Board to add ‘Alamo Colleges District’ to policy

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Ric Baser, Northwest Vista College president, answer questions from the audience and the news outlets during a press conference Jan. 13 at Killen Center. The board discussed the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges recommendations. Three Alamo Colleges had six violations and were placed under a accreditation warning by the SACSCOC. Photo by Brianna Rodrigue

Board requested a chart explaining the cost of rebranding during a press conference.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

The chair of the board of trustees said the district will change policy to add the assumed name “Alamo Colleges District” and alter signage in rebranding efforts to satisfy the accrediting agency at a press conference Jan. 13 in Killen Center.

Board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee led a press conference to explain the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges’ recommendations for achieving accreditation at this college and St. Philip’s and Northwest Vista Colleges Jan. 13 at Killen Center.

The three colleges were placed on an accreditation warning list by SACSCOC after identifying six violations of the agency’s Comprehensive Standards, including branding, leadership policy, contracts and offer letters and the distribution of funds.

According to SACSCOC’s official letter, recommendation for rebranding comes from Comprehensive Standard 3.13, saying it “is unclear whether the institution represents itself as a single institution (Alamo Colleges) with multiple campuses, or multiple independent institutions (San Antonio College) with the U.S. Department of Education.”

Policy A.1.1 lists the legal names of the district and the college organizational units within the district; a proposed amendment to this policy adds “Alamo Colleges District” to the list of assumed names of the district but maintains the use of “Alamo Colleges.”

Katz said the board asked staff to create a chart explaining the cost of gradually altering signage.

She said digital rebranding would be inexpensive, but the board will have to look at altering the letters or replacing college signs.

In an interview with The Ranger after the press conference, Dr. Thomas Cleary, interim president at Northeast Lakeview College, said SACSCOC requires the board to use “Alamo Colleges District” on any material accessible by current or potential students, leaving the application of the term “Alamo Colleges” at the board’s discretion.

President Robert Vela, Northwest Vista President Ric Baser and Cleary explained their efforts to meet SACSCOC’s recommendations for autonomy.

Vela said Dr. Adena Loston, president of St. Philip’s College, was unable to attend the press conference because of a family emergency and Chancellor Bruce Leslie was out of the country.

Katz said the board is dedicated to maintaining the colleges’ accreditation for credit and continuing education students, including more than 12,000 early college high school students attending classes at no cost, and more than $200 million in financial aid students enrolled in the district receive every year.

Katz said the board is committed to meeting SACSCOC’s recommendations sooner than the required December deadline, meaning the colleges would need to have evidence of meeting SACSCOC’s recommendations by June.

Baser said the college presidents will write a letter to SACSCOC requesting an expedited review next week.

Katz and Baser said the board and college presidents have been working to change policy and procedures to meet the agency’s recommendations by the agency’s June meeting.

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