote student learning and achievement. To that end, the policies, procedures and initiatives adopted by the faculty, staff and board of trustees have purposefully focused on the advancement of students and the communities we serve,” the administration’s response read.
Over the summer, the autonomy of this college, Northwest Vista and St. Philip’s was questioned after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reviewed each college’s 10-year reaffirmations of accreditation.
Among the 10 standards that the association is reviewing for each of the colleges are three core-standards.
Northwest Vista faculty voted to re-affirm their vote of no confidence in Chancellor Bruce Leslie’s leadership from a no-confidence vote in 2009 by faculty at Northwest Vista, Palo Alto College, St. Philip’s and this college.
The 2009 no-confidence vote represented more than 90 percent of full-time faculty across the colleges.
In 2009, Faculty Senate representatives called the chancellor fiscally irresponsible in their resolutions, questioned the proposed Playland Park headquarters, objected to This failure to recognize principles of accreditation from SACSCOC, ignored faculty input on academics and curriculum and disregarded district hiring policies.
The statement on the website on the Northwest Vista AAUP chapter lists grievances in detail.
It primarily lists Board Policy B.9.1 and E.1.3, which they said, is the district determining curriculum, which falls under the concern of autonomy as faculty are supposed to determine curriculum.
Leslie wrote in a 2010 memo that independent accreditation was unsustainable when the board reaffirmed separate accreditation:
“There are those who continue to use the label of ‘independently accredited colleges’ as justification to behave separately and autonomously. This cannot continue. … Therefore, if the board retains the current model of accreditation, it should consider adopting new policies that stipulate that the operating principles of the district should be based not on separateness but on collaboration, cooperation, alignment and synergy in order to fulfill our vision of becoming the best district in the land.”
The Ranger called Leslie Wednesday to see if he still believes the colleges should maintain independent accreditation.
Leo Zuniga, associate vice chancellor of communication, said the chancellor said the decision regarding single and individual accreditation is up to the board of trustees.
Click here for Northwest Vista College statement of no confidence.
Click here for Alamo Colleges administration response to no-confidence vote.