Austin Community College

Education
12:20 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

How Austin Turned a Dead Department Store Into a Community College

At ACC's new campus, workers cut a 170-foot-long skylight in what was once a J.C. Penney department store. Natural light formerly came through only two front doors.
Audrey McGlinchy/KUT

To Veronica Escobedo, it resembled a fancy hotel – not quite a college campus.

But the first-year radiology student said the stylish and comfortable furniture, much of it still wrapped in plastic, would encourage her to stay on Austin Community College’s new campus between classes.

“There are bigger areas to actually study with people,” Escobedo said. “Most of the time I found myself studying with people off campus. The design and architecture make it really feel like a home.”

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Education
4:50 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

U.S. Education Secretary Hosts Austin Roundtable for Male Students of Color

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan sits with local high school and college students of color to get feedback on issues facing young males of color.
Credit Kate McGee, KUT News

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was at Austin Community College Friday afternoon meeting with male high school and college students of color. It’s part of the White House’s 'My Brother’s Keeper' initiative to close the achievement gap between young men of color and their peers.

Sitting in a circle, about 15 young African American and Hispanic male students sat with the secretary telling him about their role models, their aspirations and the struggles they face at home and school. Some had disciplinary problems, many were raised by single parents. Others were bullied or said they needed mentors.

Alberto Garcia is an ACC student who’s also taking care of his sister’s son.  He says one of the big problems for minority students in low-income neighborhoods is a lack of employment networking opportunities.

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Education
1:39 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Texans Will See Big Changes to the GED Test in January

In January, Texans who drop out of school can start taking their GED test online.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Following a national trend digitizing high school equivalency tests, Texas will only offer the GED test online come January. The State Board of Education approved some final changes to the new testing process Thursday as the state prepares for the transition.

The test will be entirely online, which means students need to be more computer literate.

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Austin
12:47 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

ACC to Start Sustainable Agriculture Program

ACC representatives say the new sustainable agriculture program will help meet the community's demands.
flickr.com/Rex Turgano

Sustainable agriculture has found a new home in Austin – and students are the first to benefit from it.

Austin Community College is set to launch its Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurship program, teaching agricultural knowledge and skills in sustainable crop growth. The program will include three different non-credit courses that will be held at ACC's new 98-acre Elgin Campus. 

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Education
9:34 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Program Helps Texas Foster Care Youth Go to College - For Free

Loretta Edelen, foster care alumni coordinator with Austin Community College, shares college tips with foster care alumni at the Round Rock Campus on July 24, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Heading to college is confusing under the best of circumstances. But for many young people aging out of foster care, the challenges can be almost impossible to overcome.

Some schools in Texas host programs each year aimed at trying to help foster kids make the transition.

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Education
7:45 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Austin Community College to Break Ground at Highland Mall

Rendering of ACC Highland, phase I.
Elizabeth Day (courtesy BGK Architects)

Austin Community College is breaking ground today at a vacant JCPenney store in Highland Mall. The store will be converted into a learning environment for ACC.

"This is a really big day for ACC as well as the surrounding neighborhood and in fact all of the communities that we serve," ACC spokesperson Alexis Patterson said. "It’s great for the area. It brings new life, new people coming to the mall. And the mall’s still in operation, so we’re excited about the boost this is going to give to the mall as a whole.”

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The Lead
8:59 am
Mon January 21, 2013

The Lead: Inauguration Day 2013

Crowds are gathering to witness Obama's second inauguration.
flickr.com/lonecellotheory

It's not just any ol' Monday—it's Inauguration Day and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The streak of beautiful weather in Central Texas looks to continue today. The National Weather Service reports we'll get up to a high of 68 with partly sunny skies.

Lead Story: President Barack Obama will be ceremoniously sworn in for his second term this morning. NPR is providing on air coverage on KUT 90.5. Click here for a full list of the day's events.

