Prelude (“something preliminary”)
In September 2018 ACC received a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop and offer statewide professional development to support implementation of HB 2223. HB 2223 was passed into law by the 85th Legislature and it mandates co-required developmental and college credit classes. The premise is that too many students get mired in developmental education quick sand and can’t get out of it in order to advance to college credit coursework. Under Texas law, we use the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) to determine college readiness. Students who are not deemed college-ready under TSIA are mandated into classes that will help them build their skills in college-level reading, writing, and/or math. HB 2223 presumes that providing just-in-time and contextualized remediation in a corequisite setting will help more of our students achieve their college goals.
The THECB HB 2223 professional development grant obligates ACC to offer conferences and webinars around the state to both two-year and four-year public colleges and universities (at least five PD opportunities each year for the next two years) to help them effectively implement the requirements of HB 2223. In addition, under the grant we are building a peer learning directory to share information, research, promising practices, and lessons learned. The grant was given to ACC in September and ACC INRW (Integrated Reading & Writing) faculty laid the foundation for the work with the development of a needs assessment survey and the creation of a Texas Corequisites Project web site. In November I was asked to spearhead the work going forward, along with our Math/Developmental Math Department Chair Carolynn Reed (and – of course – relying on the outstanding support of my executive assistant Rhonda Little).
Interlude (“an intervening period or event”)
The decision had been made early in the Fall to host/put together/convene a conference here in Austin on January 25 and 26 under the HB 2223 PD grant.
So now we get to my “day in the life”: Friday, January 25.
I arrived at work around 8:30 to do a bit of email before a 9:00 o’clock meeting. My boss (Mike Midgley, VP Instruction) called around 8:45 to make sure someone was going to chair Curriculum & Programs at 10:00 (and yes, I had that on my calendar), since he, Gretchen Riehl (AVP, Workforce Education) and I all had multiple obligations that morning. Divide and conquer was the goal.
At 8:58 I headed downstairs to the 9:00 AM meeting of the Dual Credit Growth & Sustainability Task Force. This task force has both ISD and ACC members and is focused on strengthening our partnerships to support – you guessed it – the growth and sustainability of our dual credit offerings. The meeting was scheduled to run until 11:30, but I had to leave at 9:45 to get over to HLC for Curriculum & Programs.
At 10:05 I began the Curriculum & Programs meeting. This is one of my favorite meetings each month because the members do good work and take their work seriously. Among other things, we approved updates and revisions to the master syllabus template (since sent out for comment via the Faculty Senate and Adjunct Faculty Association), new programs in Agricultural Sciences (an AS and and AAS), updates to the Psychology AA to incorporate the state-approved field of study, and new tracks for the Entrepreneurship AAS.
By 12:30 I was back in my office, where I wrote the introduction for the keynote speaker for the Friday evening opening of the #TxCoReqs Conference at HLC’s Social Staircase. I also tried to catch up (a bit) on email and return some phone calls.
At 2:00 I was in the first meeting of the NACEP Accreditation Advisory Board. The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships offers accreditation to dual credit programs, and ACC is initiating the accreditation process. If we receive NACEP accreditation, we will be the first dual credit program in the state of Texas to be accredited. This was the kick-off meeting of the internal Accreditation Advisory Board to start the conversation about what we will do, when, and how.
I left the NACEP meeting around 3:00 in order to get over to HLC to begin the preparations for the evening’s kickoff of the #TxCoReqs Conference.
Attendees were invited to have appetizers at 5:00, take campus tours at 6:00 and 6:30 (ACCelerator, Fashion Incubator, Bioscience Incubator), and hear the keynote at 7:00. So “preparations” included checking the set up (no, there weren’t enough tables, we didn’t have table cloths, there wasn’t a podium, we needed more chairs, etc.). Paper table cloths were found in Student Life, more tables were delivered by the folks in the Campus Manager’s Office, a podium was found, additional chairs were set out.
Around 4:00 the food was delivered, which required getting it organized on either side of the Social Staircase to ensure two lines for the appetizers (we were expecting approximately 150 attendees). Among the chicken tenders and quesadillas and veggie and cheese trays and such, we had ordered chips and salsas/hummus. The chips arrived in bags – so I had to dash home (I live approximately ten minutes away – that is, when it’s not rush hour) to get serving bowls for the chips. (Sometimes my “hostess” gene just takes over – and I wasn’t going to serve chips out of bags!)
We had student interns available to help us with the set up and the registration table, and they were great helpers, doing whatever was needed (including quickly washing a couple of the serving bowls that I had just brought from home). The registration tables were set up, the name badges were organized, the conference programs were spread out.
We ran a shuttle bus from the conference hotel to HLC, and attendees started arriving around 4:45. (My thanks to the “shuttle host” Dr. Marilyn Yale who stationed herself in the lobby of the hotel to direct conference attendees to the shuttle.) Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, the atmosphere, the congeniality, and the campus tours. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Luzelma Canales, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Success at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, focused our attention on Reframing the Student Experience Through an Equity Lens, and spoke from the heart and from personal experience about our students and how they experience college.
Around 8:00 PM folks started heading for the shuttle back to the hotel. We were left to gather up the remaining food, throw things away, and in general make sure that we were good stewards of the space and didn’t leave a mess.
At 9:00 PM we finally left HLC, with the #TxCoReqs Conference opening evening a success.
Postlude (“something played afterword; closing”)
Bonus day in the life: January 26.
I was at the conference hotel by 7:20 AM to get the registration table set up. Breakfast for attendees was served at 8:00, Dr. Cook delivered brief welcoming remarks at 8:50, and the first breakout sessions began at 9:00. We offered a total of 16 breakout sessions in the morning and afternoon, with lunch provided in between. My thanks to the “room hosts” (Ann Palmer, Julie Wauchope, Gillian Waterston, Ysella Slavin) who handed out and collected session evaluation forms and served to trouble-shoot when presenters needed help.
The conference concluded with remarks from Dr. Suzanne Morales-Vale, the Director of Developmental and Adult Education at THECB. As the conference ended, we collected the plastic name tag holders (to be used again at the next conference), gathered up remaining conference folders, and wished folks safe travels.
I left the conference hotel about 5:45 PM and headed home.
Really, really exhausted.
But I also knew that we (Carolynn, Rhonda, and I) had pulled it off – the sessions were well received, and the conference was well attended. So the exhaustion was connected to good people who did good work – student interns, room and shuttle hosts, hotel staff, HLC staff, presenters, and everyone else who had a hand in making this work. My thanks to all!