First Faculty Senate meeting of the semester

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Faculty Senate President Tiffany Cox Hernandez goes over the reports from the Jan. 13 Executive Faculty Council meeting with the senate committee during the first meeting of the semester Jan. 20. The council helps faculty within Alamo Colleges to have a voice and help when they face issues that can affect their jobs. The senate also discussed the reports covered from the last board of trustees meeting, reports from the officers, SACSCOC updates and faculty work hours. Photo by Brianna Rodrigue

The senate discusses faculty development model.

By Michelle Delgado

mdelgado200@student.alamo.edu

Senators discussed marketable skills, the faculty development model and office hours in their first meeting of the semester.

Faculty Senate began at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in Moody Learning Center Room 643.

The senate started the meeting off by reviewing topics that were discussed at the latest board of trustees meeting.

One concern was how to identify marketable skills within the degree earned by a student.

“We should be really clear that the associate degree doesn’t always lead to, and should never always lead to a specific job,” senate President Tiffany Cox Hernandez said. “We just have to be able to tell our story better.”

No changes or complaints were made to the by-laws sent out to faculty as a whole for review.

The senate voted unanimously to accept the changes to the by-laws.

“It starts us off in the right direction for helping us provide opportunities for faculty to serve and receive training,” Hernandez said.

The senate discussed the Executive Faculty Council meeting that was a week prior.

EFC is a body that was created to address systemwide noncurricular issues that are focused on faculty and how those changes may affect their jobs.

An issue arose over the hiring system for faculty development specialists.

“There was a lack of faculty voice,” Hernandez said.

The faculty development model will be taken through EFC so there will be as much faculty input involved as possible.

“We can have as much faculty input in what we want to see in our own development and progression at the individual colleges,” she said.

A concern that many of the senators discussed was the definition of faculty development.

“I’m having these discussions within my departments,” Jeff Hunt, fine arts chair said. “They reject the definition of professional development,” he said of his faculty members.

Hunt says he hopes a door will be opened for dialogue.

“The conclusion that we reached was ‘very inclusively,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to be extremely broad and it’s going to be tailored to each individual college.”

Hernandez said they are still in the early stages because it’s being created from scratch.

The professional development model sparked some concerns.

The model suggests 10 faculty office hours and 15 college service hours.

“That seems to me to be completely flipped as far as, if we’re concerned about student retention,” Mariano Aguilar Jr., English and Mexican-American studies professor said. “I’d much rather spend 15-20 office hours meeting with my students than 15 hours serving the college in various ways and leaving students out to dry and unable to see me.”

Another issue pointed out by Aguilar was the 40-hour work-week statement.

“This seems to be setting a stone,” he said. “Like we’re accepting the fact that that’s all we work.”

He suggested the statement be put into italics or quotation marks.

Aguilar explained that the statement makes it seem as though faculty only care about hitting that 40-hour work mark and doesn’t point out the fact that many professors spend nights and weekends grading assignments and replying to emails.

Hernandez suggested having a conversation with the department chair for the 40-hour work-week concern.

The decision of work hours and office hours should be discussed with department chairs because that insures that work is equitable across the department, Hernandez said.

Faculty Senate is scheduled for 12:30-3 p.m. Feb. 17 in Room 643 of Moody Learning Center.

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