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.

Congratulations to Dahlia Anzaldua-Torres for receiving the Star Award from LGBT Equity Committee. The Star Award is given to an individual who goes above and beyond in support of the LGBTQ community within ACC.

She received this award on Spirit Day, October 18, which had more than 140 participants. Spirit Day stands against bullying and shows support for the LGBTQ community.


GW Hildebrand, Criminal Justice Department Chair and Professor, attended the annual International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship at the FBI Academy in Virginia from September 25-29. More than 40 fellows from around the world received training in unique disciplines dealing with violent and interpersonal crimes and also worked a number of active cases from various venues. Hildebrand is also the Vice President of the Fellowship. About ICIAF: http://www.iciaf.org/


ACC at the Texas Book Festival

The ACC Creative Writing Department hosted a table at the Texas Book Festival, featuring the following authors and their works: Casey Rogers, Charlotte Gullick, Irwin Tang, Brian Yansky, and Vive Griffith. Charlotte Gullick also moderated the panel, “Stories of Family, Stories of Self,” with authors Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Barbara Gonzalez Cigarroa, and Carolyn Osborn.


Dr. Amardeep Kahlon was named one of ten Teaching Innovators by the Chronicle of Higher Education for “using fresh approaches” in the classroom to help students succeed.

The Chronicle sought nominations from its readers via social media, from college teaching advocates, and from higher-education leaders, who represented different fields and diverse types of institutions. The final selections were made by a group of Chronicle editors and reporters.

Kahlon’s online, competency-based courses allow students to progress at their own pace, but doesn’t let them get ahead of themselves. According to the Chronicle’s article, Kahlon’s approach is “distinctive because of how she has tailored her teaching to individual learning styles with a method she calls ‘read it, watch it, do it.’”

You can read the full article, “Tailoring Courses to Fit Students’ Learning Styles,” on the Chronicle of Higher Education website. Note: link may be paywalled or subscription-only.


Herbert Coleman was selected to present at 2018 SXSWedu. His Future 20 Session, “Fidget Spinners, Mindfulness and Flow,” will address the research and the relationship of flow to learning, specifically: the research on both fidget spinners and mindfulness in education; the topic of flow or concentration in learning and how it’s achieved; and to provide some answers on how flow states develop and when they are most appropriate for learning.


Randy Wedlund, Officer Leanne Brantner, and Dillon Carter participated in the Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) Mudstacle on October 14. Christien Rawlins and her family were their coaches and cheerleaders for the event. Funds raised through this event support and expand LEEF programs, such as innovative teaching grants, textbook scholarships for dual credit students, free children’s books, and college readiness initiatives.


JoAnn Benfield served as a deaf music interpreter at ACL Fest, visualizing rhythms and rhymes through American Sign Language. Read more>>


ACC at the sixth annual Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce Women of Distinction Awards luncheon on October 27.

Virginia Fraire, Ph.D., vice president of student services, selected as one of Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) 2017 Women of Distinction. She was honored alongside 11 other outstanding Latina leaders at the sixth annual Women of Distinction Awards luncheon on October 27.

The honor recognizes her excellence, endurance, tenacity, and bold approach to providing an equitable path to success for all students.

Dr. Fraire’s efforts include: achieving her Doctorate in Educational Administration from the Community College Leadership Program from The University of Texas at Austin; serving as the district’s Students Affairs Officer responsible for 11 campuses and more than 70,000 students; engaging in national efforts to transform the student support delivery model from transactional to holistic and equity-centric; demonstrating her community commitment through service on multiple boards including Big Brothers, Big Sisters Foundation, Boy Scouts of America Exploring, and Board of Trustee at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.


ACC culinary students and Chef Waggoner competed in the fifteenth annual Paella Lovers United Competition on Nov. 11. They cooked paella over an open fire, which was judged on flavor, texture, presentation, and socarrat, the caramelization of bottom rice. 


Patti Singleton was mentioned in the Statewide category as Secretary of the Texas Association of the Deaf (TAD).


Dia de los Muertos Altar at HBC, Nov. 2

A message from Dr. Richard Armenta, Associate Vice President for Student Success

During “Dia de los Muertos,” many of our students have families who construct altars at home and may often visit the cemetery to honor deceased family members and loved ones. “Dia de los Muertos” is a celebration of life! This day and the altar are a time of remembrance of those we miss by displaying their pictures or mementos.

As an introduction to this custom, students from ACC’s Catch the Next Project constructed an altar at the Highland Business Center for “Dia de los Muertos,” often translated literally to “Day of the Dead.”


Newly Minted Ph.D.

Nina Almasy, DNP, RN, Department Chair, Associate Degree Nursing, completed her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) at UT-Austin’s School of Nursing in August.

Her DNP scholarly project was development of a Transition to Practice Training Program for nurses who are transitioning to the Long Term Care settings in the state of Texas. This training program was developed for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the UT Center for Excellence in Long Term, through a multi entity partnership. Almasy was the content developer for this training program. She presented this at a national conference in September (OCHSNER EBP/Research conference, poster presentation).

Dr. Almasy currently serves as the Department Chair for the Associate Degree Nursing Program at Austin Community College where she leads the faculty, staff, and students across three campuses. Prior to her current position as the department chair, she served as faculty in the Vocational Nursing Program at ACC for 14 years. In this faculty role, she was appointed by the Governor to serve as the Vocational Nursing education representative on the Texas Board of Nursing in 2012.

Dr. Almasy has served on shared governance and college-wide committees and the Faculty Senate at Austin Community College. She has been nominated several times for the ACC teaching excellence award and received the Teaching Excellence award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2008. Dr. Almasy is one of the founding members of the Texas DNP Organization and currently serves as an advisory panel member for the UT Center for Excellence in Long Term Care.

She earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Ahwaz Medical Sciences University, School of Nursing in Iran, a master’s degree in Public Health Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, and a doctorate in Nursing Practice degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. Her direct patient care experiences include medical-surgical and cardiac-telemetry nursing.


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 Madelyn Duhon, [email protected].

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