ACC Board of Trustees February 12 Recap

The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees met for its regular meeting on Monday, February 12. Highlights include the college’s financial audit, appointing members to the college’s Regional Advisory Committees (RAC), and an update to the free tuition proposal.

Below are highlights from the meeting.

Work Session includes Theory of Change and Free Tuition Proposal

The ACC Board of Trustees discussed several topics related to student success during a work session before the regular board meeting.

First, ACC Chancellor Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart presented the Theory of Change to the board. It lays out a plan that supports a typical student to complete what they start if ACC can:

  • Help them start strong;
  • Create opportunities to help them enroll full time; 
  • Help them meet their basic needs, including child care, food, housing, and transportation; and 
  • Wrap them in a culture of belonging and connection. 

Next, ACC Vice Chancellor of Institutional Research & Analytics Dr. Jenna Cullinane Hege updated the board on the student success data from ACC. Trustees and the cabinet looked at course success and survey data related to withdrawal behavior and insights into the experience of non-matriculant students–those who applied to ACC but never became enrolled students.

Highlights from the data include declining withdrawal rates in high enrollment and high withdrawal courses, with the largest improvement among Black students. Additionally, the non-matriculant survey found high satisfaction levels among students on course offerings, campus environment, and academic quality. Students who did not matriculate to ACC struggled the most with the cost of tuition and financial issues.

The ACC cabinet took the next step in in the FREE tuition pilot program. Since the first announcement in January, the proposal has expanded to include all high school seniors in the ACC service area. On top of seniors who graduate from a local ISD, it now also includes homeschool graduates, charter school graduates, and GED completers. Read more here.

Financial Audit Report

Executive Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Neil Vickers gave an update on the college’s financial audit report. The annual audit is conducted by the external firm Weaver and Tidwell.

The firm reported the college financial statements were free of any material misstatements. Read more information here.

Regional Advisory Committee Appointments

Trustees approved new appointments and reappointments for the college’s Regional Advisory Committees (RACs). The newly appointed members will serve three-year terms beginning January 2024. 

Full-term appointments include:

  • Bryan Ashton appointed by Dr. Manuel Gonzalez;
  • Kathleen Chen, John Michael Cortez, and Shaun Cranston appointed by Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart;
  • Dr. Anthony Watson appointed by Dr. Barbara Mink; 
  • Ted Siff and Mary Ann Spracher appointed by Dr. Nan McRaven;
  • Ashlee Bledsow appointed by Julie Ann Nitsch; and
  • Willie Tenorio appointed by Dana Walker.

Filling vacancy appointments include:

  • Mack Riley appointed by Dr. Gigi Edwards Bryant;
  • Jolsna Thomas appointed by Sean Hassan; and
  • Cole Wilson and Kay Trent-Pierce appointed by Julie Ann Nitsch.

The three 11-member committees represent ACC’s north, central, and south regions and are charged with helping the college strengthen the link between the district and community and enhancing and providing community input for college programs and services.

In 2024, the RACs are scheduled to have three meetings: February, June, and September. The

February meeting will be the committee’s first with Dr. Lowery-Hart.

ACCT National Legislative Summit

ACC’s Congressional delegation provided an update to the board after attending the Association of Community College Trustees/American Association of Community Colleges National Legislative Summit February 4-7, 2024, in support of the policy initiatives.

For more information about ACC’s public policy agenda, contact Chris Cervini, ACC Community and Public Affairs associate vice chancellor, at [email protected].

Board Approves Series of Contracts

The Board unanimously approved multiple contracts. First, the board approved for administration to move forward with negotiating and executing contracts for Civil Engineering Services districtwide. The requested services will include multiple campuses and departments with projects ranging from the entire project to a provision of study. 

The second allows the college to execute a contract for roofing repair services at the Highland Business Center with the Roof Company, Waco LLC. The contract includes funding from the 2021 Tax Maintenance Bond. 

Another contract will pave the way for construction and finish-out services of the music recording studio at ACC Highland Campus, Building 2000. The recording studio will be constructed in an existing shell space–– approximately 610 square feet. It will include a specialized sound recording studio comprising a medium-sized Control Room and medium-sized Live Room.

Finally, the board approved allowing the Chancellor to execute an interlocal agreement for a one-year extension with the City of Austin Fire Cadet Training Program. The extension is only for a one-year bridge agreement to allow additional time to restructure the financial agreement to better align with House Bill 8. 

View all recordings from the meeting here

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