The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees held its September regular meeting on Monday, September 12. 

New Student Government Association officers were sworn in, Trustees heard reports from students who have experienced homelessness as well as from ACC’s International Programs, Chancellor Dr. Richard Rhodes’ contract was extended another year, and more. Below are highlights from the meeting.

Reconsideration of Proposed 2022 Property Tax Rate 

The college approved its 2022-23 property rate in August; however, due to new, increased property appraisals in local counties, the proposed rate exceeded the ‘no-new-revenue tax rate.’ Neil Vickers, ACC executive vice chancellor of Finance and Administration, explained the process to reconsider the tax rate, which includes a public hearing scheduled for 3 p.m., Thursday, September 22.  

Chancellor’s Contract Extended

Trustees completed the Chancellor’s annual review and unanimously approved extending Dr. Richard Rhodes’ contract as Chancellor for another year. His contract will now end in August 2025.  

Report on Student Homelessness

The college’s Student Government Association’s (SGA) AY23 president, Kay Trent, presented Trustees with a report on student homelessness. SGA completed a survey of the student body in spring 2022 to understand issues students face surrounding the rising cost of living in Central Texas. An initial overview of the findings suggests that the problem is multi-faceted. Data show that 61% of respondents face housing insecurity, and another 12% face homelessness. The committee presented their recommendations, which are centered around work to identify students in need and opportunities to track those students and connect them with resources.

ACC International Programs Accomplishments & Next Steps

William Hayden, ACC International Programs director, provided an update on ACC’s study abroad programs to trustees. After a hiatus due to the pandemic, ACC students will once again be able to participate in the college’s study abroad opportunities beginning in summer 2023. The college offers 14 unique programs across three continents. Hayden also shared information about recent grants the program received, including a $35,000 U.S. Department of State Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students grant, and new faculty learning communities implemented in recent years. 

Chancellor’s Report

Chancellor Dr. Richard Rhodes announced that ACC has been recognized by University HQ as one of the top 100 Colleges to Earn an Online Associate Degree in the U.S. Additionally, ACC’s El Centro/Latin-American Studies Center was honored with a donation from Henderson State University in Arkansas that includes 182 Spanish language classics, including the complete works of Mexico’s first feminist and many other rare and historical titles.

He also shared that ACC’s Facilities and Construction Department received the 2022 Ellington Innovation Award for its Geographic Information System (GIS) campus mapping initiative.

Dr. Rhodes congratulated ACC’s Welding Technology Department for being awarded a nearly $350,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texans and the Teacher Certification Program for receiving a 3-year $150,000 grant by The Center for Transforming Alternative Preparation Programs — provided by the Gates Foundation.

Dr. Rhodes also invited Trustees and the community to attend the unveiling of the ACC Highland Mural by Texas native and internationally acclaimed Southwest artist Amado Peña on Tuesday, September 20, and the grand re-opening of Rio Grande Campus on Tuesday, October 11.