Earning A’s: Faculty and staff activities, accomplishments, and accolades

This regular feature recognizes activities and honors of ACC faculty and staff. To submit news or suggestions, see the contact information below.

Photo courtesy AFD.

Photo courtesy AFD.

Fire Officer of the Year

Adjunct Professor of Fire Protection Technology Chris Watson, who also is an Austin Fire Department (AFD) Battalion Chief, was named Fire Officer of the Year at AFD’s recent awards ceremony. Watson, who manages the daily operations of AFD’s Battalion 1 on A-shift, helped revamp the department’s policy manual and establish several standard operating guidelines. Chief Watson has taught at ACC since 2005.

Providing oversight

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has reappointed Renee Cornett, chair of the Dental Hygiene Department, to the State Board of Dental Examiners. The board oversees the licensing and regulation of dental-care providers and enforces state laws regulating dentistry. Cornett is a member of ACC’s HIPAA Task Force and several professional associations. She is a dental hygiene examiner for the Western Regional Dental Examining Board and past chair of the Texas Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee.


Gems for a cause

The Liquidation Channel, a TV shopping channel selling jewelry and accessories, will feature designs by jewelry instructor Gay “Sugar” Isber. The channel will donate a portion of the proceeds from Isber’s pieces to alleviate hunger in India. Isber’s jewelry is sold in more than 3,000 stores in the United States. Read more about her in the recent Austin American-Statesman article Liquidation Channel bringing local jewelry to world audience. See her designs on her website Gay Isber Designs.

Sharing Expertise

John Albers, adjunct professor of engineering, presented “Calculating the Volume of a Regular Polyhedron” and “’Triangle ‘Reconciliation’: Adjustments to Fit the Laws” at the 2015 Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching in Houston last fall. The presentations were based on projects he developed while teaching gifted high school students. Albers has been a math and chemistry tutor at ACC since 2013 and an adjunct professor since last year.

Four ACC faculty were panelists for “Service Learning: Alive and Well in the Communication Department” at the Texas Community College Teachers Association annual convention in Houston in February. Lisa Marie Coppoletta, adjunct assistant professor of speech; Lisa Fitzgerald, adjunct assistant professor of speech; Theresa Glenn, associate professor of speech; and Jason Vidrine, associate professor of business and professional communication, discussed how they incorporated service learning into their courses. Projects range from Austin Public Library reading buddies to gardening at Adelphi Acre. Glenn, who also serves as chair of the Speech Department, estimates her students have contributed almost 1,500 hours of volunteer service over the past 10 years.

Executive Vice President/Provost Dr. Charles Cook in March participated on a SXSW.edu panel discussing “Underprepared Students on the Pathway to Success.” The panel addressed the challenge of improving student performance and completion rates.

A paper by Dr. Rodney Rohde, adjunct professor of biology, was selected for the Zika Virus Resource Center by the online database and academic publisher Elsevier. The paper “Zika Cases Confirmed in North America: Time to Panic?” examines the cause of the virus and appropriate measures for prevention. Read the paper.

Brian Yansky, associate professor of developmental writing, recently led two workshops for the Writers’ League of Texas: “Building a Novel Out of Scenes” and “Plot in Character-Driven Fiction.” Yansky has written five young adult novels and has received the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Novel. His stories have appeared in Literal Latte, The Crescent Review, and other magazines.

Darien Clary, sustainability coordinator, led a workshop about campus Green Teams at the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability Summit in South Padre Island in February. Also attending were Mauri Winters, Student Life specialist, and Tim Kelly, South Austin Campus manager.

Bridging the digital divide

Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, third from right, accepts a Digital Inclusion Leadership recognition.

Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, third from right, accepts a Digital Inclusion Leadership recognition.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler presented ACC with a Digital Inclusion Leadership award for its participation in the “Unlocking the Connection” initiative to provide technology access to public housing residents. Vice President of External Affairs Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm accepted the recognition on behalf of the college at a recent Austin City Council meeting. Unlocking the Connection provides computers and internet access to 4,300 residents in Austin’s 18 housing properties. ACC donates its retired computers to the program, and ACC students learn technical skills by refurbishing the computers. President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes, Malcolm, and Neil Vickers, executive vice president of finance and administration, each received certificates for their involvement with the program.

ICYMI: Austin theater screens faculty-produced film

frameswitchPoster-DrewA new feature film written and co-produced by Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing John Herndon was screened in March at Galaxy Highland 10 Theatres in Austin. Several from the ACC community worked on the film: Drew Thomas, web designer in the Arts and Humanities Division, was director and co-producer; former ACC French Professor Raquel Gavia has a speaking role, and Adjunct Professor of English Richard Price plays the flute in a flash mob scene.  View the “Frame Switch” movie trailer.

Just published

Dr. Preston Cooper‘s book, “Playing with Expectations: Postmodern Narrative Choices and the African American Novel,” has been published by Peter Lang Publishing as part of its series on Modern American Literature. Cooper is an adjunct professor of English.

Submit achievements to annual directory by June 10

achievementsbook1415Items for the 2015-2016 Achievements of Faculty & Staff are due June 10.

The publication lists individuals who earn awards or recognition on the national, regional, state, and local level as well as those who present, author, exhibit, add to their educational credentials, and receive grants or sabbaticals.

To be included, go to the Achievements of Faculty & Staff webpage and click on the applicable category to access an online submission form. Activities must have occurred between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016.

Contact the Faculty Development Office, facdev@austincc.edu, for questions about the directory.


Do you know a faculty or staff member who has accomplished something notable outside the classroom or in their community? We want to hear about them. Contact Jennifer Powers, jpowers@austincc.edu.

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