Twelve candidates are vying for four spots on the Austin Community College board of trustees. A candidate forum, organized by the League of Women Voters, is set for Thursday,6-8:30 p.m. at Highland Business Center, 5930 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin. Here is a map of the ACC district service area. Meet the candidates for Place 5, and see how they answered Community Impact Newspaper's questions.

Thomas Miranda

Thomas Miranda Thomas Miranda, Austin Community College Place 5 candidate[/caption]

Q: What would be your top priority if elected? 

A: Student Success - While graduation rates at ACC have trended upward slightly over the last few years, ACC still ranks 9th among its peer institutions in total number of degrees and certificates awarded in 2014‐15 (2,950 awards) and together we have work to do.

I would work to strengthen and optimize guided pathways while forming strong partnerships with nonprofits, ISDs and the private sector to address the range of financial, mobility and healthcare needs aimed at reducing barriers to entry/graduation. I would also work to source/leverage innovative private/public sector partnerships (like Einstein project) that engage students earlier in the ISD cycle through internships and/or private sector mentorship opportunities so as to have a vested interest in the early success of students all the way through to job placement, transfer and/or industry certification. Lastly, I would further support the recently announced [Texas] A&M & ACC Engineering Academy, dual credit transfers and similar partnerships that lend to student success through college and into the workforce in our region.

The college can achieve an effective bottom line while improving student outcomes/value offered to students through partnerships. Convening the private sector to get more involved and seeing through successful outcomes for students is one of my main objectives. As an 18-year Austin resident, a product of Texas public schools [from public schools to community college and then state university], and who has spent most of my career in Fortune 100 environments, I am confident that my civic board and professional experience prepares me to enable great outcomes for students at the college.

Nicole Eversmann

Nicole Eversmann, Austin Community College Place 5 candidate Nicole Eversmann, Austin Community College Place 5 candidate[/caption]

Q: What would be your top priority if elected?

A: My top priority if elected would be to directly represent the needs of ACC students. In the history of the college there has never been a student elected to the ACC board of trustees. I have been a student at ACC since fall of 2013 and have taken classes at seven different campuses, making me aware of the unique communities across the district. From my experience as an officer with the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and as a Futures Institute member at ACC, I became familiar with the factors that influence student success. Improving access to resources such as transportation and childcare will be one of my goals, along with refining our degree requirements so that students don’t lose credits when transferring to four-year schools.

Anthony Schoggins

Q: What would be your top priority if elected?

A: My top priority, if elected ACC trustee, Place 5, would be to increase the speed and volume at which ACC students graduate. Currently, ACC students take 5.7 years to achieve a two-year degree or certificate. Last fiscal year, ACC produced the least amount of degree and certificate recipients in Texas when compared to similarly sized institutions. These two opportunities for improvement will be the focus of my attention as the public servant elected by you. We improve on these metrics by reducing the systemic roadblocks to success, [such as] access to childcare, improved transportation agreements with Capital Metro, and increasing the access to basic health services on campus. Additionally, ACC administrators can support the faculty by expanding participation in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program costs nothing to the college but would go a long way towards improving the quality of ACC’s core product and the quality of life for our professional educators.

Read the Q&As from the candidates running for ACC board of trustees in Place 4, Place 6 and Place 9.