Council learns Alamo Institutes contextualize courses

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Corrections are made to SGA survey regarding EDUC 1300.

By Cassandra M. Rodriguez

At the Feb. 11 College Council meeting, the Faculty Senate addressed the joint effort with other faculty senates at colleges in this district to petition the replacement of three humanities credit hours with three hours of EDUC 1300 Learning Framework. This is a student development course based on Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

District determined the core change without consulting the curriculum committees and faculty. Upset, Faculty Senate sent out a petition the day after the Feb. 10 town hall meeting where they discussed the implementation of EDUC 1300. So far, 193 signatures have been collected protesting the replacement of three humanities hours with EDUC 1300.

“Time is really of the essence in acting on this,” said Dawn Elmore, Faculty Senate president and English professor, because final approval for adding EDUC 1300 to the core will occur around Feb. 28.

Related to change in the core curriculum, this college’s Student Government Association is using questions provided by students who attend SGA meetings for a campus-wide survey.

One of the questions, referring to EDUC 1300, asks “Do you agree that six credit hours of humanities should be replaced with three credit hours of a course based on ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey?”

This question is partially incorrect because the course is proposed to replace three credit hours of humanities, not six. Three hours of humanities will remain in the core curriculum. SGA plans to send out a clarifying email.

Next in the meeting, the Chairs Council reported its discussion on the Alamo Institute’s purpose is to make humanities courses more relevant to students, preventing them from entering as undeclared.

The basic idea is to try to infuse and contextualize some of the general education course work into professional and technical fields, President Robert Zeigler said. It’s supposed to help students in technical fields understand how the humanities fit in their education.

Contextualizing courses is method that incorporates math, English and reading within the context of a course requiring these basic skills, said Ruth Dalrymple, associate vice chancellor for academic partnerships and initiatives.

Alamo Institutes contextualize students’ courses in college so they don’t have to choose between education and skill.

All certificates, degrees and programs will be represented in six institutions, which are Creative and Communication Arts, Business and Entrepreneurship, Health and Bio-Science, Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics, Public Service and Science and Technology.

“With all the emphasis on work force, I don’t want us to, in pursuit of workforce preparedness, lose sight of what we’re here for, which is to educate people and not just train them,” Zeigler said. “And we are here to turn out students when they leave us who are not culture illiterates, and I think these institutes could help us do that if we do them well.”

The chancellor keeps questioning ‘what are people going to do with a degree in history and art and where’s the job?’ fine arts Chair Jeff Hunt said, referring to an interview with Chancellor Bruce Leslie on NPR.

Zeigler said, “This kind of running full speed toward workforce training and in a sense the mission of really having educated people coming out of community college is a risk. When students leave community college they should have a concept of culture, history and arts in order to be effective citizens.”


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