At the Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College meeting this morning, Feb. 7, the decision to convert FLC to the three-credit model was voted on and passed unanimously by the Board. It will be implemented by the fall 2016 semester.
The Higher Learning Committee Accreditation process brought the three-four credit difference to a forefront. Many disciplines offer a range of both three and four credit courses to FLC students.
The polarized responses at this morning’s open comment section of the meeting made it clear that a schism has formed between faculty and administration. A heavy student voice was felt at the event, against the change.
Leading up to the meeting, the 164 voting members on faculty were given an anonymous survey. Of the 164 faculty, 124 responded, said faculty representative and art professor Amy Wendland.
What seemed to be clear was the convoluted matter of proposals within proposals. The three-credit model was not the only matter at hand. Two other changes were proposed alongside this, offering confusion, said psychology professor Brian Burke in an email following the meeting.
Provost Barbara Morris had stated publicly that the matter of the 2-plus-2 science lab proposal was separate from the three-credit model proposal.
According to Burke’s email, one of the questions on the survey for faculty read, “Overall, to what extent do you support this proposal?” There seemed to be some confusion. “What was not made clear, was which part of the proposal was being regarded: 3-credit, 2-plus-2, release time or all of the above,” he said.
These results from the survey made the faculty decision on the proposal look split down the middle, he said.
The sole faculty representative in support of the three-credit model that spoke at the open comment was, Ron Estler of the chemistry department.
He expressed regret that the issue had come to be so heated but said he believes some of the damage was self-inflicted due to work-load issues pertaining to faculty.
One of the primary issues discussed among professors at the meeting revolved around the issue of transferable credits from a mixed-model university to a three-credit model university.
The first speaker, Sarah Roberts-Cady, a professor of the political science/ philosophy and women’s studies departments, addressed potentially faulty information used by the administration when representing the transferable credits in and out of FLC.
“Thus, members of the American Association of University Professors called or emailed the registrar’s office at the four-year Colorado state colleges to find out how they handle courses transferred from FLC. In every case, the registrar’s office stated that no credits were lost when students transferred from FLC,” Roberts-Cady said during the Board of Trustees meeting.
These schools included University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Western State, Metro State, Colorado Mesa State, Adams State, and Colorado School of Mines. The faculty urged the Board of Trustees and the administration to table the proposal and rework this piece of the argument.
Board of Trustee member Peter Decker expressed a concern for faculty morale, as noted in the record of the meeting, provided by Burke. Faculty representatives Chuck Riggs, chair of the anthropology department, and Wendland expressed that delaying the decision would not assist in matters of morale. This however does not represent the faculty as a whole.
Associate Students FLC President Alex Thompson, before the vote, asked for a show of hands to represent the audience’s voice. The majority of the public in attendance raised their hand against the change. The vote commenced.
Four hours after the start of the meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to approve the three-credit model.
Though she had made the recommendations for this change, Morris said that she was heavy-hearted with the decision
As things develop further The Independent will publish updates.