‘7 Habits’ struck from policy

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The administration still has the power to control leadership enrichment programs.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright


The board of trustees voted unanimously to remove any mention of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” in Policy B.9.1 at the Dec. 13 meeting.

This was decided in an effort to satisfy recommendations on the autonomy of three colleges that has been called into question by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

SACSCOC found six violations of their list of comprehensive standards for accreditation at this college and St. Philip’s and Northwest Vista colleges during a visit in September.

District 8 trustee Clint Kingsbery began the Policy and Long-Range Planning Committee meeting Dec. 13 by asking the board to table the motion on Policy B.9.1 until the board had spoken to the SACSCOC liaison to ensure Standard 3.4.10 is met.

SACSCOC’s Standard 3.4.10 states that faculty should be primarily responsible for determining curriculum for a college to be autonomous, which is one of the six faults SACSCOC found after their visit to the three colleges.

Kingsbery said he is concerned removing the Covey material from the portion of Policy  B.9.1 explicitly directing instructors how to teach classes would not be enough to meet SACSCOC’s recommendations.

“I have no particular concern with the policy itself,” Kingsbery said. “Only that we are trying to do it before we have spoken with SACS.”

District 6 trustee Gene Sprague said information from SACSCOC is not going to be available until their first biannual meeting in June, making Kingsbery’s desired communication with SACSCOC unobtainable.

“I think we’re just going to have to be a little bold here and take a step forward,” Sprague said.

District 1 trustee Joe Alderete seconded this notion, saying the board has no way of knowing if they have the right answer until they submit new policy.

District 2 trustee Denver McClendon said the board should strike mention of Covey from both the student and faculty side, saying there should be no mention of Covey materials in district policy at all.

“I don’t want any concept that we are still trying to backdoor and accept the Covey principles,” McClendon said.

Chancellor Bruce Leslie said the board may strike the material from policy entirely, leaving faculty to decide what leadership material will be used to determine a “single, districtwide leadership program … that ensures PK-16 alignment across the five Alamo Colleges.”

Leslie said administration will still possess the power to determine what leadership program to employ in the district’s employee leadership enrichment programs.

The board motioned to vote on removing all mention of Covey materials from the student and faculty portions of policy, and the board unanimously voted to strike all mentions of the material.

This decision comes shortly after the release of an anonymous Covey no-confidence petition circulating at this college. The petition claims the “7 habits” materials violate Title VII and the Texas Statues for religious freedom.

According to the petition, Leslie’s determination to incorporate Covey materials across the district is in violation of SACSCOC’s Standard 3.2.4, which states educational governing boards must not be influenced by religious or political bodies and may not impose such influences on the institutions they serve.

The petition seeks the removal of any mention of Covey materials in board policy, stating “faculty at these institutions have been coerced by verbal threats of insubordination if they don’t adhere to the New Age religious ideas of Covey leadership training.”

The petition states grievances with Covey’s outdated material, the failure of administration to remove all mention of the material in previous board meetings and the influence of non-educational theory on curriculum.

The petition refers to Covey materials as a “self-help book.”

To learn more about the petition, view the petition here.

To view the board’s changes to Policy B.9.1, see the policy here.


1 Comment

  1. SAN ANTONIO — The faculty senates at all five Alamo Colleges have united to oppose a core curriculum change, saying the community college district’s administration proposed and pushed it without adequately including faculty and college administrators.

    The district wants to drop a humanities course requirement and replace it with an education course, EDUC 1300, a learning framework course with a heavy focus on leadership strategies — including lessons outlined in Stephen R. Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

    In a letter to faculty, Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie acknowledged their opposition to including the course in the core but said they have been “intimately involved” in discussions on it.

    He said he had to make a decision in the best interest of students before January and that including EDUC 1300 in the core requirements makes the credit transferable to other schools.

    Because community colleges are “legislatively limited generally to a 60-hour degree, we can’t just add it on top of everything else,” Leslie wrote.

    An open letter:

    Dr. Jo-Carol Fabianke
    Alamo Colleges

    I am pursuing a BA in English with a Concentration in Professional and Creative Writing primarily from a locus of control centered in my assigned expectancy-value model of achievement motivations.

    These include, but are not limited to my intrinsic skills, aptitude, and efficacy attainments that are derived of my own volition. Additionally, I find that social cognitive variables ascribed to the Judson Early College Academy are a poor extrinsic motivation valuation as applied to a segment of the social and cultural milieu whose attainment valuation of this task are certainly nonconforming as linked to my self-schema.

    The residue of the conceptualized cost valuation on my idealized self-schema begin to highlight the negative aspects of engagement, and thus bring into account the expenditure of effort to insure the success associated with this particular endeavor.

    I am left with the subjective probability that the outcome consequence of these assigned tasks and their incentive valuations will set up serious considerations of disillusionment, with a rapid precipitant downward spiral towards negative volition and variance induced proximal activities….if you catch my drift

    To put this into words that you may more clearly embrace, my forced participation in EDUC 1300 along with the textbook “Seven Habits of Highly Effective College Students”, proved to be a colossal waste of time.

    I was contacted by phone on August 16th, 2015, which was five working days before classes began, and informed that a hold was placed on my student account. I would be unable to attend classes. My only option was to enroll into a Student Development Course or EDUC 1300 in order for the hold to be lifted.

    I complied, and as class commencement was merely a week away, I was forced to enroll in the only class that would fit my schedule. I took care of this requirement on August 17th, 2015.

    Why is your administration managing to the lowest common denominator where all students, regardless of their station in life are forced into taking the Covey course?

    Why do you force Honorably Discharged Veterans into this one-size-fits-all compulsory plan? I was very disappointed with the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective College Students”. My professor was the single brilliant shining beacon in an otherwise very disappointing compulsory course. One that the accreditation committee for Northeast Lakeview College took issue with, and one that the University of Texas San Antonio campus apparently does not offer accreditation.

    I strongly suggest that you not crowbar Veterans into a class designed for high school juniors with maturity issues. Why mandate a course that does not count towards my degree plan.

    After all, your administration is sponsoring the elimination of majors as District Policy; due in part to taking courses that will not transfer to a degree plan at a four year institution. I look forward to your response.

    Best regards,

    Joe Guilbeau

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