Throughout 2022, the college continued to balance the health and safety of our Riverbat community. ACC students, faculty, and staff continued teaching, learning, and working alongside COVID-19.
We look back at the highlights and significant events that happened districtwide in 2022.
2022 COLLEGE INITIATIVES
To streamline decision-making and delivery of services across the district, ACC moved to a regional campus management structure in January.
ACC hit several milestones this year in its reaffirmation of accreditation process. The college hosted the first Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) advisory visit in January, transitioned from the development to the implementation stage of the process, completed the full report, and had its Decennial Reaffirmation Self-Study visit in October, which resulted in high marks from the committee. The college anticipates a final report will be compiled and sent to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees for approval in June 2023. The implementation process runs through 2027.
ACC’s Strategic Plan expired on December 31, 2021; however, the plan was extended to allow the college time to take a focused look into how ACC will reenvision the strategic focus with lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The past couple of years highlighted the need for the college to explore new ways to offer instruction and help students overcome unexpected challenges.
To reflect ACC’s commitment and appreciation for its diverse community of students, faculty, and staff, the college recognized Juneteenth and Veterans Day with closures for the first time in 2022. While ACC has honored both holidays with celebrations for many years, this is the first year to formally observe the occasions by closing campuses and offices for the day.
ACC started a new tradition this year. The “Light Up Purple” initiative celebrates major college achievements, awards, and academic excellence. In 2022, LIGHT UP PURPLE launched at ACC Highland Campus.
This year marked the completion of ACC’s 2014 bond projects and the start of a new G.O. bond. Trustees approved a $770 million bond package for the November 2022 general election. On Election Day, ACC District voters overwhelmingly approved the proposed bond package. The package includes funds to support projects across all regions of the district to help the college create new facilities that can increase training capacity for high-demand fields such as health care and advanced manufacturing, build new campus sites in Southeast and Southwest Travis County, and create opportunities for ACC to expand facilities that can support student services like child care space and student health services.
2022 also marks the beginning of ACC’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The college was voted into existence on December 9, 1972. A lot more is planned for 2023.
ACC has entered into some truly innovative partnerships to benefit our students. The college partnered with UT-Austin Dell Medical School on a pilot mental health clinic called the Amplify Center. The center is expected to open on the Eastview Campus January 9, 2023.
Longtime partner University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) granted the ACC Foundation its largest donation in history this year. Their $5 million gift will fund new student scholarships. The partnership also provides opportunities to establish banking kiosks on ACC campuses and provide financial guidance programs for students and employees. As part of the donation recognition, the college will name a new event pavilion in honor of UFCU. The pavilion is expected to open at the highly-anticipated St. John Encampment Commons at ACC Highland in 2023.
Another longtime partnership is expanding to improve outcomes for Continuing Education students. Career counselors with Workforce Solutions Capital Area are now housed at Northridge Campus as part of a new co-location formed in order to connect students more seamlessly to city and county funding for workforce training.
ACC received a $250,000 gift from NXP Foundation to support scholarships and a new advanced manufacturing lab at ACC Highland. The donation will help fund Engineering Technology scholarships at ACC as well as the new NXP Advanced Manufacturing Lab.
ACC AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
ACC continues to be recognized for its intentional work focused on serving Latino students by Excelencia in Education. The college was one of nine institutions nationwide to earn recertification for the National Seal of Excelencia by Excelencia in Education for its ongoing work to support and serve Latino students. ACC was first awarded the seal in 2019 as part of the inaugural cohort. In addition, Excelencia in Education included ACC in a report, “Beyond Completion: Post-completion Efforts at Hispanic-Serving Institution,” that identified the college’s efforts to advance post-completion success from the intention to serve Latino completers.
ACC was one of 20 institutions selected nationwide for a special initiative from Achieving the Dream (ATD) and Lumina Foundation to increase adult participation — particularly among Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Native American students aged 25 and over — in quality credit-bearing and non-credit programs. The Prioritizing Adult Community College Enrollment (PACCE) initiative will support ACC and other selected colleges as they implement strategies for boosting adult learner enrollment in programs that lead to post-high school credentials.
U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, praised ACC after touring ACC Highland Campus on Wednesday, March 9. He met with students, faculty, trustees, and administrators to learn more about how ACC is reimagining higher education through its unique learning environments and programs.
In August, ACC’s Manufacturing Academy was selected to host U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (TX-10), as they discussed highlights of the new CHIPS for America Act.
ACC was awarded a $40,000 grant to develop a new AI incubator at ACC Highland that will support curriculum development for several high-demand programs, including nursing, allied health, and accounting. The funds are from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Dell Technologies, and Intel, as part of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Incubator Network, an initiative to design and build AI incubators in community colleges and technical schools across the country.
