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.


Dr. Connie P. Williams, manager, Highland Testing Center, will be inducted into the the Austin Metroplex Chapter of National Women of Achievement Inc. at the fifteenth Biennial African-American Women’s Profiles of Prominence ceremony on March 31 for her achievements in and to contributions to the field of education.


Garry Gaber, chair of ACC’s Game Design, Animation and Motion Graphics department recently launched a new game, Starlight Tactics Unlimited. Starlight Tactics™ is a 3D turn-based tactical space combat game set 100 years in the future during a conflict which spans a star system. The free app is available on the App Store for iOS devices. As the owner of Escape Hatch Entertainment, Gaber wears many hats, from designing and programming to working on art assets.


Dr. Andres Tijerina, History professor, received the Best Paper Award at the fall 2017 conference of the International Organization of Social Sciences & Behavioral Research. Tijerina presented excerpts from the book manuscript that he is submitting for publication by Texas A&M University Press entitled “In the Shadow of the Dome: Slave Live in Austin, Texas.”


Successful giving campaign by CAD department

The American Society for Engineering Education student chapter’s food drive for Central Texas Food Bank at NRG and HBC collected 519 pounds of food, creating 433 meals for Central Texans in need. With every $1 donation creating four meals, monetary donations bring the total meals created up to 1,119 meals for Central Texans this past holiday season.


Warren Heatwole, professor of Construction Management, taught for 100 consecutive semesters at ACC. In the decades since he first stepped into a classroom at ACC, Heatwole has touched the lives of some 4,000 students. He’s served as department chair and professor. After more than 33 years leading a classroom, he isn’t ready to stop just yet.


On February 5, Dr. Cook attended the “Exploring, Discover your Future” event sponsored by the Capitol Area Council for Explorer Scouts and Friends of Explorers. There was a slideshow of the many Explorer troops in the region, including an ACC-sponsored Explorer STEM troop. The fundraiser produced over $40,000 for the area troops and student scholarships. ACC student Zoe Mattson received a $500 scholarship and shared her personal journey to a desired career in law enforcement. The second place winner Hannah Sanchez, a 16-year-old student at Stony Point High School who wants to be an EMT.   


Francis Preve, adjunct professor in the MBPT program, was the sound designer for the newly released Korg Prolugue Synthesizer. He did a demonstration in January at the Korg booth at the National Association of Music Merchants conference in Anaheim, CA where the synthesizer was released to the public for the first time. NAMM is the world’s largest trade event show for the music products industry with over 100,000 attendees.


Michelle Fitzpatrick, department chair/faculty, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism, Meeting and Event Planning, graduated this past December with her Executive Masters of Hospitality from University of Houston.


Franklin Marciales Cardenas, adjunct professor, received his MBA in Sustainable Tourism from the University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain.


John D. Lancaster, PhD, program coordinator, Building Construction Technology, recently completed his third master’s degree. He has been teaching for the past four decades and has never lost his enthusiasm. 


Doug Smith, A&E CAD professor and chair, follows the latest trends in technology to help every student succeed. His Youtube channel has over 2,300 subscribers and is used all over the world. Since 2012, it has received more more than 566,140 views and 1,621,000 minutes watched worldwide. Read more>>


Heather Barfield, Drama adjunct professor, has been awarded a 2018 UT Humanities Institute Community Sabbatical Grant to work on “Thirty Years of Truth and Thunder: An Archival History of The VORTEX, Austin’s Premiere Alternative Theatre.” Additionally, she has been accepted into ACC’s Center for Non-Profit Studies Certificate in Effective Fundraising course.


Drama adjunct professor Greg Romero‘s short play, Foxing, was presented as part of FronteraFest’s Short Fringe program, on January 31 at Hyde Park Theatre. Foxing was present again on February 10 as part of Mi Casa Es Su Teatro. Foxing received a commission from ScriptWorks. His short play, Big Iron Fires, was presented as part of FronteraFest’s Short Fringe program on February 9 at Hyde Park Theatre.


Rachel Atkinson, drama adjunct professor, designed the lighting for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at ZACH Theatre. The show runs January 31 through March 4.


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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