From the Provost: 2015 Dream Conference, Workforce Summit

Dream Conference 2015


A snowy day in Baltimore for the 2015 Dream conference.

A spirited team from Austin Community College joined me in Baltimore last month for the 2015 Achieving the Dream conference. Our contingent included Mike Midgley, Virginia Fraire, Stephanie Hawley, Mary Harris, Soon Merz, Richard Armenta, Gaye Lynn Scott, David Fonken, Missi Patterson, Suzy Thomason, Stacey Stover, Julie Wauchope, and Rennison Lalgee.

The conference centered on student success and included presentations from community colleges across the nation on topics such as faculty development, acceleration in developmental education, developments in student services and financial aid, and new technology.

One particular highlight was the presentation by St. Petersburg College, which is transforming its students’ college experience by expanding out-of-class support, integrating career and academic advising, improving student orientation, enhancing student learning plans, and implementing an early alert and student coaching system. The collective impact of these initiatives has led to major gains by SPC students. Their video, “The College Experience,” is online – I encourage you to take a look.

At the conference, the Community College of Baltimore County won the Leah Meyer Austin Award, which honors an Achieving the Dream institution for dramatically improving student outcomes through collegewide solutions to support and promote student success.


CCBC’s facility supports training for cybersecurity experts.

Several of us were fortunate to visit CCBC after the conference. We learned more about the college’s nationally recognized programs for accelerated developmental education and culturally responsive teaching. We also toured CCBC’s state-of-the-art Cyber Security Institute, which supports the college’s information security program.

CCBC requires a credit student success course for all of its new students, as is being planned here for ACC students. The college offers 27 hours of professional development for faculty wishing to teach the course and has offered to share its curriculum with ACC.

Regional Workforce Summit

On March 6, ACC hosted a Regional Workforce Summit at the Highland Campus in partnership with the Austin Independent School District, the University of Texas at Austin, and Capital Area Workforce Solutions. The summit brought together local educational and workforce leaders to examine the latest labor market information and discuss how we can work together to expand the talent pipeline. The event was supported by a shared Regional STEM Degree Accelerator planning grant awarded by Educate Texas.

One of the interventions in discussion is a potential partnership by ACC and AISD with UT Austin’s UTeach. UTeach seeks to improve STEM instruction and education overall through a nationwide STEM teacher preparation program and a number of local STEM education initiatives. One of them, UTeach Outreach, offers a series of intensive summer camps for middle school and high school students that can ultimately lead to high school credit. There is discussion of how we can expand the partnership to include dual credit for students with ACC and the flow of students into Early College High Schools and proposed workforce academies at ACC including Information Technology, Health Sciences, and Engineering, Manufacturing, and Construction.

Student Success Innovation grants

I’m thrilled to announce the recipients of the first Student Success Innovation Grants. These projects will support the goals and initiatives of ACC’s Strategic Plan, Academic Master Plan, and Administrative Services Plan. View the Grant Awardees List Spring 2015 to see who is working to improve student outcomes.

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