Sunday, April 10, 2011

ASU Budget Cuts to Blow Hole in QEP?

Angelo State University will have a hole blown in its budget, courtesy of the Texas Legislature.  The budget is one of four legs in ASU's strategic stool.

Unfortunately, the assessment leg was already weak.  The university's accrediting body cited Angelo State for noncompliance in 2009:
No organized, comprehensive approach to the ongoing assessment and improvement of student learning in educational programs is currently in place.

Full implementation of a comprehensive program of institutional effectiveness has been hampered by a lack of continuity in direct administrative responsibility. ASU has had two IE directors--one who retired in December 2003 and the other who was hired in fall 2004 and who retired in summer 2007--and one interim volunteer from fall 2007 to the present. During the eight months between the two directors, no one was responsible for IE reporting.
ASU instituted a Quality Enhancement Program (QEP) to address accreditation issues.  The process calls for widespread input from ASU staff/educators, students and community members. 

Over 400 ASU employees, faculty, deans and administrative staff, provided input for the Big Idea.  How many will get a pink slip on April 15?  Organizational trauma can kill quality enhancement efforts.  Widespread layoffs and increased class loads will impact ASU educators.  Will those remaining work hard to address longstanding accreditation issues in the midst of chaotic change?  The bulk of work lies ahead.


April 15 is more than the day ASU employees find out if they have a job come Fall.  It's the day two accreditation reports are due, a monitoring report and another on substantive change. Substantive change looms and quality will likely suffer.  It's the Texas Legislature's Big Idea.  Will motivated ASU faculty monitor the impact of the "Great Texas ExPerryment?"  That will require a vista like view.

Update 4-13-11:  Dr. Rallo shared his big idea at the Faculty Senate.  Teaching a class of 1,600 students is no big deal.   That means ASU will need only 21 faculty for 6,700 full time students (6,700 students * 5 courses/student = 33,500,  which divided by 1,600 kids per class = 21 faculty members).  When ASU hits the magic 10,000 number, it'll need 31 faculty.  How many will fall on ASU's pink slip Friday?  One thing's clear, faculty know Dr. Rallo isn't in their foxhole.

Update 4-16-11:   President. Rallo's other big idea related to accreditation.  Should ASU receive probation, not the double secret kind, Rallo said the university would be toast.

Update 5-4-11:  QEP's Big Idea will be unhatched today.  The public is invited.

Update 5-5-11:  QEP's Big Idea is community involvement.   It's the acronym for the post ASU-Pocalypse future. Will they study the impact of legislative budget cuts on the Concho Valley?  It's a timely project, one that cuts across multiple disciplines, education, health care, social services, business, employment benefits, and the economics of job loss.  The problem is "good citizens" aren't supposed to bring up when government isn't being open, honest or accountable.

Update 6-5-11:   ASU's Rallo placed the same emphasis on accreditation he put into recruitment and retention. Why did it take a year for the next level down to raise the alarm?  Also, how many full time faculty slots were eliminated after April 15.  Days after Dr. Rallo told staff there would be no layoffs, six office professionals lost their positions. The bar for honest administrative communication continues to fall.

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