Board to Austin Community College president: What's next?

Austin Community College The Austin Community College Board of Trustees and President and CEO Richard Rhodes (center).[/caption]

Throughout most of Austin Community College CEO and President Richard Rhodes' tenure, the numbers are looking up.

Since he began in 2011, graduation rates are up 77 percent; students enrolled in dual credit and early college high schools have increased by nearly 2,300; the number of associates degrees awarded has grown by 1,545 and total course completions have grown by 4 percent.

One statistic, however, darkens an otherwise positive report the president and CEO presented at the board of trustees' July 10 meeting.

Fall enrollments dropped from 45,100 in 2011 to 41,543 in 2016. Between fall, spring and summer semester, ACC has lost almost 2,500 students since Fiscal Year 2014. The number of 0ut-of-district students enrolled in the last year dropped by 16 percent.

"We'd like to see our enrollments grow a little more," Rhodes said, adding the Austin employment rate has also dropped from 6.6 percent in 2011 to 3.2 percent in 2016.

Now, the ACC trustees want to know what he has planned for the future.

"Where do you see us going?" Trustee Mark Williams asked Rhodes following the president's "State of the College" report on July 10. "I think the brand of ACC is very high in our community right now, and I think people are looking for us to do more," Williams said.

Trustee Nan McRaven called the last few years under Rhodes' leadership a "phenomenal success" and said she wanted to see what the "next chapter" was.

"How do we stretch even further, what areas do we do that in?" she said.

Rhodes said he wanted to focus more on building relationships with businesses and industries, particularly in the fields of health, IT and skilled trades.

Board to Austin Community College President: What's next? Austin Community College CEO and President Richard Rhodes (left) with several trustees at the opening of ACC Highland's bioscience incubator.[/caption]

"We are undertaking that as we speak," he said, pointing to the passage of recent state legislation allowing for community colleges to offer bachelors' degrees in nursing and to ACC Highland's new bioscience incubator.

Rhodes will have a chance to present his ideas in greater detail at the board's August meeting, when trustees give their annual evaluation of the president. Rhodes said he planned to flesh out his "2016-17 Opportunities for Success" outlined in an 80-page July report to the board.

 
By Marie Albiges
Marie Albiges was the editor for the San Marcos, Buda and Kyle edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covered San Marcos City Council, San Marcos CISD and Hays County Commissioners Court. Marie previously reported for the Central Austin edition. Marie moved to Austin from Williamsburg, Va. in 2016 and was born in France. She has since moved on from Community Impact in May 2018.


MOST RECENT

City Council's April 22 vote decoupled some jobs and services from the Austin Police Department and will provide for the creation of a new emergency communications department to handle city 911 calls. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
City Council OKs shifting hundreds of jobs, range of admin duties out of Austin Police Department

More than 280 full-time employees with responsibilities ranging from handling 911 calls to maintenance and human resources will move out of the APD.

Austin ISD trustees approved a resolution April 22 regarding federal education funding currently being held by the state. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD asks state to provide school districts with CARES Act funding earmarked for education spending

Trustee Lynn Boswell said Austin ISD stands to get about $240 million in federal funding if distributed by the state to public districts as intended.

Photo of nurses offering drive-thru vaccines
Appointments no longer needed for drive-thru vaccines at Circuit of the Americas

From April 23-25, people age 16 and up can receive first doses of the Pfizer vaccine without an appointment at COTA.

Austin ISD staff at Pleasant Hill Elementary School distribute meals over the summer in 2020. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD to again offer free lunch to students during 2021-22 school year

Austin ISD has distributed more than 3 million free campus meals and 4.2 million free curbside meals since March 2020.

Q2 Stadium in North Austin
Q2 Stadium to host 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup games this summer

Q2 Stadium has been selected as one of the venues for the upcoming 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

The Barks for Beers fundraiser will return to Central Texas in May. (Courtesy Divine Canines)
To-do list: Barks for beers returns to Austin and more local events happening through the end of May

Here are nine events taking place between April 24 and May 31 in Austin.

Construction of the new Tom Fazio-designed golf course in Driftwood will be completed by the end of the spring. (Courtesy Discovery Builders)
Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club could open Southwest Austin course this fall

Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club broke ground in 2019 and at build-out will include a golf course, single-family homes and community amenities.

Austin City Council members met for a work session April 20 ahead of the body's regular April 22 session. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Austin City Hall notebook: Police services decoupling, rental assistance, downtown density bonus fees under consideration

Council will also consider a resolution that would ask state agencies to begin the distribution of about $18 billion in federal aid money aimed at supporting K-12 education.

The DSISD board of trustees heard a presentation on teacher pay at a recent meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Dripping Springs ISD considers teacher compensation ahead of budget-planning process

The DSISD board of trustees heard a presentation on teacher pay at a recent meeting.

Online retailer Wayfair will open a new engineering office in Austin later this year or in early 2022. (Courtesy Wayfair)
Wayfair bringing new engineering office to Austin; beauty studio celebrates opening and more South Austin business news

Wayfair has not yet finalized a space for its new office, but job postings list Southeast Austin as a location.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

Austin government, nonprofit and business leaders recently participated in a weeks-long summit centered on unsheltered homelessness in the city. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house 3,000 homeless individuals in Austin in the next three years would cost $515 million

The plan Austin City Council members discussed April 20 emerged from a weekslong community-wide summit on homelessness.