ACC Board of Trustees January 11 Recap

The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees held its first meeting of 2021 on Monday, January 11, in a virtual format due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Below are highlights from the meeting.

Chancellor’s Priorities

The board received an update on the Chancellor’s priorities. ACC Chancellor, Dr. Richard Rhodes, discussed updates on two of his priority areas.

Priority One: Reduce Equity Gaps in student access and success by increasing diversity and strengthening student programming and training for faculty and staff. Highlights include:

  • The college completed its equity council bylaws, structure, and budget.
  • ACC’s inaugural Equity Council, made up of 24 districtwide representatives, hosts its first meeting Wednesday, January 13.
  • The college launched more than 50 internal professional development opportunities focused on equity and diversity. Additional training for supervisors, staff, and new faculty are planned. A Campus Conversation on Equity Training at ACC is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, January 21. The virtual event will be available via livestream and is open to all employees.
  • Four grants, totaling $11,000, have been approved for equity and diversity initiatives. Additional mini-grant proposals are underway.
  • Training for 110 non-faculty supervising and hiring managers and 90 employees involved in faculty hiring is scheduled between January and May 2021.
  • The Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center (TRHT) completed 10 of 12 targeted faculty/staff engagements and nine of 20 targeted student engagements.
  • TRHT far exceeded community engagement endeavors by completing 23 programs that impacted 529 community members.
  • The college’s Strategic Enrollment Management Committee (SEMC) completed goals for target students. Future steps include seven short-term strategies:
    • External review of enrollment student experience and processes
    • Non-matriculant survey
    • Proactive recruitment and outreach
    • Welcome center/campus tour
    • Communication technologies
    • Financial aid education and outreach
    • Orientation and first-semester advising

Priority Six: Foster a safe physical and cultural environment in which students and employees can thrive. Highlights include:

  • The college continues to consult with local, state, and national public health leaders, local institutions, peer colleges, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop protocols for a safe return to campus.
  • ACC successfully and safely expanded locations open for classes to nine of 11 campuses, serving 3,000 students.
  • The college is on track to implement its culture of collaboration, connection, and caring (3Cs) to improve college functioning and employee morale which will enable employees to improve outcomes for students and eliminate equity gaps.
  • The college is in the process of revising the employee grievance process and will make recommendations by spring 2021.


Legislative Priorities

The board unanimously approved the 2021 state legislative priorities for the 87th Texas Legislative session. Priority requests include flat funding from the 2019 biennium and a special item in the state budget to help fund workforce programs targeted to those who have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. ACC also plans to ask for the ability to offer more than three baccalaureate degrees. Read more on the priorities here.

RAC Appointments

The board approved new members of the Regional Advisory Committees (RAC). The RACs represent the district's north, south, and central service areas and are designed to strengthen the link between the college and the community. During the first RAC meeting in April 2019, members drew lots to determine who would serve one-, two-, and three-year terms. All members will now serve three-year terms. New members include:

Central Region

  • Kathleen Chen
  • John Michael Cortez
  • David Glass
  • Pooja Sethi

North Region

  • Shaun Cranston
  • Dr. Omar Lopez
  • Ted Siff
  • Anthony Watson

South Region

  • Rich DePalma
  • Tam Hawkins
  • Martha P. Cotera
  • Corinne Wong

Chancellor’s Report

Dr. Rhodes informed trustees that fall 2020 commencement honored more than 3,400 completers from summer and fall 2020. More than 14,500 graduates, friends, family, and community members joined to watch the virtual ceremony. ACC looks to welcome future graduates in spring 2021. Dr. Rhodes noted portions of the newest phase of ACC Highland will host some in-person classes starting in January.

He also announced ACC student Jack Russell was selected for the prestigious 2020-21 Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award, a national honor from the League of Innovation. The award, presented to one student nationwide, recognizes outstanding technology students. Jack is a student in the Computer Science and Information Technology program. Learn more about his honor here.

Dr. Rhodes recognized ACC’s commitment to reducing barriers to student success through open educational resources (OER). Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education invited ACC to serve as an early adopter and contributor to the new statewide OER repository called OERTX. Through the creation of the institutional ACC HUB on OERTX, ACC is expanding our ability to discover, create, and disseminate OER among ACC faculty. Read more about ACC Hub on OERTX here.

Lastly, Dr. Rhodes announced ACC signed a letter of intent with Texas A&M University-Central Texas. The partnership builds new, seamless undergraduate and graduate transfer

pathways for ACC students for Business Administration and Computer Information Systems students. Read more on the partnership here.