Interviews with the ESOL department, Community Education, Adult Education, Enrollment Management, and International Studies found a consistent concern for ESOL students and potential students in getting clear and precise guidance in identifying the appropriate educational path (CE, AE, or credit courses) to fit the student’s particular skill level and educational goals. Students may often visit multiple campuses and multiple departments in an effort to get enrolled and still may enroll in a class that does not fit their educational goals. OIE data indicates ESOL enrollment has dropped 39.44% since Fall 2011. As ACC moves toward providing advising specific to the 10 areas of study, as ESOL is a basic skill program, it does not fit within the areas of study.
Currently 31% of Travis County households report English is not their 1st language, nor the language used at home. (2009-2013 American Community Survey) Texas has higher than 10% of students in public schools that are English Language Learners. (Department of Education) It is estimated that between now and 2030, immigrants and their children are expected to make up the majority of the U.S. workforce. And, occupations that will be most in demand will require an associate’s degree or above. (Immigrant Students and Higher Education)
What Other Colleges are Doing
A review 8 of our peer Community Colleges indicates 4 have specialized positions and departments include El Paso Community College, Lone Star Community College, Tarrant County College District and Dallas County Community College. Texas State University was also identified as having a specialized department for English Language Learners.
We recommend the development of an ESOL and International Guidance Center (EIGC) at Highland Learning Center (HLC). We recommend the ESOL and International Guidance Center is staffed by an Advising Supervisor, Advising Specialist, Student Services Assistant and the International Student Specialist. We recommend the current International Services department be relocated adjacent to the ESOL and International Guidance Center.
One-time costs associated with repurposing the underutilized area proposed for locating the center would cost approximately $193,600. While we have estimated salaries at $386, 883 annually we believe that existing positions in Advising and International Studies can be reassigned for this activity significantly reducing or eliminating any additional employment related costs.
Development of an EIGC location will improve ESOL student registration and retention as well as show our community we have a dedication to providing an education to the non-native English speaking population of Austin.
We recommend renovations for the EIGC be worked into the current timeline for building and renovation of HLC. Construction would begin in spring 2017 and the center would be ready to staff no later than spring 2019.
Proposal Recommended by Leadership Academy Group
Leah Jensen, Lead Computer Lab Support Technician
Courtney Mack, Accommodations Assistant
Talisia McHugh, Assessment Center Coordinator
Aaron Riethmayer, Evening/Weekend Operations Coordinator
Tammy Sharp, Senior Compensation Analyst