Change ahead: What’s new for 2015-16

acc1516A new academic year typically means new activities and processes at Austin Community College. Following are some of the planned and ongoing initiatives happening this year.

New and expanded academic pathways and programs

Competency-based programs

ACC plans to offer more competency-based learning options for students. The college currently offers 42 competency-based courses in Computer Information Technology, three in biology, and one for developmental math (MATD 0421, see below). Read about competency-based education initiatives.

Among the options are two initiatives that target students at the each end of the education continuum – high school students and adult learners:

The IT Career Academy will open at participating high schools to allow students there to earn dual credit toward a career-technical degree or certificate. Students’ school day is split between their high school and ACC. The first academy focuses on Information Technology and is housed at the Highland Campus. The college is considering future career academies for health sciences and manufacturing/construction.

Career Expressway is a partnership between ACC and Capital IDEA designed for unemployed and underemployed adults. The program combines accelerated instruction for select in-demand careers (such as computer support) with financial assistance, support services, and internship opportunities.

Degree and certificate programs

ACC’s Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program is offering new noncredit classes in topics such as fruit tree production, whole farm management, and beekeeping. Courses are offered through the college’s Continuing Education Division and may apply to a future credit program.

A Converging Media Production degree offers training in digital filmmaking and TV studio production to prepare students for creative media fields. Planned certificate programs for Technical Theater and Sustainable Production Management respond to demand fueled by the region’s growing creative sector

The college now offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Pharmacy Technology in addition to its Pharmacy Technician certificate. The degree program includes specialty, advanced certifications.

Intensive English Program

The new Intensive English Program (IEP) offers accelerated English language instruction to prepare international students for college-level courses. IEP students also take an elective course to prepare for the TOEFL language exam or to enhance their understanding of English or American culture.

MATD 0421

ACC is expanding its popular MATD 0421 course to the Pinnacle and Round Rock campuses. The class covers three developmental math classes, Basic Math (MATD 0332), Elementary Algebra (MATD 0370), and Intermediate Algebra (MATD 0390). Students complete coursework wherever they have Internet access.

Student success and support

Expanded ACCelerator hours

The ACCelerator lab at Highland Campus will remain open until midnight Monday-Thursday beginning August 24 to accommodate student demand. The rest of the campus will close at 10 p.m.

Course planning and registration tools

ACC is replacing WebAdvisor with Ellucian Self-Service applications. Students will use the tools to create academic plans, plan and build course schedules, register for classes, manage financial aid, view grades, track progress, and receive notifications. Students and advisors also can use Degree Map to create academic plans and compare degree options. Students eventually will access the tools through an online portal; the Information Technology Department expects to begin replacing the current Online Services with the new portal in spring. See ACC begins transition to new online tools for students.

Early College High Schools

New Early College High Schools launch this fall at Del Valle and William B. Travis high schools. Area students now have an opportunity to earn an associate degree at one of seven early college high schools (an eighth is planned), or through ECHS for Independent Learners.

Futures Institute

Futures Institute members will recommend strategies for restructuring college programs and services into guided pathways that promote students’ on-time completion. The 24 faculty, staff, and students will work toward a goal of implementing guided pathways in fall 2016. Read about the Futures Institute.

Student Success course

Most ACC associate of arts and associate of science degree plans now include a student success course requirement for certain students with fewer than 12 transferable college credits. Applied science degree plans will include a success class by spring. By fall 2016 most new students with fewer than 12 transferable credits will take a success course. See details at Student success course requirement: Info for faculty & staff.

Recruiting/enrollment initiatives

College Destination Center

ACC will continue operating its College Destination Center @ACC at Highland Business Center. The center, which opened in June, offers in-person or phone assistance to students and parents wanting to learn more about college and ACC.

High school outreach/College Connection

College admissions support offered to high school seniors through ACC’s College Connection Program now is provided through ACC’s Dual Credit Program and Enrollment Management Office. See details at ACC adapts high school outreach programs. High school-to-college programs now are referred to as “Dual Credit” instead of “Early College Start.”

New student recruiting software

ACC will implement Ellucian’s Recruiter constituent relationship management (CRM) software. The college will use the application to provide targeted, personalized communications, event opportunities, and assistance to prospective students throughout the enrollment cycle, from recruitment through advising.

Operational updates

Bond projects

Planning is ongoing for the various capital improvement projects approved in the November 2014 bond referendum. Plans, timelines, and budgets will be evaluated as project teams are finalized. A bond project website will keep students, employees, and the community informed.

ACC Fredericksburg Center closes

The Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg moves to Central Texas College’s service area September 1. ACC students taking courses through the center will transition to Central Texas programs and their credits will transfer. Both institutions requested the move.

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