Amendments made to PGR standards

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Faculty Senate President Julie Engel leads the Faculty Senate meeting Jan. 19 in visual arts. Faculty Senate discussed a 70 percent win-win agreement amendment. Lorena Torres Romero

Administration amends PGR and replaces win-win agreement plan.

Kimberly Caballero

kcaballero@student.alamo.edu

The college administration has replaced the win-win agreement plan with a continuous improvement plan for faculty who do not have 70 percent of students receive passing grades of A, B or C for back-to-back semesters.

The college executive team outlines the change in a Jan. 11 memo in response to a Faculty Senate statement adopted Dec. 8.

“Administration accepted the chairs’ recommendations to transition from the Win-Win approach to utilizing the Faculty
Improvement Plan for PGR,” according to a Jan. 11 memo to Faculty Senate.

The memo was in response to a Dec. 11 memo from the Faculty Senate.

The new faculty continuous improvement plan for productive grade rates, known as PGR’s, gives faculty a semester to increase PGR’s if they fall below the 70 percent standard.

“This plan will be used when a faculty member’s average PGR of all sections for the same course falls below 70% for two back-to-back semesters,” according to the executive team’s memo.

The original win-win agreement plan included faculty improvement strategies such as limiting the number of classes faculty could teach the following semester and prohibiting them from teaching summer classes. It also required a faculty signature on the agreement plan.

The new plan omits the list of improvement strategies and no longer requires a faculty member’s signature.

The faculty continuous improvement plan is being implemented this semester, Faculty Senate President Julie Engel said in a Jan. 25 phone interview.

Faculty thought the original 70 percent PGR standard and win-win agreement were unfair and worried it hurt faculty morale. Another concern was the potential to negatively impact their jobs.

“Faculty worried about pressure to lower standards and inflate grades to avoid a win-win agreement. They also expressed worry about how the win-win agreements may be used against them in some way, especially that it will lead to progressive discipline,” according to Faculty Senate’s memo.

A Faculty Senate survey was conducted in spring 2017 and distributed to 437 full- and part-time faculty, and 275 faculty responded.

According to the survey, 59.9 percent considered the win-win approach at this college to be punitive and 64.3 percent considered it to have a negative effect on overall faculty morale.

“The Faculty Senate welcomes working together with the administration to develop a fair and reasonable set of discipline-specific PGR rates that achieves the goals of student success while maintaining faculty morale,” according to the Faculty Senate’s memo to the executive team.

The Alamo College board of trustees established 70 percent PGR as the district standard for classes with more than 100 students, but the college administration is also inviting discussion among chairs and faculty to create discipline-specific PGR’s, according to the memo sent by the executive
team.

Fine arts Chair Jeff Hunt thinks the amendment to the PGR standards and new faculty continuous improvement plan are steps in the right direction.
“I thought it was a really good first step,” he said. “I thought it was a pretty good compromise.”

Administrators encourage chairs and faculty to identify which disciplines need lower PGR standards, along with national trends supporting those standards, and then provide that information to the executive team by the end of the semester.

The 70 percent PGR standard stems from Texas’ benchmark standard, Hunt said in a Jan. 29 interview.

Dr. Said Fariabi, chair of math, architecture, physics, engineering, said in a Jan. 31 interview that overall faculty members are happy with the new continuous improvement plan and the administration’s invitation to discuss discipline-specific PGR standards.

“This is great, and the faculty are happier,” Fariabi said.

His faculty are looking into national trends to help determine
a discipline-specific PGR rate to present to the administration.

“We just started this recently, and we’re looking to see how we can get that. But I know I can call individual colleges and ask them and they will tell me. It would be nicer if we can get it officially from some state-run data,” Fariabi said. He referred to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Fariabi said his faculty has not been required to implement a win-win agreement in about two years.

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