Fewer metrics, more education

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Student success measurements have opposite effect.

You did it, Dr. Leslie. You’ve driven another beloved professor, only interested in giving his students the best possible shot at success, to quit.

It’s actually quite impressive, Chancellor. History Professor Mike Settles got so sick of your obsession with inane success metrics that he abruptly retired four weeks into the semester.

Your slow but somehow painfully obvious attempt at converting colleges in the district into degree mills has a demonstrable effect on students, but as long as it keeps those graduation numbers high, who cares, right?

How many of your reported 5,032 degrees and certificates awarded at this college last year were applied for by students and how many did you give, unrequested, just to set that “all-time record”?

Your focus on inflating graduation rates for the sake of your national and international standing has bumped up against the long-standing tradition of excellence at this college.

You run the risk of shoving out students who are unprepared for the pressure and difficulty of transfer institutions.

Settles and others think your colleges’ standards for what is an acceptable level for reading, writing and math are a joke.

We get it — people are complicated. “Success” isn’t an easily definable term and there’s no way to ensure all students leave the Alamo Colleges with the skills and knowledge needed to excel at a four-year university.

If you wanted to improve student success and not just the appearance of it, you’d let faculty do its job without evermore obtrusive tracking and evaluation systems.

You’d encourage faculty to grade and evaluate students fairly, rather than pushing for them to pass without an adequate understanding of the class material.

You’d put your money where your mouth is and spend money on programs and services that help students rather than building a $60 million palatial office. You’d stop awarding degrees students didn’t apply for.

What’s it all for, Chancellor? Graduation rates don’t put food on the tables or money in the pockets of your students.

Your endless hoops for faculty to jump through don’t prepare their students for success in life or education.

Get out of the way. Let professors teach and students learn.

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3 Comments

  1. A $60 million office? and so many students are homeless. What a shameful way to lead. This is nothing like the place I loved so much as a counselor in days gone by. Irregularities then are nothing in comparison to this situation. I was so happy when our students transferred to the University of Texas and the feedback said they did better than students who started their college experience right there!

    • ONE office, not multiple sites around the city in what ever buildings they converted to their needs and pay upkeep and rent on.

      Students STILL do better at transfer success…where did it say we dont, people seem to be reading too much into a rant about an article that I thought would tell me more about why student success metrics have the opposite effect. Instead it was about a professor who threw a tantrum because he didnt like the way his bosses run the colleges.

      • Mike Settles on

        No tantrum at all, my dear. I quit because my school has lost sight of its mission–to put our students first and to provide a quality education for them. Since Bruce Leslie’s arrival we have spent a larger and larger percent of out budget on administration and less on students and instruction yet not one student comes to college to see an administrator. We have buildings that are falling apart yet the priority, not surprisingly, is to build a 55 million dollar headquarters for administration. My own classroom floods every time we get a significant rain. Tiles are missing in the hallway, the maps in my classroom are shredded and the chalk that I used was taken from my daughter’s elementary school class. Beyond that, tell me how it is that with a larger part of our incoming students requiring remediation before they can even be considered to be college ready we are graduating more and more of them. The answer is that we are being forced to pass and graduate them. Many of our graduates will move on to schools that maintain high standards and find out that they will be unable to compete because they have not been properly prepared. By graduating under achieving students without putting them through a rigorous academic learning process we are simply setting them up for failure and I will have none of it. I wish everyone the best but what is ongoing now is a travesty. It is tantamount to academic fraud. And finally, have you ever wondered why none of this administration versus faculty turmoil exists at any of the other colleges in San Antonio? It all starts with leadership. There is a reason that Bruce Leslie has been fired almost every place he has been.

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