Chancellor reflects on Alamo Colleges’ past and present

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Chancellor Bruce Leslie shares three ways for faculty and staff to think big this semester during convocation: Be a proactive leader, explore change and synergize Aug. 21 in McAllister auditorium. To view this week’s schedule, visit Brianna Rodrigue

The board awarded the outgoing chancellor emeritus status.

By Kimberly Caballero

As his time as leader of the Alamo Colleges winds to an end Sept. 30, Chancellor Bruce Leslie recalled Alamo College’s history prior to his arrival and its changes since he became chancellor.

In the beginning, Leslie said he would receive multiple calls and emails from students and their relatives about issues they encountered regarding registration and transcripts.

“This year: one, and it was easily resolved,” he said at district convocation Aug. 20 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Leslie joined the district Nov. 1, 2006, a year after a $450 million bond issue passed.

Upon arriving at the Alamo Colleges, there were numerous complaints from students, competition between the colleges and its employees and issues with a computer system, he continued.

Despite two no-confidence votes from faculty, the board of the Alamo Colleges continued to back Leslie.

Leslie provided an analogy for the amount of issues present at the Alamo Colleges upon his arrival as chancellor.

“At every board meeting, some of the trustees remember, I would say, ‘Every time I lift up a rock, there’s a hundred snakes, and each of those snakes has a hundred babies.’”

We aim to be the best in the country, Leslie said, before detailing Alamo Colleges’ awards and degree-granting increase.

“We were the least productive community college system in the state of Texas in 2006; we are now the most productive,” he said.

“We primarily use degree awards for student success performance. In 2006, our degree awards were the lowest among our peers and the system had multiple audit exceptions (remember my comments about a snake under every rock) and the board had to be mostly replaced because of illegal activities sending one trustee to prison,” he said via a Sept. 10 email.  “In the years following, we are the greatest producer of degrees in the state, even though we aren’t the largest and we are regularly listed among the top community colleges districts in the state and nation.”

The Alamo Colleges increase in degree awards to the highest in the state of Texas is because of faculty, staff, administration and trustees working toward the same goal of focusing on the student success, he said.

A chart provided in a Sept. 11 email from Dr. Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor for planning, performance and information systems, states the amount of degrees conferred totaled 3,707 in fiscal year 2005-06 and 12,757 in fiscal year 2017, a 244.1 percent increase.

Leslie credited the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey as a driving source of Alamo College’s success.

“Folks, I’ve been using the Seven Habits since I came here. It has helped make the Alamo Colleges one of the top community college systems in the entire country.”

Leslie received emeritus status at the board meeting Aug. 21 at Killen.

“I think the board’s intention was to say that given what’s been accomplished here, not by me but by everybody, all the years I’ve been here — that they felt that I deserve that title,” he said in a Sept. 4 interview.

“It’s a very nice gesture that says we think you did a good job, so I appreciate that.”

He can use the honorific title on his resume and correspondence, Leslie said via email regarding opportunities the title offers. “Otherwise, that’s it.”

Leslie listed “focusing on the students” as a main accomplishment during his tenure.

“When I first came here that was not the culture, but the board and I had a retreat just after I came here and that was the thing we focused on more: how do we change the culture here so the focus is on students.”


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