Before I begin, I would like to publicly extend congratulations to former Senate President Linda Comte, who has been elected to serve on the Texas Community College Teachers Association Executive Committee as Treasurer. Ms. Comte officially assumed the office at the beginning of April. As a member of the Executive Committee, she will be involved in setting the TCCTA legislative agenda for 2017. TCCTA is the largest organization of postsecondary educators in Texas, and its members come from all public and independent two-year colleges in Texas.
My remarks today are on the subject of rigor, one of the Senate’s wildly important goals that align with Imagine HCC 2019’s aim of making the College a compelling place to learn and to work. To be honest, I was going to make the point while wearing my academic regalia, but cooler and calmer counsel prevailed. Even so, the point that I was going to drive home remains: from the earliest beginnings of academia, we have placed a premium on reputation. The more prestigious schools are well-regarded precisely because of their reputations for rigor. HCC is regarded as a leader in several programs for that very reason as well. We had over twenty-six hundred people come shake Dr. Maldonado’s hand last Saturday in no small part because they know a credential from us means something.
And that’s why the Senate is alarmed when we hear tell that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is warning community colleges about rigor. If people don’t think our credentials mean anything, we won’t have jobs, not a one of us. So yes, the Senate is alarmed.
But more importantly, the Senate stands ready to lead the discussion of how rigor can be maintained and safeguarded. I have previously alluded to the survey on rigor that the Senate put out, and I am pleased to say that we have concluded it and will be sharing the results with the Administration very soon –and afterwards with Board members as well, upon request. The Administration is also looking into the question of guarding academic honesty, an important element of rigor. The Senate anticipated this, including a section on honesty in its rigor survey. And we have already begun forming proposals to bring to the Administration as it looks to the future and how we can safeguard our good name.
And it is a good name. Some of you have seen me on TV, saying that “we ARE Houston’s Community College.” Well, it’s true: we are indeed a college, and we will continue to do what it takes to uphold the community’s faith that we will live up to that title. We’ll make it work.