College Council hears report on commencement ‘firsts’

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Title 9 training needs to be completed by May 29.

By Melissa Luna

A record number of graduates — 1,009 — crossed the stage at commencement, admissions Director Martin Ortega reported at the May 12 College Council meeting.

“This is the first time we have broken the thousand student mark,” he said in a presentation on the May 9 ceremony at Freeman Coliseum.

Graduates who participated in the event included 76 Travis Early College High School graduates and eight GED recipients.

There was triple-entry parking access, no delays with the photographer and technology available to display graduates’ names, Ortega said.

Ortega also noted the first-time partnership with The University of The Incarnate Word, whose graduation was later that day.

This college paid for the large-screen television to display the name and video of each graduate crossing the stage while the university paid for on-stage decorations, which included the drapery, flags and plants, Ortega said.

“It was a collaborative effort,” Ortega said. “We’re already scheduling a meeting with them to see how can we continue this relationship.”

President Robert Vela opened the discussion regarding the length and date of the ceremony.

“Should we consider finding somewhere to cut minutes for the ceremony?” Vela said, “Was 2 1/2 hours too long to be sitting there?”

Several council members spoke against it, expressing their views that commencement is the students’ time to shine and the ceremony should last as long as it takes.

Mona Aldana-Ramirez, director of retention services, suggested the weekend of graduation be moved to the weekend after Mother’s Day so students’ could spend more time with their family.

“Even if we decided on that, we book the ceremony three years out so it would still take time for that to happen,” Vela said.

Ortega also spoke against postponing commencement.

After students take finals, they mentally check out and don’t participate in the graduation ceremony, Ortega said.

Vela praised Ortega, his team and everyone involved with commencement but still expressed concern that not enough faculty participated.

“UIW faculty members are required to participate in graduation because it’s in their contracts,” Vela said, “I would like to see more volunteers out there to celebrate graduation.”

There were no changes regarding the graduation ceremony approved at the meeting.

Amanda Martin, adjunct faculty council Chair, announced nominations for the San Antonio College Adjuncts Creating Excellence Award are due May 31.

This award recognizes an adjunct faculty member who has demonstrated an outstanding performance of professional responsibilities in both teaching and non-teaching situations.

A full- or part-time faculty member, staff member or administrator can submit nominations by including a 700-word justification that clearly describes the contributions being recognized along with a completed nomination form.

Completed forms need to be turned in to Martin at

Council members were informed May 29 is the deadline for Title 9 training to be completed online.

All employees of Alamo Colleges must complete the training, which includes full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty; staff; and work-studies.

According to the district’s website, Title 9 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. All public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges and universities receiving any federal financial must comply.

Student resources and information regarding Title 9 are available on the district’s website.


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