ACC was honored to be named the top college/university in the region in the Austin American-Statesman’s 2022 Best of the Best Awards. ACC was awarded the distinction of “The Best College/University” — ahead of Texas A&M University and the University of Texas-Austin.
ACC was one of 44 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students (IDEAS) Program. ACC will receive $35,000 to create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. The grant project will be a collaboration between International Programs, Professional Nursing, and Peace and Conflict Studies.
ACC received a $4 million grant from the Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Grant Program to increase its support to students with children. The grant provides ACC $1 million per year for the next four years to develop the Austin Community College Child Care Access Means Parents in School (ACCAMPIS) program.
ACC was able to celebrate the long-awaited grand opening of ACC Highland Campus April 22 and 23. Nearly 400 people attended the college’s formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to commemorate the official opening of Building 2000. On Saturday, approximately 1,500 people came out to tour the new 415,000-square-foot campus and explore the college’s programs and learning facilities.
Also celebrating grand openings at Highland this year were ACC’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center in April and the ACC Innovative Manufacturing Partnerships Accelerating Central Texas (IMPACT) Lab, the college’s third business incubator, in October.
ACC celebrated the unveilings of two murals — one in the ACC Highland paseo to share the history of the campus and another inside ACC Highland, Building 2000. The Amado Peña ‘Bridges to Success’ mural depicts the value and connection of education across our community and features elements created by ACC faculty, staff, and students as well as K-12 students from across the region.
ACC Highland is still undergoing some exciting renovations, including the addition of new Welcome and Student Care centers.
Construction of The Make It Center at Highland started and has been substantially completed this year. The Center is expected to open in spring 2023.
ACC Highland received several recognitions for Phase 2, most notable this year are Best Project Innovation by Urban Land Institute (ULI) for its originality and creativity in development and LEED Gold for sustainability efforts by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The movement of different departments and offices to Highland Campus Phase 2 left space available at other campuses and sites to be filled. Nonprofit Austin took part of the ground floor of the Highland Business Center for ACC CommunitySpace, a coworking, meeting, and event space for community-based organizations to help foster deeper collaboration and mutually beneficial opportunities between the college and local nonprofits.
The college also celebrated the grand reopening of the historic Rio Grande Campus. Hundreds attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The historic renovation project has been recognized for its sustainability, earning platinum LEED certification and being named the Austin Green Project of the Year.
The college has also started on districtwide campus improvement projects funded by the 2022 general obligation bond package and maintenance and organization bonds.
ACADEMICS AT ACC
As the world began emerging from its COVID-19 cocoon this year, students began to return to school. ACC celebrated a record number of graduates — 3,340 — during Spring Commencement.
To keep college affordable, ACC distributed more than $55 million to over 15,500 students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). In addition, trustees voted to maintain tuition and fees for the ninth consecutive year. The college also expanded its Career Scholars program, which offers up to $5,000 to cover the costs of tuition and fees at ACC.
ACC expanded its bachelor’s degree offerings this year. The new ACC Manufacturing Bachelor’s degree launched this fall and Trustees approved a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity — the fourth bachelor’s degree for the college — that will launch in fall 2023.
The college also launched a new ACC podcast certificate to connect creators with opportunities in the growing podcast industry.
ACC launched several new initiatives to provide students with additional support so that they can focus on their academics.
- Student Experience & Outcomes (SE&O) Success Coaches provide specialized employment preparation and skill-building for special populations of students including those impacted by the judicial system and neurodivergent students.
- Inspire Academic Alert helps faculty quickly connect struggling students to the college’s wraparound support resources.
- The Students in Recovery Program assists students in building connections with one another and fostering engagements with recovery and wellness-related services and activities to help achieve both sustained recovery and academic success.
The college also named its Asian American & Pacific Islander Cultural Center inaugural director and welcomed its first American Council on Education Fellow.
The ACC Board of Trustees also saw some changes to its makeup, starting with Nicole Eversmann, ACC’s first student elected to the Board of Trustees. She resigned for a full-time position with the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Manuel Gonzalez was appointed interim Trustee. Then, Trustee Dr. Nora de Hoyos Comstock retired from the board when her six-year term ended this year. She was replaced by Steve Jackobs, who won the Place 6 seat in the November election. The election also resulted in the return of trustees Dr. Gonzalez and Sean Hassan.
Trustees made several instrumental decisions in 2022. In addition to approving tuition rates for the year ahead and the 2022 G.O. bond, Trustees also approved the largest employee compensation package to date.