Locals Head to Washington: The Bailey Middle School Wind Ensemble will represent Texas at the Presidential Inauguration Festival today. Ensemble Director Bill Haehnel is leading the group of sixty-one 12 to 14 year-olds.

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Austin
1:34 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

ACC Completes Its Highland Mall Takeover

While ACC has acquired the lease for the entirety of Highland Mall, it says "mall business is expected to continue as usual for the immediate future."
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin Community College now has complete ownership of Highland Mall. The college announced today that it has acquired the ground lease for the sections of the building it didn’t already own.

ACC now plans to quickly move forward to make new use of the site. ACC President and CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes said in a statement today that the first step will be renovating the former J.C. Penney property into classrooms and labs.

“In particular, the Penney space will house the college’s math emporium, an open-lab model that allows students to move through developmental math curriculum at an individualized pace,” reads a statement from ACC.

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Education
7:41 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Protesters ‘Occupy’ Arne Duncan’s Austin Speech

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is in Austin, where he was a keynote speaker at South by Southwest’s second annual SXSWedu conference. But Duncan also took time today to speak to a crowd at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus for a “town hall” discussion on education issues.  

But once applause greeting Ducan settled, he received  a more abrupt welcome: Three Occupy Austin members stood and shouted out a prepared statement attacking the privatization of public schools and other educational grievances.

The "mic check" can be read on Occupy Austin Twitter magnet Kit O'Connell's website. It reads in part (emphasis in original): "As Secretary of Education, Your job is to discover a way to provide schools & teachers PUBLIC resources & funding, NOT from private charters & corporations."

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Austin
3:53 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

ACC Picks Architect for Highland Mall

The former J.C. Penny's building at Highland Mall. ACC has named an architect to covert the space into a learning center.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin Community College has selected an architectural firm for its redevelopment of Highland Mall.

At their meeting this week, the ACC Board of Trustees selected Austin-based BGK Architects to serve as the architectural and engineering team to oversee renovation of the former J.C. Penny’s store at the moribund mall. ACC plans on using the site as an educational space.

BGK Architects is no stranger to civic initiatives: they’ve previously worked on the Palmer Events Center, the Austin Convention Center Parking Garage, and more.

ACC has steadily acquired nearly all of the land encompassing the largely-vacant Highland Mall. It owns the stores of former anchor tenants Macy's and one of Dillard's two stores, plus the land underneath the mall itself; the remaining mall structures are locked into a lease with their operator through 2070.  An ACC press release notes "existing mall businesses will continue operations according to the terms of their subleases with the ground tenant."

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News Brief
8:03 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/16/11: ACC Accreditation on Warning, Perry Compares Himself to Tebow

Austin Community College's Rio Grande campus. ACC's accreditation has been put under a warning status.
Photo by KUT News.

ACC Accreditation on Warning

A warning has been placed on Austin Community College's accreditation status for the next six months. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) says it issued the public sanction because ACC violated rules for reporting significant changes to its academic programs. ACC is still accredited.

The SACS Board will review ACC's status again in June 2012. At that time it could lift the warning, keep it in place, or as a last resort remove the college's membership. Accreditation is used to determine eligibility for federal financial aid and gives colleges a reputable standing.

ACC responded to the warning in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman:

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Health
3:28 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

ACC's Smoking Ban Takes Effect Next Month

Photo by lissalou66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lissalou66/

Austin Community College students and staff who make a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking will have an added incentive when they head back to school: ACC’s smoke-free policy takes effect on January 2.

The policy was adopted by the ACC board in October and bans smoking anywhere on college grounds or inside ACC-owned vehicles. Signs reminding people about the new policy will be set up over the winter break.

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News Brief
5:20 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/15/11: 1 Yr Since Wildfire Season Started, ACC Breaking Ground in Elgin

Charred car in Bastrop County in September. The Texas wildfire season has lasted one year since November 2010.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas Wildfire Season Turns A Year Old

Today marks one year since the first of the many wildfires broke out across Texas. The Texas Forest Service says fires have burned nearly 4 million acres statewide since November 2010. That includes the 34,000 acre Bastrop County Complex fire that started Labor Day weekend. Despite the rain overnight, fire bosses are bracing for another active fire season this winter.

