With a new academic year comes newly elected employee association presidents at Austin Community College District (ACC). In this series, we welcome the 2021-22 presidents and learn more about them professionally and personally.

Classified Employee Association

The new Classified Employee Association president is Matthew Campbell, executive assistant to Dr. Gaye Lynn Scott, associate vice chancellor of Academic Transfer Programs. He is also co-chair of ACC’s LGBT eQuity Committee. He started at the college in September 2014 as an hourly Student Affairs clerk at the Round Rock Campus.

What additional roles at the college have you held?

I have had many roles at the college, including as an hourly employee, duplication/mailroom clerk, admin II, admin III, senior admin, and now as an executive assistant.

What inspired you to run for president? 

This is my second time being president of the CEA, and this time Miguel DeLeon (2020-21 CEA president) inspired me to run again with all the good work he was doing last year.

Do you have any goals for this year in your role as president?

This year’s goals are to focus on the resolutions set by the CEA last year and work closely with the college’s administration to strengthen communication.

What do you believe it takes to help students succeed?

Compassion and understanding are so important. We are here to help our students, and sometimes it is the small things that can make the difference in student success.

What do you do to unwind and get your mind off work?

Most people know that I am a gamer. When I get home, first I have to take my dog out, but once that is done we sit on the couch, and I play some Animal Crossing or sit at my computer and play some Final Fantasy XIV.


Adjunct Faculty Association

Don Morris started working at ACC in fall 1997 teaching travel and tourism courses. He is now serving a second consecutive year as the college’s Adjunct Faculty Association president. Morris previously served in the role in AY03, 06, and 21.

When did you start working at ACC and in what role? 

I started working at ACC in fall 1997. I was hired as an adjunct professor teaching travel and tourism courses. In those days it was under the marketing department at ACC. I taught 6-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday nights at Robbins High School just off of 39th and Guadalupe Streets.

What additional role(s) at the college have you held?

My primary role is and always has been as a teacher. My main focus has always been on teaching and learning. When I was in college in the 1970s, the professor’s main objective was to transmit knowledge. That was before the information age. Today, we have entire libraries of information in our pockets. My focus is in teaching students how to learn with a business studies perspective.

I also work as an instructional associate in General Studies. My primary duties include advising students on the General Studies degree plans in the Liberal Arts and in Science.

I served as president of the AFA in 2002-03, 2005-06, and again in 2020-21. I have worked on nearly every shared governance council and committee throughout the years. ACC offers adjunct faculty a place at the table, and I have always believed that it is important for the adjunct faculty voice to be heard.

What inspired you to run for president?

I had several faculty ask me to run. I have served as president twice in the past and knew the challenges ahead, but not the current processes involved. I have wanted to accomplish several primary goals that have needed attention but have never been resolved. These issues are primarily, adjunct faculty administrative work rules, e-staffing, and revising the AFA bylaws. All these are long-term goals that won’t get changed overnight, but we have to start somewhere.

Do you have any goals for this year in your role as president?

The AFA Executive Council identified the following goals for the 2022 academic year:

Short Term Goals – 
A. Improve communications, public relations, and morale
B. Increase adjunct involvement in AFA and ACC
C. Dual Credit issues
D. Develop effective compensation and benefits strategy

Long Term Goals –
A. E-staffing
B. Revise Administrative Rules
C. Adjunct Faculty evaluations
D. Pathways to full-time employment

Where did you grow up? What was it like?

I grew up in the west Texas town of Odessa. I played football from 7th – 12th grade. For most of my football years, I played running back or defensive back. In my senior year, the coach moved me to nose guard. At 5’9” and 155 pounds, I wasn’t built for the defensive line. I never faced a center from the opposing team under 200 pounds but held my own. At the end of the year, I received the coveted Fighting Heart Award. I still love the game and root for the Longhorns every week but one, the week they play Texas Tech, my alma mater.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

I taught travel and tourism at the college for 15 years and before that worked in the industry for more than 20 years. There is nothing that can replace the experience of traveling and visiting new cultures, food, music, art, and scenery. I have always loved this Mark Twain quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

What do you “geek out” about?

I love to play disc golf. Every Saturday morning, I get out with guys from my church, and we play a round of disc golf. It is a very fun sport that, unlike regular golf, is easy on the pocketbook. 

Do you have a motto, mantra, or personal philosophy?

Fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding).

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned professionally?

Focus on serving others, not your own agenda. That is true in the classroom as well. We all have a curriculum of course, but each student is unique. I also constantly try to remind myself not to prejudge. Our students have such complex lives and challenges, most of which we will never know. 

What do you believe it takes to help students succeed?

I have always been concerned with student success, but our guided pathways approach has caused me to reconsider. Although, I do not believe that student success should be the ultimate goal for a teacher. Otherwise, we could just pass everyone without thought to pedagogy. Ultimately, we must focus on teaching and learning for all students.


