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May 17, 2024

In this edition:

Making Workday Easier (and More Fun)

ACC Employee Handbook Update

From the VC

HR Partners: Coming Soon to a Campus Near YOU!

Riverbat Faculty and Staff,

When it comes to your work-related needs, I understand the call for enhanced support. Our Chancellor and Administration are committed to fostering a workplace where everyone feels supported, valued, and empowered. As part of the HR team, it's our responsibility to champion this effort through our processes, resources, and engagement with you.

The launch of the HR Business Partner role is a significant strategic step that will be crucial to HR’s ability to do just that. You may have heard the term "HR Business Partner" (HRBP, also known as “HR Partner”) thrown around or seen it in this newsletter, but what does it actually mean for you? Let me break it down in simple terms.

Our three inaugural HR Partners are not just here to handle paperwork and policies. They are here to build connection and strategic alignment between the HR “Home Office” team at our Highland office, and the divisions of employees we support. While the HRBPs will report directly to me, they will indirectly report to the respective BC divisions to which they are assigned.

In order to foster a culture of Belonging & Connection, each campus will have a dedicated HR Partner who will serve as the point of contact to HR. Not only will they directly assist you with your question or refer your need to the right person in HR to help; but they will ultimately aim to understand the ACC employee experience and work collaboratively to continuously improve it.  

HR Partners were selected not only based on their depth and breadth of experience and knowledge spanning decades and multiple industries, but also for their embodiment of the ACC Values. While they each bring a unique perspective, we are committed to consistency in how issues are handled and have built systems and routines to ensure alignment and integrity in how procedures and policies are upheld. 

To launch our HRBPs, we'll be rolling out a series of virtual and in-person introductions where you'll get to meet your assigned HRBP and learn more about how they can support you. See our “Save the Date” section later in this newsletter to see when we’ll be introduced to your campus!

I understand that change can be unsettling, especially when it comes to something as important as HR. But rest assured, whether you’re a supervisor, department chair, or direct contributor, your HR Partners are here to make your life easier, not harder. While your immediate supervisor is your first line of defense, your HR partners are here to listen and offer Compassionate and Courageous guidance to help you be successful in your role.  

What else do you want to know about the HR Partners and their work? What else do you want to hear about straight from me? Let me know in the link below!

Mucho amor,

Kelly Torrico

Vice Chancellor of Human Resources


How can you get mad at a human capital management system that tells jokes?!

Workday is the workhorse that keeps our ACC work lives on track. Now, welcome Workday's little brother, Workday Assistant! He can speed up your Workday travels, answer your questions, and even make you smile. Try him out!

Announcing Announcements!


Have you noticed the new "Announcements" section of your Workday home page? That's where you'll see required tasks and actions in the event the email slipped by you.


The most recent Announcement introduces Workday Assistant. Before that, the Announcement reminded you to update your Privacy Preferences in Workday. (But you've already done that, right??) Keep your eye on this space for future notifications!


When will ACC's employee handbook be updated?

Updates to the handbook were paused because of the implementation of a new process for formulating policies and procedures and to give our new Chancellor some time to immerse himself in the rules that govern employment at ACC. In the interim, we have referred to the Austin Community College Board Policy Manual or the Administrative Rules Directory for current answers to policy questions.

We're happy to report, however, that a cross-disciplinary workgroup led by CEA President Bernie Hinterlong, Special Advisor to the Chancellor Mike Midgley, and HR Communications Coordinator Cyndy Cerbin, has been formed to get the project back on track. You are invited, through your associations, to provide feedback to this informal workgroup's efforts. Stay tuned to HappyHR for updates!

What else do you want to know about HR?

We'll answer your questions in every newsletter.


As Director of Student Outcomes, Pam Saez manages a "tiny, uber-talented team" that provides transformation coaching and technology support for students who might lack literacy or digital skills, food and housing deficits, or social cognitive gaps. The team also researches trends, gaps, and interventions in an effort to elevate the student experience.

"I love ACC because it provides the means for overstretched, underestimated students to exceed expectations, achieve their dreams, and overcome immense challenges," she says. She credits her team of "humble giants who understand and practice empathy in everyday interactions to generate miracles."

The ACC values of Compassion and YES resonate deeply with Pam. She says she feels a profound responsibility to give her team empathy, support, and flexibility. "I value and respect my team as subject matter experts and equals. We collaborate in a 'non-hierarchical huddle', supporting each others' growth and our unit's goals."

