Austin Community College recently became one of 20 community colleges to sit on a think tank for innovative practices.
The League for Innovation in the Community College awarded ACC a spot on its 20-member board of directors in March.
The spot on the board now gives ACC the opportunity to sit among like-minded community colleges across the U.S. and Canada, according to ACC president and CEO Richard Rhodes.
Other schools represented on the board include Dallas County Community College and San Diego Community College.
But what does innovation mean for the league?
"It means risk-takers, basically," Rhodes said. "Not being afraid to try new things."
Getting a seat on the board wasn't easy, he said. First, ACC had to be nominated when a seat became vacant. Then the community college system was required to perform a self-study of its innovative processes.
"It's a great exercise for us," Rhodes said.
The innovations report, released in January, outlined ACC's achievements over the last few years—its purchase and revitalization of Highland Mall into a campus with a new state-of-the-art bioscience incubator, its Guided Pathways program to improve student success as well as its plans to build new facilities for first responder training and veterinary technicians, among other examples.
A campus site visit followed the innovations report, and ACC was approved to join the league's board of directors in March.
The league's mission is to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. It sponsors conferences, institutes, seminars and workshops; publishes reports, monographs, periodicals and books; and leads research and demonstration projects.
Board membership also unlocks free staff and faculty access to materials offered through the league’s iStream online resource bank.
The league's board meets twice a year at one of the member community college campuses.