Board of Trustees briefs

The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees reviewed expansion plans for Highland Campus and evaluated future construction requirements during its regular meeting Monday, October 6, at the Highland Business Center.

Rackspace academic benefits

Trustees evaluated the academic benefits the college will receive through its proposed public-private partnership (P3) agreement with the cloud computing firm Rackspace Inc. The benefits are wide-ranging and impact students and faculty, including:

  • Full-time internships
  • Scholarships
  • Access to the “Rackspace Dojo” for computer science students
  • On-campus recruiting
  • Volunteers for the ACCelerator
  • Public space for students and faculty

“This partnership could be a game-changer,” says Bill Blackstone, Rackspace Austin general manager. “We want to help create opportunities that help ACC students change their overall life trajectory.”

Rackspace also will offer direct benefits to the college, including:

  • Curriculum content assistance
  • Subject matter experts to advise computer science students
  • Opportunities for faculty development
  • Guest lecturers
  • Adjunct professors
  • Managed cloud services

“If we want to meet the needs of the future, it’s going to depend on these types of partnerships,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO.

Final approval on the P3 agreement is expected in early December.

Childcare facilities needs

Trustees approved a resolution supporting the development of childcare facilities at ACC campuses. The proposal includes the construction of a childcare center on every campus, beginning with a proposed center at Highland Campus.

Construction wages and working conditions

Trustees reaffirmed the district’s commitment to fair wages and safe working conditions on construction projects. The board also approved a motion calling for the creation of a task force comprised of seven to 13 representatives from the ACC Business Services and Human Resources departments, general contractors, advocacy groups including the Central Texas Building Trades and Workers Defense Project, and others to evaluate the impact of additional construction-based commitments such as establishing a $15 minimum wage for all workers, seeking Better Builder Certifications for all bond-related projects, and having monitors on property at every district project. The task force is expected to report its findings to the board January 20.

A full review of the meeting is available on the Board of Trustees website.

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