Pam's supervisor, Executive Dean Amber Kelley, says Pam is incredible. "She truly embodies ALL of the ACC values, but if I have to pick one, it would be compassion. She cares so deeply about every employee, every student, and everyone with whom she engages." Her team members agree:

"Pam has a calm, positive demeanor that helps move us forward in line with our college's values and mission. She actively listens, problem-solves with us, advocates for us, and promotes our ideas forward." - Samantha Tomson

"When my 16-year-old nephew was shot and killed in his classroom, Pam informed our entire team and they began sending expressions of sympathy, words of encouragement and monetary gifts to show their concern. She is keenly aware how unexpected tragedy can affect one's personal and professional life." - De'borah Pool

"Pam stands out as one of the most compassionate individuals I've ever known. Her genuine love for people, whether they are our team members or students, is truly inspiring and infectious, resonating with everyone around her." - David Ely

Thank you for being an exceptional leader, Pam!

Who are the rock star supervisors in your orbit?

Click on the button below to tell us about them!



Are you satisfied with HR communications? We want to hear from you!

Please click the button below to take this one-question survey so we can improve the way we serve you!



If you missed the April 30 deadline to consolidate your federal student loans to qualify for debt relief, here's some good news! The deadline has been extended to June 30.

The extension allows borrowers more time to get credit for progress toward loan forgiveness programs. The "one-time adjustment initiative" is intended to fix issues with income-driven repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Learn more here!


Gabby Guerrero | Staff Development Coordinator

Gabby has a job that makes others envious: she makes people happy all day long. No one objects when she notifies them they've been selected for a Bravo award or they've received assistance to further their education. 

"Employees get really happy when I tell them they have been recognized for their hard work. It’s nice to read their comments and see how surprised and grateful they are," she said. 

After nearly 24 years at ACC, Gabby still finds joy in her work because of the way ACC is involved in the community and always striving to improve. "It's more than an educational community. it's also a welcoming space for all cultures. When you see something like this, you have to say to yourself, I want to work there to help make a difference."

Gabby is originally from the Rio Grande Valley, and is proud to have been an Altar Server at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle. Her young daughter teaches her something new every day. She loves mountain biking ,high intensity interval training, and sharing her knowledge of natural healing.

Gabby's passions for family, healing, and caring for others are demonstrated every day in her work at ACC. Thanks, Gabby!


Lifelong learning is one of the most valuable perks we have at ACC. We can get financial assistance to pursue a degree and vouchers to explore subjects we're curious about. And if you have time for only bite-sized enrichment, LinkedIn Learning may be the best fit. Activating your free ACC LinkedIn account opens up a world of learning opportunities. Learn better ways to interact with employees or how to turn your data into storytelling. Every now and then, HappyHR will point you toward a LinkedIn Learning course we think you'll like. And, don't forget, if you enroll through Workday, you'll immediately get credit toward your required Professional Development hours! Here's one to start your journey:

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can help you build effective relationships at work. Becoming more self-aware will help you identify triggers that may hijack your performance. The course will also help you align your intentions and your impact so that you can build strong and collaborative relationships.


  1. Sign in to Workday
  2. Click on the app called Learning
  3. On the left side of the page, click on Discover
  4. Click on the orange Browse Learning button.

Questions about Free Tuition?

ACC and the greater Austin community have been buzzing since the Board of Regents approved a pilot project to provide free tuition to 2024 high school graduates. It's a groundbreaking advancement toward making higher education available to all, and likely to become a model for other institutions.

If you haven't been following all the developments and updates closely, take a look at the Free Tuition web page here. And to learn a little more from the employee's viewpoint, visit this new page on InfoHub. It answers many of the questions faculty and staff have been asking about this exciting initiative.

Do you have questions about Free Tuition that aren't listed? Let us know on our feedback form!



Friday, May 17 at 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 23 at 11 a.m.

Friday, May 24 at 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 28 at 1 p.m.

Friday, June 14, at 1 p.m.

Friday, June 14, at 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 30

Spring 2024 Commencement Ceremony

Understanding Social Security Windfall Elimination & Government Pension Offset Webinar

Leadership Academy Applications due

Balance Not Burnout Webinar

EAP Virtual Group Chat Session (moved to HBC Board Room)

Becoming a Self-Starter Webinar

NEW DEADLINE for Federal Student loan payment count adjustments


HR Business Partners will visit assigned campuses the first week of July. Details coming soon!

PEP season starts the end of June! Watch for information in the next HappyHR newsletter.

Mandatory Training Update

Open Enrollment

Update ERS profile info by May 15

Attend Open Enrollment Summer Fair on June 26 - More information to come!

Past happyhr newsletters can be viewed on our website here!

ACC HR is here for you!

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