The board places transfer alignment responsibility on universities.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
The board of trustees discussed transfer alignment with four-year universities in and around this city at the special board meeting and budget retreat July 18 at Killen Center.
Chancellor Bruce Leslie said Jo Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor of academic success, is working to align pathways at the Alamo Colleges with university degree plans.
“What she discovered is universities themselves don’t realize how many barriers they put in front of students,” Leslie said.
District 5 trustee Roberto Zárate expressed frustration with the district’s progress, saying the board of trustees has been discussing university alignment for too long.
“This is kind of unsettling simply because we’ve been talking about having the alignment with seven universities in our area,” Zárate said. “If we’re at that raw point where we’re still having this kind of discussion that bothers me a little bit.”
Zárate said he was under the impression the seven university contracts the district entered in September prevented the loss of credits during transfer.
Leslie said the district has alignment with four-year universities in some areas, saying Fabianke has seven programs “aligned completely more or less” with universities.
Zárate said he needs to be confident in the district’s alignment with universities when speaking to the public about the Alamo Colleges.
Leslie placed the responsibility of program alignment on the universities.
“We have our alignment,” Leslie said. “They don’t have it clear in their own institution.”
District 6 trustee Gene Sprague said universities lack incentive to work with the district.
Sprague said universities need transfer students and this fact should be used in the district’s negotiating tactics with universities and the district needs some form of bargaining tool.
“I think that maybe needs to be part of negotiating with the people, saying: ‘You want us to encourage people to transfer to your university and you want us to say that we have a method to facilitate transfer to your university. You’ve got to put up your part of the bargain or we stop recommending that they transfer to your institution,’” Sprague said.
Leslie said the district was using this negotiating tactic with Texas State University.
“We said to all of them, ‘Look. If your program requirements are not aligned with what we think they should be, particularly in the areas of math, then we’re going to recommend students go somewhere else,’” Leslie said.
District 9 trustee Jim Rindfuss said tax-supported institutions should be aligned.
“It’s amazing to me that we have all these tax-supported institutions by our taxpayers and we can’t get them aligned,” Rindfuss said.
Board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, said she is impressed by the progress made by the board and district in program alignment, considering the district entered the university contracts a year ago.
Zárate asked if the effort to align the colleges with four-year universities would have any budget implications and if they were included in the budget presentation.
Leslie said he was sure there would be budget implications but was unsure how they would be integrated, saying this is a new effort and it’s unclear where it would fit in the budget.
Leslie said the district is working with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to conduct an interim study investigating the transfer alignment of public schools.