As a part of a districtwide effort to expand community engagement, Austin Community College’s External Affairs Office has a new name and broadened scope.
The Division of Community Engagement and Public Affairs now comprises the newly created Office of Equity and Inclusion as well as the African-American Cultural Center, the Latino/Latin American Studies Center (“El Centro”), the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, and the International Programs Office.
“Each of these areas is about building relationships,” says ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes. “Placing them under one umbrella means we can expand and coordinate our outreach deeper in our communities — particularly in underserved areas — and ensure these relationships translate into opportunities for students.”
Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, vice president of community engagement and public affairs, leads the division. Following is a brief description of each area’s role:
Office of Equity and Inclusion
The Office of Equity and Inclusion elevates ACC’s commitment to ensuring the college is welcoming and inclusive of all students regardless of ability, race, gender, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or religion. The office is dedicated to improving outcomes for diverse students and supporting the entire ACC community. It is led by Dr. Stephanie Hawley, associate vice president, equity and inclusion.
African-American Cultural Center
The African-American Cultural Center works to promote an understanding of the culture, history, and contributions of African-Americans within ACC and Central Texas. It also provides mentoring, training opportunities, and activities to support retention. Led by History Professor Roland Hayes, the center has strong ties to the African-American community and a reputation for fostering student achievement and excellence.
The Latino/Latin American Studies Center “El Centro”
Led by History Professor Dr. Mariano Diaz-Miranda, El Centro works to raise awareness of the culture, history, and contributions of Latinos. It has a reputation for scholarship and research in Latino and Mexican-American Studies. El Centro has played an important role in cultivating an understanding of and dialogue among Central Texas’ diverse populations.
Center for Peace and Conflict Studies
The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies is a multidisciplinary program to educate the community about conflict transformation and promote strong relationships at all levels — personal, community, and global. The center will continue to be led by Psychology Professor Dr. Shirin Khosropour.
International Programs Office
Under the direction of William Hayden, the International Programs Office develops and manages study abroad programs, promotes collaborations with institutions outside the United States, serves as a resource on international issues and for globalizing curriculum, and recruits international students to ACC. The office will continue to develop international partnerships and support businesses seeking to expand their global reach.
College areas currently within the External Affairs Office — the Alumni Network, the Center for Nonprofit Studies, the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies, the Student Government Association, and ACC Elections — will continue within the Community Engagement and Public Affairs Division.
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