Faculty to have candid discussion about morale

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English Professor Lennie Irvin, chair of the curriculum committee, moves that the Faculty Senate develop a format for more efficient email communication Sept. 15 in visual arts. The next Faculty Senate meeting will be 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in visual arts. V. Finster

Faculty holds mixed feelings on senate.

By Austin P. Taylor

ataylor160@student.alamo.edu

A survey conducted last spring has shown the faculty’s reaction to the implementation of productive grade rate win-win agreements.

PGR win-win agreements were implemented at this college during the 2015-16 academic year to document strategies and practices that faculty would use to improve student’s grades. 

Almost two-thirds, 65.3 pecent, of survey participants think PGRs have had a negative impact on faculty morale.

The College requires win-win agreements for some faculty who do not show that 70 percent of students in a class receive a grade of C or higher.

During the last spring semester, the Faculty Senate held a survey to measure the mood of this college’s faculty.

The survey will be the focus of the Faculty Senate roundtable 1-2:30 p.m. in Room 120 of the visual arts center Sept. 29. 

The roundtable is an opportunity for faculty to air their grievances directly to the senate.

The survey was designed to address faculty morale, PGR win-win agreements, student drops and withdrawals, four-day class schedules and perceptions of the Faculty Senate.

The survey was answered by 275 faculty members, both full-time and part-time.

Sixty percent of participants were permanent employees, 6.5 percent were full-time adjuncts and 33.5 percent were part-time adjuncts.

Faculty Senate President Julie Engel, discusses format changes to emails sent to Senate members Sept. 15 in visual arts. The next Faculty Senate meeting will be 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in Room 120 of visual arts. V. Finster

With faculty morale being a concern for the last few years, the survey proposed three questions to responders.

Do you think you make a difference at this college? 

Are you encouraged to make a unique contribution to this college? 

Do you think your contributions are appreciated at this college?

More than two-thirds, 67.3 percent of the faculty who answered the survey believed they make a difference. 

While this is the majority of participants, the senate is concerned with the 32.7 percent who thought they didn’t make a meaningful difference at this college.

“During the roundtable, we want to hear from the faculty who answered this survey,” Faculty Senate president Julie Engel, said. “That’s when we’ll be able to work on real solutions.” 

Almost half, 49.2 percent, of participants said they were encouraged to make a unique contribution and 41.1 percent felt their contributions were appreciated. 

To get a better understanding of the classroom environment faced by faculty members, the survey asked faculty if they are more likely to drop a student before census due to non-attendance and if the four-day class schedule has had an impact on student enrollment. 

The survey shows that most faculty members believe neither has had a significant impact on their classes. 

Most participants had a neutral view of the effectiveness of the senate. 

Forty-three percent of participants had a neutral response when asked, “Do you think the faculty senate represents your policy concerns?”

“There appears to be a disconnect between the faculty and their senate,” Mariano Aguilar Jr., English and Mexican-American studies professor, said.

“It’s disturbing and definitely something we want to address.”

In an interview with The Ranger on Sept. 19, Aguilar spoke about the faculty’s frustrations.

Aguilar said many of the participants believed they were overburdened. 

“We have initiatives that come from the district, some that come from the college and some that come from sources of ‘soft money,’” Aguilar said.

“Soft money” refers to grants and the financial instability that comes with their expiration date. 

Aguilar said because these three sources supply the faculty with their own initiatives and don’t end previous ones, many faculty members are feeling overburdened. 

“We’re not going to fix anything in this first step,” Aguilar said. “But we need to get more voices in on the discussion.”

A copy of the survey results was sent to all faculty members at this college on Sept. 18.

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1 Comment

  1. One of my Professors, who knew that I spent most of my military career in training, asked me how her class compared to teaching methods used in the military. One big difference, in the military we have very structured methods of teaching/training. If we fail, that will impact the readiness of the unit. We want everyone to pass.

    All of the instructors are experienced NCO’s and subject matter experts. Before I retired from the Army, I had 8 military occupational specialities. Our soldiers were getting the best training possible.

    MSG Jim Volstad
    US Army Retired

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