Austin Community College accomplished a lot in 2019. The college celebrated its highest number of spring and fall graduates, which included the first graduating class of RN-to-BSN students; opened the new ACC Fashion Incubator at ACC Highland; announced a new bachelor's degree in Computer Information Technology; and was awarded the prestigious national Seal of Excelencia for its positive role in serving Latinx students. Below are highlights from the past year.
Fashion Incubator grand opening
ACC's 7,500-square-foot Fashion Incubator was unveiled in April 2019. ACC students in Fashion Design, Technical Design, and Fashion Entrepreneurship certificate and credit programs and selected designers-in-residents receive access to state-of-the-art Gerber Technology, business coaching, branded studio space, and more.
Manufacturing Incubator and Academy announced for Highland
ACC announced its third incubator at ACC Highland to nurture businesses and grow a talent pipeline in Austin's $12.3 billion manufacturing industry. The new IMPACT Lab, funded in part by a grant from the National Economic Development Administration, also will house a future ACC Manufacturing Academy developed in partnership with the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association.
NSF grants ACC $7.5M to develop national biotechnology center
ACC was awarded a $7.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a new national biotechnology education center. The InnovATEBIO Center will build a national network of educators, students, alumni, and industry partners including incubators, trade organizations, and professional societies to develop and share best practices in biotechnology workforce development.
First RN-to-BSN class graduates
The inaugural class of ACC's first bachelor's degree program graduated this summer with their Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. 23 students completed the RN-to-BSN program, which launched fall 2018.
ACC Nursing Program is among the best
For the second year in a row, ACC Nursing was voted the Best of the Best Nursing Program in the Austin American-Statesman poll. The program was also recognized as one of the best Registered Nursing programs in Texas by NursingProcess.org — a leading online source for nursing education and career information.
Z-degree recognized with Star Award
ACC's Z-Degree Program is being recognized as one of the top-performing college programs in Texas. The program is a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Star Award by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Since its launch in 2016, Z-degree programs and classes have saved ACC students more than $3.5 million in textbook costs. The college launched two full Z-degree programs in fall 2018: the Associate of Science in General Studies and the Associate of Arts in General Studies.
Computer science/IT bachelor's announced
In May, ACC announced its second bachelor's degree program. The new Bachelor in Applied Science in Computer Information Technology will launch in 2020 with three specializations: Software Development, Cybersecurity, and Data Science.
New degrees approved and launched
Two new associate degrees to prepare students for jobs in Austin's growing agriculture economy — the Associate of Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture and Associate of Science in Agriculture — launched fall 2019. The college also approved a new Associate of Science in Architecture degree to provide a more affordable pathway for students to transfer to university architectural programs and address workforce equity gaps.
ACC's Veterinary Tech pets
ACC launched a first-of-its-kind partnership with Bastrop County Animal Shelter and Austin Pets Alive! to place pets cared for by ACC Veterinarian Technology students during the semester in forever homes.
ACC named Adobe Creative Campus
ACC became the first community college in the nation to be designated as an Adobe Creative Campus. As an Adobe Creative Campus, ACC employees and students have access to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud including graphic design, video editing, and web development such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro, and Spark.
ACC hosts joint SXSW Festival
ACC and Texas leaders joined together at The Promiseland Project Presents: The Skill-Up Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) to dispel negative stigmas around skilled careers, elevate the value of a two-year education, and showcase ACC programs. More than 2,200 guests attended the two-day festival
Partnership with IBM for new apprenticeship program
ACC was one of four community colleges to receive a $1.5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to help students seeking careers in IT. The program aims to train 350 apprentices at IBM over the next four years.
Facebook 'likes' ACC for new Digital Marketing courses
Facebook partnered with ACC to offer new Digital Marketing courses to provide ACC students with digital skills to build effective social media marketing and digital media strategies. As part of its collaboration, Facebook pledged $60,000 to subsidize the cost for interested students. The classes are offered through the college's Continuing Education Division.
Career ACCelerator expands through JP Morgan Chase partnership
JPMorgan Chase awarded ACC a $250,000 grant to expand the Career ACCelerator Program and apprenticeship and other earn-and-learn positions for students. Students receive financial assistance, paid internships, and an opportunity to earn a certificate that counts toward a college degree.
ACC Champions for Seedling mentoring program
ACC is launching a mentoring program with Seedling — a non-profit organization dedicated to school-based mentoring. The "ACC Champions for Seedling" program connects employees with the approximately 8,000 Central Texas public school students who are facing the challenges of parental incarceration.
Child Watch Drop-In Center with YMCA
ACC students can receive drop-in care for their children as part of the Child Watch Drop-In Center program offered by the YMCA of Austin which launched January 2019. The program, housed at the ACC Highland Campus, expanded in March to serve children ages 12 months to 12 years, allow snacks, and offer a family discount.
Dr. Rhodes becomes the longest-serving president
Dr. Richard Rhodes is now the college's longest-serving president to date after the ACC Board of Trustees unanimously approved a one-year extension to his contract in November. Rhodes was appointed President/CEO in 2011 and, since then, the college has accomplished a lot under his leadership.
First director of TRHT Campus Center named
Khayree Williams was named as the new director of the college's Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center (TRHT). Williams is responsible for relationship-building and facilitating ongoing conversations with internal and external stakeholders about changing the racial narrative both at ACC and in Central Texas.
Seal of Excelencia
ACC was awarded the national Seal of Excelencia by Excelencia in Education for its positive role in serving Latino students. Only nine schools nationwide earned the prestigious certification which recognizes high levels of commitment and effort to serve Latino students successfully.
Construction begins at ACC Highland, Building 3000
Construction started on ACC Highland Building 3000 in September. The first phase of the building is expected to open by August 2020 and will serve as home to the new ACCTV studios and offices and KLRU-TV.
Planning Pinnacle's future
ACC turned to the community for feedback on a future Pinnacle campus in southwest Austin by hosting two community conversations in December. The college is in the process of determining the fate of the Pinnacle building, which closed in summer 2018, and plans for a future campus on the remaining 49 acres of current green space at the Pinnacle site as part of the Academic Master Planning Process.
San Gabriel wins construction awards
ACC's San Gabriel Campus in Leander received both state and national recognition. The 100-acre campus won Excellence in Construction for Institutional Projects awards from both the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Central Texas Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
2019 Boots & Bats Gala
The second annual Boots and Bats Gala raised about $300,000 for student scholarships, nearly doubling the amount raised last year. More than 500 ACC supporters and 100 volunteers attended the event, which featured hors d'oeuvres designed and prepared by ACC Culinary Arts students, music by the Sunset Valley Sentimental Family Band, and one-of-a-kind artwork from national, local, and student artists.