The Austin Community College District is wrapping up a busy year, with growth and achievements in a variety of areas.
“We are meeting our mission of increasing student success and expanding access to higher education throughout ACC’s service area,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “The college can be proud of its accomplishments in 2011, and we look forward to what 2012 will bring.”
Highlights from 2011 include:
New President/CEO – The ACC Board of Trustees named Dr. Rhodes the college’s new president/CEO this year. Dr. Rhodes assumed office in September and is continuing to enhance ACC’s focus on student success. He recently launched the President’s Podcast to communicate with the college and community.
Student Success Initiative Advancements – ACC’s Student Success Initiative (SSI) is a college-wide commitment to success for all students, and the college advanced SSI in a number of areas in 2011. MATD 0385 is a developmental math course that cultivates skills of students not majoring in math or science. Data gathered in spring 2011 showed MATD 0385 had the highest pass rate among developmental math courses (73 percent of students earned an A, B, or C). In addition, the college expanded its Faculty Coaches Program to facilitate departments’ use of data to improve success. Learn more about SSI at austincc.edu/success.
Other Student Successes – ACC ranked among the top associate degree and certificate producers in the country, according to Community College Week newspaper, and in the top 10 for awards of associate degrees in health professions and registered nursing. ACC also placed in the top 10 for CPA exam success rates among major Texas colleges and universities for April 2010 through March 2011. ACC is the only community college to make the list. In addition, ACC had a record number of students eligible to take part in its 2011 commencement ceremony.
Highland Mall Acquisitions -The college continued its acquisitions at Highland Mall, closing on the land under the core of the mall in May and the former J.C. Penney property in August. ACC now owns 100 percent of the mall land and three former anchor store buildings. ACC is in the planning process for redeveloping the former J.C. Penney store, expected to open as instructional space in fall 2014.
Elgin Campus Groundbreaking – More than 500 people gathered for the Elgin Campus groundbreaking in November. The event marked the start of construction for the campus, scheduled to open in August 2013.
Smoke-Free Policy – The Board of Trustees voted in October to implement a smoke-free policy for all ACC campuses and facilities, effective January 2, 2012. The college is already smoke-free inside buildings; the new policy also prohibits the use of smoke-producing tobacco on college grounds and in ACC-owned vehicles. The college is offering students and employees smoking cessation resources.
Financial Strength and Stability – Recent bond ratings show continued fiscal strength for the college, and in September ACC earned the highest recognition for governmental accounting and financial reporting for the eighth consecutive year.
Balanced Budget -The ACC board adopted a $265 million budget in July that avoids layoffs, furloughs, and salary cuts despite steep decreases in state funding. The 2011-12 budget allows the college to continue its mission of expanding programs and services in response to community demand; the college has implemented modest tuition increases in recent semesters to address the 15 percent reduction in state appropriations – a loss of nearly $10 million for the college. ACC remains the area’s most affordable option for higher education.
Enrollment at 45,000+ – ACC’s enrollment exceeded 45,000 credit students in the spring and fall semesters, in addition to approximately 15,000 non-credit Continuing Education and Adult Education students each year.
Dedication of St. David’s Health Sciences Building – ACC dedicated the St. David’s Health Sciences Building at Round Rock Campus in April. The event followed St. David’s Foundation’s donation of more than $2 million to the ACC Foundation for a scholarship endowment benefiting students enrolled in health sciences programs.
Green Pass Rides Soar – ACC students and employees have taken 1.8 million rides on public transit since Green Pass, a program to provide Capital Metro passes, began in spring 2010. Last January, college trustees approved an agreement to establish a Capital Metro stop at Cypress Creek Campus in Cedar Park. The ACC board extended the agreement in November.
ACC Opens Gallaudet University Center – In January, ACC celebrated the grand opening of its regional center for Gallaudet University, the world’s only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed for Deaf and hard of hearing students. The Gallaudet University Southwest Regional Center is located at ACC’s Riverside Campus and serves eight states. Offerings include courses, training workshops, and support services.
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