The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees met for its regular meeting on Monday, June 1, to discuss the budget, learn about the results of a student satisfaction survey, and vote on contracts. Below are highlights from the meeting.
Employee Association Reports
ACC's employee associations report that they are working together to create two joint association emergency funds — one for loans and one for grants — for employees who need assistance. A committee made up of members from all associations has been established for the effort and it is currently developing guidelines and criteria.
Previously, each association had their own employee emergency fund and they have all seen an increase in requests.
ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes announced that summer enrollments are up nearly seven percent and students are taking more classes, with contact hours up nearly 15 percent.
Some in-person courses—primarily career and technical education courses—will begin to be phased in starting July 6. The college's "Return-to-Work" advisory committee has been developing new policies and protocol for faculty, staff, and students. Social distancing and facial covering will be required as they return to campus. The college will share more information soon.
Student Affairs initiated a call-a-thon to keep students engaged in a virtual environment. They called over 5,000 students to check in on them and hear their challenges. Read more here.
One of the biggest challenges students face is financial, and the college has been working hard to get CARES Act funds to students. As of May 20, $3.4 million was distributed to 3,247 eligible students. The CARES Act application was reopened for students taking summer courses, and the college will set aside funds to assist students this fall as well.
The college also received $2.3 million in CARES funds to support institutional needs, with a priority on helping our students stay on their academic journey and ensuring faculty and staff have what they need to work and teach remotely. So far, the money has been used to purchase 1,000 notebook computers and 1,000 iPads for faculty, staff, and students; to expand Wi-Fi services for students and employees; and add features to Blackboard to enhance online student support.
June 6 is the college's first-ever virtual commencement, which will celebrate the accomplishments of nearly 3,000 Riverbats. Visit the commencement website here.
Dr. Rhodes ended by acknowledging the racial injustices that are happening in our community and nation. His full statement can be found here.
COVID-19's Impacts on IT and the Budget
Imad Costantini, ACC Information Technology vice president, shared what IT has been doing to assist with the college's COVID-19 response. Many of the projects were already part of the college's IT Master Plan and had to be expedited. Read the update here.
The college is planning for changes to the FY2021 budget due to COVID-19. Neil Vickers, ACC Finance & Administration executive vice president, discussed some of the concerns brought on by the pandemic and recommended actions.
Recommendations include extending the hiring and travel freezes through the fall semester, not giving raises, and not investing in any new projects.
View the entire budget discussion here.
2020 Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory
Dr. Charles Cook, ACC provost and executive vice president of Acadmic Affairs, presented trustees with the results of the 2020 Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory. ACC's results have improved in all categories since the last time it was conducted in 2018. View report highlights here.
Trustees approved contracts for Commercial Property Insurance and equipment for use by ACC's Architectural and Engineering Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing and Manufacturing departments.