What’s more important, studying English or a book about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Needless to say, some members of the faculty at Alamo Colleges are less than thrilled with the idea.

Colleen Flaherty of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Humanities or Self-Help?

Lectures on “putting first things first” and “beginning with the end in mind” could soon replace those on world civilizations and logic for some students enrolled in San Antonio area community colleges.

Bruce Leslie, chancellor of the Alamo Colleges, is hoping that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will approve his bid for a course heavily influenced by the popular self-help book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to become part of the core curriculum, in place of a humanities course. But faculty and administrators at one of Alamo’s five colleges are opposing the proposal, raising both curricular and procedural concerns.

“We understand that the district administration is proposing the inclusion of EDUC 1300 to replace the additional humanities requirement” in the core curriculum, the Northwest Vista College Faculty Senate said in a letter to the state coordinating board, which will either approve or deny the course’s place in the core by March 1.

In addition to faculty, a handful of administrators, including President Jackie Claunch, have signed on to the letter, which continues: “We are writing to inform you that the faculty and administration at each of the five colleges were effectively left out of the process of creating the proposed changes.”

The letter says select faculty and staff members were invited to discuss the proposed course in the fall, but that there were “no formal discussions about the [the course’s] placement in the core. Decisions about the final content and direction of this course are still under way.”

Beyond procedural concerns, faculty members also are worried that the proposed course, called Learning Framework, would replace one of only two, three-credit humanities requirements in the 42-credit core curriculum for Alamo Colleges. Instructors say that those six credits were one of only a few places left within the curriculum for students to explore such topics as philosophy, English and history.