The vice chancellor of academic success outlines expansion of Alamo Colleges Online.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
Patrick Lee, math professor at Palo Alto College, presented proposals for associate of applied science degrees in healthcare administration and brewing and operations management at the board of trustees committee meeting Dec. 6.
The board meeting as a committee of the whole agreed to vote on the two programs at its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Killen Center.
Lee said the average hourly wage of graduates with a healthcare administration associate degree was $46.43 in 2014, but hourly wages range from $26.51 to $73.92.
Lee said students who complete the proposed program could be certified as unit clerks, home health administrators and private practice managers. They may be eligible to transfer to Texas A&M University-San Antonio or Texas State University and seek abachelor of applied arts and science degree.
Lee said that during a five-year implementation period, the program would cost the district $834,955 and produce $1,506,894 in revenue, resulting in a net income of $671,939.
Lee also proposed the board of trustees approve an associate degree in brewing and operations management.
Lee’s presentation estimated the program’s five-year expenses to be $587,157 and revenue $793,929, leaving a net income of $206,773; however, Lee’s presentation did not account for a one-time lab construction cost, which he estimated would cost between $200,000 and $500,000.
Lee said Palo Alto would be responsible for excess costs beyond the $206,773 five-year net income, which would be funded by the college’s institutional budget. The net cost for the program would be zero.
Lee said he spoke with personnel at several local craft breweries, who described the brewery market as fast-growing and trending.
According to Payscale Inc., the average hourly wage for a brewer is $17.57 with an annual salary of $36,545.
Dr. Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success, spoke to the board about expanding Alamo Colleges Online during the Student Success Committee meeting.
The online expansion is intended to strategically grow enrollment and to address the projected population growth of Bexar County by 2040.
Fabianke consulted with Bill Argrove, associate vice president for distance learning at Sam Houston Sate University, who suggested the district follow a Dallas County Community College District model for online learning.
Fabianke said the Dallas model is ideal for the Alamo Colleges district because this system allows autonomous colleges to award degrees through online learning without requiring separate accreditation for the online courses.
According to Fabianke’s presentation, she expects to see a 500 credit hour online enrollment growth by fall of 2018 and a 1,500 credit hour online enrollment growth by fall of 2022.
To withstand this growth in online enrollment, Fabianke suggested the board increase the Alamo Colleges Online workforce by creating new positions.
Fabianke recommended the board hire online video production employees, online instructional designers for each college and a coordinator, online advisers, market specialists, help desk specialists, and an administrative assistant.
To hire this recommended workforce, Fabianke estimated a cost of $410,000 for this fiscal year and a total of $1.2 million over this fiscal year and the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Fabianke said in-district students make up the majority of online enrollment at 87 percent, but she expects online enrollment to shift from primarily in-district students to out-of-district and and out-of-state or international students.
Fabianke expects in-district online enrollment to decrease from the current 87 percent to 70 percent by fall 2018 and 45 percent by fall 2022.
Fabianke expects to see out-of-Texas and international online enrollment grow from the current 2 percent to 10 percent by fall 2018 and 20 percent by fall 2022.
Fabianke expects to see out-of-district online enrollment grow form the current 11 percent to 20 percent by fall 2018 and 35 percent by fall 2022.
According to the Alamo Colleges website, there are about 50 fully online certificate and degree programs offered at the colleges.
Fabianke said online courses will cost the same as current face-to-face instruction, and online students also will pay the $50 annual access fee.
Fabianke estimated a $600,000 net income over the first two years after online expansion and $9.6 million after the fifth year of implementation.