State Assistance to Rebuild Fences Destroyed by Wildfires Extended

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Arts and Culture
10:10 am
Fri July 29, 2011

Helping Minority Women Break Into Film, TV, and Theater

Photo courtesy of Carla Jackson

Many African-American and Hispanic women interesting stories to tell, but don’t always have the platform to do it. As in many professions, minority women are underrepresented in film, theater, and television.

Austin film producer Carla Jackson is trying to do something about that. She’s hosting a free producing and writing forum for minority women next Thursday at Austin Community College’s Eastview Campus.  

The workshop is called Women Doing it For Themselves, and it brings successful local women into the same room as their aspiring colleagues to share information and to help fresh talent get off the ground.

We called Jackson to ask about it.

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Education
12:59 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

ACC Kyle Campus Construction Held Up By Lawsuit

ACC's campus in South Austin.
Photo by jenbooks http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenbooks/

Austin Community College is waiting for a ruling from the Third Court of Appeals of Texas before it will move forward with construction of a new campus in Kyle.  The lawsuit by a Kyle dentist challenging the outcome of a November referendum also caused ACC to miss out on $20 million in federal bonds.

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Education
12:27 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Highland Mall Land Could Soon Be 100 Percent Owned by ACC

Highland Mall is filled with vacant retail space like this former Dillard's location. By August, Austin Community College could own 100 percent of the land beneath the mall.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Land underneath the beleaguered Highland Mall could soon be under complete ownership of Austin Community College. ACC signed a $16 million deal for the former JC Penney and the surrounding parking lot.

It’s important to distinguish land ownership from building ownership.  ACC would possess all the property beneath the mall, but it would only own three of the four former department stores: the Dillard’s women’s store, Macy’s and JC Penney buildings.

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Education
2:46 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

ACC to Hike Tuition Next Year

ACC's Rio Grande Campus downtown. Austin Community College students will be paying more to attend classes in the fall.
Photo by KUT News

Classes at Austin Community College will be a little more expensive next year.

The ACC Board of Trustees cite declining state funding as the reason for the increase of $5 per credit hour for Fall 2011.  That means that students in the ACC taxation district would pay $52 per credit hour.  Out-of-district students tuition will rise to $194 per hour.  The board already voted to raise tuition for Summer semester by another $5 per hour.  They also expect they'll have to raise tuition again for Spring 2012.

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Education
5:04 pm
Tue May 3, 2011

Meet The New President of Austin Community College

Dr. Richard Rhodes was named the lone finalist last night to become CEO and president of Austin Community College. The ACC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Rhodes. He is currently the president of El Paso Community College.

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News Brief
7:02 am
Tue May 3, 2011

Top Morning Stories May 3, 2011

Early voting is underway for the May 14 City of Austin elections.
Photo by KUT News.

 Cast an Early Ballot for City Elections        

Early voting is underway for the May 14 City of Austin elections. Three city council seats are on the ballot.  Incumbents Chris Riley, Randi Shade and Laura Morrison are seeking re-election. 

Early voting locations include the UT campus, Travis County’s main tax office on Airport Boulevard and some Randalls and H-E-B locations. Click here for a full list of Travis County early voting sites.

Find more early voting information on the Williamson County and Hays County websites.

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News Brief
6:48 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 8, 2011

Austin Community College has reached a preliminary deal to buy more land at the Highland Mall site.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

ACC Buying More of Highland Mall

Austin Community College has announced that is under contract to buy 32 acres of land underneath the beleaguered Highland Mall.  The price tag is $14.6 million.  ACC has already bought the Dillard's and Macy’s spaces.  This latest deal is expected to close in mid-May.  If the deal is finalized, ACC would own about 80 percent of the Highland Mall site. 

From ACC's statement:

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