It has been one month since Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart started as Austin Community College District’s (ACC) ninth Chancellor.
During his first 31 days, he hosted conversations with employees and worked directly with students to understand their experiences at ACC.
In October, Dr. Lowery-Hart visited seven campuses across the district. At each campus, he joined faculty and staff for a Campus Conversation focused on his First 100 Days plan. He also toured the campuses to visit their unique facilities, centers, and resources.
Additionally, Dr. Lowery-Hart launched a new employee outreach initiative called Virtual Employee Town Hall Meetings. The first session reached maximum capacity within its first 10 minutes. In the discussion, he shared his observations to date and responded to questions and comments from the chat in a round he dubbed “Rumor Busting.”
Due to the high demand, the college has increased capacity for the Virtual Town Hall Meetings. The next session is scheduled for Friday, November 3, from 9-10 a.m. Employees may access the Zoom link directly on the Virtual Town Hall website. Each session is recorded and published to the page for those who are unable to attend live.
View some of the Chancellor’s photos from his visit to the Riverside Campus in the slideshow below.
During his first month, Dr. Lowery-Hart also devoted time to connecting with students. He toured the newly expanded student centers at ACC Highland and heard directly from students and parents about how the centers have helped them navigate their college journey.
Throughout October, he also has worked directly with students — hiring some to serve as ‘secret shoppers’ and hosting student focus groups.
“I want these students to help root me in how they’re experiencing us, our services, our processes, our communications. What they have shared has been affirming and illuminating,” says Dr. Lowery-Hart. “They talk about how caring you all are, and how much they trust us. In fact, they may trust us too much. They don’t think we make mistakes. So, if there’s a problem, they think it’s their fault rather than a lack of awareness of the issue on our end. This is something we can learn from and build upon.”
In addition, Dr. Lowery-Hart will host his first Virtual Student Town Hall on Thursday, November 9. The meeting will provide a direct line for students to meet with the Chancellor to hear about his plans and share their ideas and challenges.
Beginning next week at the November 6 Board of Trustees regular meeting, Dr. Lowery-Hart will host work sessions with Trustees to explore opportunities to improve the student experience at ACC.
The first focus for these Board Work Sessions is centered on child care support for students. The next three monthly board meetings will begin with a 1.5-hour work session devoted to the topic. The November session will look at where we are today. In December, the session will explore options moving forward, and in January he hopes to identify solutions. The work sessions are open and will be held in the Board Room of ACC Highland, Building 3000.
Dr. Lowery-Hart also has started to share his vision for what’s to come once his First 100 Days comes to an end. Among his priorities, he expects to close the college for a day in February 2024 and invite all employees to participate in a collegewide data summit. Details about the summit including the date, time, and location will be shared as they are confirmed.
To follow all the news and updates on the Chancellor’s First 100 Days, visit austincc.edu/100.