Austin Community College District (ACC) has made steady progress on the Chancellor’s 2021-22 Priorities. At the Board of Trustees’ November 1 meeting, administrators involved in priorities 1 and 6, which focus on reducing equity gaps and fostering a safe physical and cultural environment respectively, reported on their progress.
Priority 1: Reducing equity gaps in student access and success by increasing diversity and strengthening student programming and training for faculty and staff
Diversity in Faculty Hiring
Larry Davis, ACC Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, presented updates on the college’s efforts to increase racial diversity in faculty hiring. The college is nearing its target of 34 percent of new full-time faculty and 30 percent of new adjunct faculty who identify as Black, Latinx, Asian, or other non-white.
|Fall 2017||Fall 2021||Target|
|Full-time faculty hired identifying as non-white||29%||33%||34%|
|Adjunct faculty hired identifying as non-white||23%||27%||30%|
Some faculty equity hiring initiatives include:
- equity-hiring training
- the development of an adjunct faculty hiring manual for revamping its hiring processes to ensure equity-minded practices
- a Provost Fellows pilot program under construction
ACC is also working to leverage its Equity Council and Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center to educate, enable, and mobilize members of our college and community to advance equity and inclusion efforts. A team has been reaching out to the Areas of Study (AoS) to make connections and offer support for their respective equity plans or initiatives, starting with Health Sciences this fall. Accomplishments to date include:
- The creation of a Holistic Admission workgroup composed of department chairs and staff researching best practices and programmatic holistic admission initiatives.
- The Associate Degree Nursing Program contracted with Capital IDEA to reserve 10 admission spots for their students every fall and spring in an effort to expand enrollment among underserved and diverse qualified students.
- Professional Nursing faculty added multicultural illustrations to their course presentations and multicultural aspects to learning where applicable.
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center
An update on the TRHT Campus Center was provided by the center’s director, Dr. Khayree Williams. The Center at ACC Highland Campus, Building 4000 is complete and is on target to be fully staffed and open to the community in spring 2022.
The Center has already hosted an in-person event, a roundtable discussion about how ACC can better support the Arab and Muslim American constituency.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for January.
Strategic Enrollment Efforts
Dr. Shasta Buchanan, ACC vice chancellor of Student Affairs, provided updates on the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, which is now working on the second phase focused on retention and returning student enrollment, and the Riverbat Flight Path, the process for new student enrollment. There are three phases to the Riverbat Flight Path: prepare, apply, and attend orientation, register, and pay. According to Dr. Buchanan’s presentation, activities in each section include:
Prepare | Implement strategically planned high school and community-based organization visits based on historic matriculation and underserved populations as well as workshops on topics such as application assistance, preparing for college, and preparing to enroll.
Apply | Develop application efficiencies to remove barriers to just apply and support students with the application process through telerecruitment opportunities.
Attend Orientation, Register & Pay | Host interactive orientation sessions both online and in-person, develop enrollment express events, and establish financial aid and scholarship outreach teams.
Priority 6: Foster a safe physical and cultural environment in which students and employees can thrive
The Return to Campus
ACC Human Resources Vice Chancellor Gerry Tucker provided priority 6 updates related to the college’s return to campus. ACC successfully reopened all campuses and centers and safely increased the on-campus populations of students and employees. The college will continue to coordinate with local health authorities and monitor the pandemic data. The college’s COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols as well as the mask mandate set by the board in August remain in place at this time.
The 3 Cs
ACC’s 3 Cs initiative is focused on building a culture of collaboration, connection, and caring at the college. Employees helped establish definitions for the 3 Cs through a series of roundtable discussions held in spring 2021, and a Campus Conversation with the Chancellor on next steps for the 3 Cs was held in June. Staff Professional Development and Evaluation hosted several webinars for managers that covered the 3 Cs and their definitions, and the 3 Cs have been integrated into the college’s Leadership Academy and Supervisory Certificate program.
An employee climate “check-in” survey was conducted during the year between biennial employee climate surveys that focused on the four areas of communication, college culture, work environment, and technology resources. According to the findings, ratings in each area improved since the spring 2020 climate survey.
A 3 Cs training for employees and a new supervisory training program are planned for spring 2022. Additionally, an upward evaluation program is being developed and designed in the new Workday system. Plans are also being developed to:
- Integrate the 3 Cs into Student Affairs.
- Identify the experiences we want employees and students to have when the 3 Cs are incorporated into the ACC organizational culture — the “Riverbat Experience.”
- Launch the full employee climate survey again in spring 2022 with targets to continue improving communication.
- Use the fall 2021 Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) to assess student satisfaction with early ACC experiences.
Office of College Relations & Marketing Vice Chancellor Brette Lea discussed the college’s work to improve information sharing between organizational units. As a result of the 2020 Climate Survey, a Cross-College Communications Team (CCCT) composed of communications experts from across the college and employee association liaisons was established to develop strategies to improve collegewide communications, training, and resources. The CCCT continues to meet regularly and is developing workplace communications resources and professional development opportunities to assist employees with growing communications skills and best practices.
Additionally, the FacStaff Info Hub launched as a one-stop-shop to provide employees with the latest college news and information.
Other websites/pages created or updated include:
Future websites and enhancements are planned for spring 2022 for ACC’s Strategic Plan, Collegewide Campus Master Plan, and the Chancellor’s Annual Report.
Also, the end of life is near for the content management system (CMS) used for the main ACC website, austincc.edu, and a transition to a new CMS that will allow for an improved user experience, content management, and access to information is being planned.
Finally, work is underway to identify communications liaisons for each division of the college to ensure timely communications are shared with key stakeholders.