Full-Time Faculty Senate

Dr. Samantha Croft is the Full-Time Faculty Senate 2021 president. She started at ACC in August 2010 as a full-time Biology faculty member at Round Rock Campus the same year the campus opened.

What additional role(s) at the college have you held?

While my role as Biology professor has been constant, I also served as an assistant department chair, am currently the lead of the Teaching and Learning Academy, and have held several positions in the Faculty Senate Leadership Team.

What inspired you to run for president? 

The Faculty Senate is a fantastic opportunity for any full-time faculty to see how the college runs and to have a direct avenue to share your mind with ACC leadership. Running for a Senator position was an easy decision; President was a bit tougher.

I have had the honor to work with and learn from many dynamic faculty leaders during my years at ACC. They showed me the dramatic impact that one person can have at the college and inspired me to look for avenues to serve. In particular, time spent with Dr. Missi Patterson as a Project ACC Faculty Fellow and Michelle Costanzo during the Teaching and Learning Academy encouraged me to put my hat into the arena for a collegewide leadership position. 

Do you have any goals for this year in your role as president?

I have a laundry list of goals this year, but the common thread in all of them is improved communication. I want full-time faculty to understand that they do not have to be passive recipients of information at ACC. The Faculty Senate is here to get you answers, bring your concerns forward, and get your ideas heard. I also want to serve as a conduit of accurate information between the faculty and the college and help refine communication channels. I sincerely believe that everyone at Austin Community College has the same goal: to safely and effectively support our students to succeed. We may have various roles to play and different visions on accomplishing this goal, but the motivation is the same. I hope the full-time faculty feel empowered and have an improved understanding of the administration when my tenure as President ends.

What do you believe it takes to help students succeed?

Being seen. Feeling seen, known, that they belong, and matter empowers students to seek help when needed and stay the course to their success. Honestly, the same goes for employees. The need to feel seen and connected is universal. I firmly believe that getting to know our students and creating a safe and supportive space for them is the most impactful thing we can do as teachers. Having an open ear for our students to express their needs and sincerely doing what you can to help fulfill those needs makes all the difference. As an instructor, that could mean flexibility in deadlines and expectations or giving the students freedom to express their learning in a way they feel most comfortable. The point is you are demonstrating that you are sensitive to their needs, you believe in them, and you are willing to partner with them for their success.

What do you “geek out” about? 

I have always loved reading and science, especially biology and medicine. I was raised with a love of history and considered changing my major to History in college, so the intersection of disease and human history is an endlessly fascinating sweet spot. I dream about teaching a Microbiology class structured around infectious diseases in a historical and anthropological context. 

Do you have a motto, mantra, or personal philosophy? 

I have two quotes that describe my personal philosophy.

  1. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
  2. “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” ― Edward Everett Hale

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Galveston, Texas, in a house built in the 1890s, which my parents renovated. As I said before, I love history and Galveston was a perfect place to fan that flame. My first job was as a docent (tour guide) for Ashton Villa, where, on June 19, 1865, General Grainger read the Emancipation Proclamation and declared “all slaves are free.” We also have the University of Texas Medical Branch, where I was able to experience scientific research. My science fair project sophomore year was shadowing in a Molecular Biology lab working on gene therapy. How cool is that?! Galveston was a wonderful place to grow up. I must admit that even after being in the Austin area for 23 years, I still dearly miss the ocean.


Association of Professional-Technical Employees

The Association of Professional-Technical Employees’ (APTE) new president is Dr. Samantha Ackers, Student Affairs academic coach. She joined ACC in August 2015 as an adjunct professor of English.

Dr. Samantha Ackers, APTE 2021-22 President

What additional role(s) at the college have you held? 

Adjunct Associate Professor, English and Student Development Divisions
Registration Liaison – South Austin Campus 
ACC Ascender – Scholar/Mentor
Past President – ACC Adjunct Faculty Association (2020)
ACC Digital Fellow (2018-19)

What inspired you to run for president? 

I am always willing to serve and advocate for our ACC Community.

Do you have any goals for this year in your role as president? 

We plan to continue supporting the Chancellor’s 3 Cs, increase the Employees Emergency Fund, and continue having APTE’s presence on all college boards and committees. 

What do you believe it takes to help students succeed? 

In order to help all students succeed at ACC, we must continue to provide the necessary assistance, services, and resources equitably to all students.

What do you do to unwind and get your mind off work? 

After work, I roller skate and salsa dance.

Do you have a motto, mantra, or personal philosophy?  

I make every day a happy day.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned professionally? 

I have realized the importance of building relationships across the campus in order to serve all students.

Where did you grow up? What was it like? 

I was born and raised in New Orleans, La. The state is shaped like a boot because we kick a$$.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share? 

Our theme this year is “Working as one body, we can help all students succeed!”

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More Q&As coming soon.