Jacqueline Claunch, the founding president of Northwest Vista College, one of five schools in San Antonio’s Alamo Community College District, said that for the first time in her life, she feels as if she’s engaging in a protest.
Earlier this month, despite an effort by Claunch and about 130 members of her faculty, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a major change to the core curriculum for the district’s colleges, calling for them to swap out one of their two currently required humanities courses for a mandatory “Learning Frameworks” course that was developed in association with FranklinCovey, a private training firm.
Bruce Leslie, the chancellor of the district, which serves more than 108,000 students, pushed for the new course. He said it is part of a broader effort to align students’ education with workforce needs. But others, including Claunch, have raised questions about the lack of faculty input in the matter before it was sent to the state for approval, which they believe skirted the standard approval process for such changes.
The dispute recently attracted the attention of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which accredits four of the district’s five schools. In mid-March, it sent letters to the four presidents, including Claunch, with questions and concerns.