From the Provost: Dept. of Education visit; Futures Institute

Department of Education review

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education visited ACC April 27-May 1 to review the college’s compliance with programs relating to Title IV of the Higher Education Act (financial aid), the Clery Act (campus security), and the Drug-free Schools and Community Act.

While site visits occasionally are triggered by certain indicators, such as a high student loan default rate, no such factor applied to ACC. Given that the college had not had a program review since 1991, this visit was just as a matter of time.

Site visitors interviewed several staff and administrators and examined numerous documents and records, including the catalog, ACC policies and procedures, the annual security report, institutional and financial aid student consumer publications, and examples of forms, applications, and worksheets used to administer financial aid programs.

The reviewers cited no major issues in their exit interview. They will provide a final written report sometime within the next year.

Futures Institute

Full-time and adjunct faculty and full-time staff members are invited to apply to participate in the ACC Futures Institute, an exciting professional development opportunity to work closely with ACC leaders and administrators in shaping the future of our college. We are considering grouping programs and services into broad “guided pathways” around which the college might redesign student in-take processes, academic advising and support services, student success courses, co-curricular activities, and more. The goal is to provide students quicker access to programs of study that are of particular relevance to their academic and career goals.

During the fall 2015 semester, Institute members will engage in research, readings and discussions; make presentations and gather input from wider groups; visit other colleges; and issue a written report to the Student Success Coordinating Committee on their findings in terms of the possible benefits and cautions of a guided pathways approach to student success.

During the spring 2016 semester, members will be assigned to teams to work with the applicable faculty, staff, and administration in terms of operationalizing how guided pathways could be implemented for the fall 2016 semester.

For more details or to access an application, visit the Futures Institute webpage.

Nine initiated into new Kappa Delta Pi chapter

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The college now has a chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the International Honor Society in Education.

ACC received a charter from Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the International Honor Society in Education, to establish the Alpha Eta Pi chapter of the society.

On April 17 Dr. Giao Phan, chair of education instruction, inducted nine students into the society in a ceremony at the South Austin Campus.

Gaye Lynn Scott, dean of social and behavioral sciences, welcomed the initiates and guests and gave an inspirational speech about the influential role of educators. Dr. Marianne Phillips, the national KDP representative, presided over the initiation ceremony.  A special guest speaker was Emily Merriam, a member of the first group of students to enroll in ACC’s AAT program and a special education teacher at Bailey Middle School.

To qualify for KDP, ACC students pursuing the Associate of Arts in Teaching degree must have completed at least 30 credit hours and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Kudos to Dean Scott and Chair Phan for providing leadership opportunities for our ACC students!

Echevarria-Cruz receives Fulbright award

Dr. Samuel Echevarria-Cruz, department chair and associate professor of sociology, has received a Fulbright Scholar grant. He will spend a year in Cluj, Romania teaching Sociology, Demography, and Health at Babes-Bolyai University, the largest public university in Romania. He also has been asked to assist with research concerning the Roma people to understand how best to address health and socioeconomic inequalities experienced by this minority population.

While at ACC Dr. Echevarria-Cruz has taught in the classroom, undertaken research to help ACC better understand our students, helped faculty undertake research in their own departments, served as assistant dean, assistant chair, and department chair, and as a faculty senator, faculty senate secretary, and recently as faculty senate president.

Congratulations to Dr. Echevarria-Cruz on this prestigious award. We’re honored that he will be representing ACC internationally and will be able to share how we impact others through our efforts.

Students participate in DECA competition

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ACC delegates at the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference.

ACC was well-represented by students Brandon Bono, Jake Guy, and Joshua Koshy at the recent 2015 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando. The conference gives students a chance to network with professionals in their chosen field and demonstrate what they’ve learned through various competitions.

All three competed in their respective events, with Brandon winning 3rd place in the Project Management competition. A first-year student who enrolled after completing his service in the Marines, Brandon used his military experience as a foundation for his project, which focused on integrating artillery-tracking technology in Marine helicopters.

PTK initiation

ACC’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society recently initiated 248 new members at a May 2 ceremony at the Eastview Campus.

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ACC’s PTK chapter initiated 248 members.

PTK provides students with opportunities for both academic and social engagement, the two most important factors for student persistence. Recent studies indicate that success rates (completion, transfer) for PTK members are nearly four times higher than non-PTK members. Even after controlling for grades, PTK students with a 3.5 GPA were nearly twice as likely to be successful than non-PTK students with the same 3.5 GPA.

Special thanks and recognition are due to our outstanding PTK chapter sponsors – Mary Kohls, chair of the computer science and computer information technology programs, and Reed Peoples, interim dean of business studies.

Submit your questions

These are exciting times at ACC as we ramp up efforts for greater student success. There is a lot of good news and information to share. If you need to ask questions, please feel free to email them to me at Charles.Cook@austincc.edu. I will collect them and share written responses as appropriate. Thanks for all that you do on behalf of our students!

Charles

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