Behind the Scenes, Experiential Learning

The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) has many offices under its umbrella, all of which focus on support services for faculty in one form or fashion. We regularly share information about our resources and opportunities to keep faculty up to date and apprised of significant initiatives impacting the college.

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This month, we’re featuring the “Behind the Scenes” work of two different offices: Service Learning and Cooperative Education & Internships. Both of these offices fall under the umbrella of “experiential learning” here at ACC. Experiential learning is literally learning by doing, or could be thought of as “learning through the reflection of doing.” We have several offices at ACC that offer experiential learning opportunities to our students: Service Learning, Cooperative Education & Internships, and Student Life’s Common Service Experience.

All three of these areas work to create valuable connections with our local Austin community. Our partnerships with nearby businesses and nonprofits enrich our students’ education through practical experience that they can apply once they enter the workforce. The collaboration with faculty and the student’s achievement of course credit make the offices under TLED truly unique.

Service Learning – Learn more

Service learning combines project learning and community service with academic instruction. Students provide a service to a nonprofit agency and demonstrate a critical analysis of their experience as it relates to the class objectives. ACC partners include iACT-Interfaith Action of Central Texas, Victory Tutorial Program-Austin ISD, Austin Crop Hunger Walk, Caritas of Austin, Women’s Storybook Project of Texas, and more.

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Director of this Office, Dr. Lillian Huerta, collaborates with faculty to seamlessly incorporate this methodology into their courses. As an added benefit, Dr. Huerta also serves as a liaison between ACC faculty and potential non-profit partners. Read more in our Faculty Spotlight about how Philosophy Professor, Dr. Linda Cox, uses Service Learning in her course to inspire students to create innovative social solutions.

Cooperative Education & Internships – Learn more

Cooperative education is a structured method of combining classroom education and practical work experience. At ACC, cooperative education is defined as employment placement for course credit. Examples at ACC include internship classes, practicums, capstone courses & independent study courses with external placement, leadership

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classes, and Health Science clinicals.

For these programs, ACC partners with:

The Office of Cooperative Education & Internships (OCEI) works with instructional departments to develop and maintain cooperative education programs for our students. They recommend standards for co-op courses, provide training for instructors & employers, and assist with recruiting industry partners.


If you would like to take a more in-depth look at these areas, a webcast featuring TLED’s Experiential Learning will be available on Wednesday, January 31st at 10:30 am. Tune in online to learn about the services from this area, how you can get involved, and more.


Get to know the staff from these areas below.

Dr. Lillian Huerta, Director of Service Learning

Lillian Huerta is the Director of Service Learning and aids faculty with incorporating service learning into their respective courses, planning out their curriculum, and developing partnerships between faculty and non-profit organizations. She also works with nonprofit organizations to train them in the service learning teaching methodology. Lillian has been with ACC for around 7 years and enjoys that “Everyone works so hard and take on many different projects and roles that it motivates me to push forward. Also, ACC strives to implement the latest trends in education and it challenges you to always stay motivated and constantly sharpen your skills as an educator.” She is passionate about her work and loves “the idea of combining community partners with educators to create a unique and action-oriented service experience for students.”

Samuel Greer, Ph.D., Director of Cooperative Education & Internships

Sam Greer is the Director of Cooperative Education & Internships. He works with deans, department chairs, and faculty to assist with the development and maintenance of internship programs, perform outreach to employers of all kinds, and develop strategies to expand the internship offerings at ACC. Sam has worked with ACC for 5 years and says that he finds “many facets of my job are rewarding: assisting with the development of new departmental programs, meeting with employers, and the knowledge that we are helping our students proceed into their careers.”

Regina Schneider, Administrative Assistant III

Regina Schneider is an Administrative Assistant III for the Office of Cooperative Education and Internships. Regina spends her days providing “administrative support to my supervisor and co-workers by keeping the office functioning efficiently.” She also maintains the department website, creates all marketing materials, student handouts, and powerpoints, coordinates as well as attends student/employer internship events, and maintains the internship databases for many of ACC’s programs. Though Regina has been with ACC for about 15 years, she is relatively new to the OCEI, and is a “very creative and resourceful person who enjoys the challenge of learning new things, helping others work more productively and efficiently, and contributing to the success of our students.” Regina’s love of organization and helping others has made her a great fit in an office dedicated to ensuring the success of ACC students.

Clark Shaffer, Coordinator for Internships

Clark Shaffer serves as Coordinator for Internships in the Office of Cooperative Education and Internships, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Department. Bringing 7 years of prior experience as Business Services Consultant with the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions as well as Community Development work in the Peace Corps from 2006 to 2007. Clark plays a vital role as a conduit between area employers and ACC academic departments developing student internship opportunities across the college. As Adj. Professor in Computer Science Clark helps ACC technology student’s transition from academia into a successful career path through internships, while engaging employers in the pursuit of placing these students. The work in both arenas has been immensely rewarding and speaks to Clark’s ability to work under pressure paired with excellent communication skills with employers, faculty, and staff as well as his own students. Clark is currently in his last semester with Texas Tech completing a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration and is looking forward to a long and rewarding career with Austin Community College.

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