Urgent: Special Community College Board Meeting

An important public meeting will occur on 12 January. Alamo Community College District (ACCD) is hosting a special meeting to address the issue of single accreditation. Single accreditation would require aligning ACCD colleges so that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools can accredit the district as a whole -- instead of leaving the colleges independently accredited. Some professors have alleged that single accreditation has been Chancellor Bruce Leslie''s surreptitious plan since his arrival at ACCD in 2006. The consequences of single accreditation are multiple and have the potential to affect all 1.6 million Bexar County residents (read the summary of the Accreditation Review Committee Report below). ACCD is only giving the public one chance to come speak or learn about single accreditation . Several forums were held last semester for faculty and students to learn and speak about single accreditation, however.

The Accreditation Review Committee Report was released to the public on 16 December. The facts gathered for this report indicate that single accreditation would be harmful, not helpful. After five months of research, the 21-member committee released the report with these important findings:

  • If all of the colleges were accredited as one, St. Philip's College would most likely lose its status as a historically black college. Without this status, St. Philip's would most likely lose more than $7 million each year. The other colleges would probably lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants each year as well. St. Philip's alone would lose about $70 million over 10 years.
  • If the district were singly accredited, about $235,000 would be saved annually. The savings would come from not having to pay the costs associated with getting Northeast Lakeview College accredited and not having to set up and maintain separate financial audits for each college.
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredits ACCD. The report states that the process of singly accrediting the district would take about five years. If the district became singly accredited, NLC would probably have to wait an additional five years to receive accreditation -- making NLC wait 10 years for accreditation.
  • The report also reveals that during a 10-year span, the costs of single accreditation would be $1.83 million; the costs of keeping the colleges independently accredited for 10 years would be $4.18 million.
  • Saving $2.3 million during a 10-year span with single accreditation would mostly likely lead to the loss of about $70 million for St. Philip's College during the same period, as well as the loss of millions for several more ACCD colleges during a 10-year span because several colleges would likely lose their federal designations as Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Without the HSI designation, several ACCD colleges would be ineligible for hundreds of thousands in federal grants each year. The Department of Education determines whether or not an institution qualifies for a Historically Black Colleges & Universities or HSI designation.

To learn more, go to theranger.org . Or, pick up The Current on 13 January.

Another consequence of single accreditation is that it requires the standardization of curriculum among all colleges; the board of trustees and the chancellor have already begun this process. Most professors oppose standardizing curriculum because they say that standardizing curriculum fails to meet the needs of students who come from discrete communities. For example, Professor Christy Woodward Kaupert of SAC's political science department said that a disproportionate number of students who attend St. Philip's College come from Title 1 Schools, schools that have the highest concentrations of students who come from impoverished families. Kaupert said that the prerequisite standards, for example, at St. Philip's College are not suitable for San Antonio College and vice versa because the needs of discrete communities of students vary.

Knowledge of this general opposition to standardizing curriculum comes from letters that the faculty senates at Northwest Vista and San Antonio College sent to Chancellor Leslie, interviews with faculty senate members, and the resolutions that were read on the night that over 90 percent of professors who participated presented their votes of no confidence to Chancellor Leslie.

On 15 September, over 90 percent of professors who participated presented their votes of no confidence to Chancellor Bruce Leslie. Average participation among the four colleges that participated in the vote was about 80 percent (Faculty at Northeast Lakeview College did not participate because NLC is not yet accredited). Standardizing curriculum was just one of many reasons for the votes of no confidence. To learn more, go to therange.org

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