The board to review programs’ value

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Chancellor says transfer electives are unnecessary.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

Item 3 on the 10-step institute action plan approved by the board of trustees at the April 18 board meeting leaves the fate of programs at the board’s discretion, including electives and other programs that do not fit within one of the AlamoInstitutes.

Item 3 on the action plan states, “Students confronted with many choices in attempting to determine their academic plan and career goal often drop out in confusion.

The faculty administration will identify the number of programs and courses currently offered and describe their Institute placement, success, employment courses and relevancy, and transferability with the goal of ensuring that the programs and courses offered are the most appropriate, most in demand and most required by our students and community.”

Emmanuel Nyong, former district student trustee, said students who are confronted with too many academic choices become overwhelmed.

Nyong said Leslie should focus on programs that lead to transfer and best use the resources provided by the colleges and district.

Nyong suggested college presidents and Leslie provide presentations to the board of trustees and let the board decide which programs are successful.

In an interview with The Ranger April 19, Leslie said Item 3 on the action plan is one of the most important tasks.

“The issue is that students are often confronted with too many choices without a lot of information and a lot of guidance,” Leslie said. “What happens is when people, science says, when people have too many choices, they kind of freeze. They don’t know what to do so they make no choice. Here, our fallback has always been, ‘Well the student doesn’t know what they want to do, so give them a liberal arts degree.’ That’s not a choice. That may be the right choice for some people, but not everybody. So what we have in that category is a lot of people drop out because they really don’t know why they’re here. They really don’t know what they want.”

Leslie said there are two parts to that process of evaluating program necessity.

First, all the choices available to students should be clearly laid out and students should know to which university they want to transfer or what employer they want to pursue.

Second, there is no need to offer courses that are considered electives when students transfer, Leslie said.

Leslie said the board reviews programs offered at the Alamo Colleges but tasked him with providing a regular report on the programs’ demand.

“Because, if we have programs in low demand, why are we still offering them?” Leslie said. “Secondarily, what is the expectation of employers in our programs? Are we meeting their needs? And third, what is the transferability of our courses and programs to universities? So, give us a report that shows us the whole thing. With the intent that we continue to hone them down so that we have very clear pathways for students so they can continue to make more educated choices.”

Leslie said the colleges should ensure the programs offered are keeping up with the “rapidly changing needs of employers.”


1 Comment

  1. Kent Slinker on

    Transfer electives cost much less at a community colleges than the 4 years institutions, and in general that is one reason why many students choose to take them at community colleges. This fact is well-known. I am surprised no one reported on it or mentioned it. Community Colleges are often enriched by the cross-over interactions with 4 years university students taking electives at Community Colleges for that very reason. Any consideration of their elimination should certainly take this into account.

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