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Chancellor’s Report June 2009

Pima Community College Seal

Chancellor's Message

Economic Update

The state's budget process remains fluid and is subject to rapid change. Legislators passed last year's budget in June, and we expect this year's budget process to last at least as long. The impact of the federal stimulus package on Arizona also remains unclear. The approaches to the stimulus adopted by the state House, state Senate and Gov. Brewer are different, and no consensus has emerged.

The state has delayed quarterly payments to K-12 institutions and universities until after July 1. It would not be surprising if that were the case for community colleges, as well.

The bottom line is that the College likely will lose an additional $1.5 million to $1.6 million in state appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009-10. In response, the College is building a budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 that takes additional cuts into consideration and retains the flexibility to adapt. Our goal is to maintain the quality of programs and services that the community deserves and expects for as long as we are able in the face of continued declines in revenue from the Arizona Legislature.

The reality is that unless the trend is reversed within the next 12 months, the Legislature's disinvestment in higher education will force a significant reduction in the programs and services we are able to offer.

Organizational Climate Survey Completed

I am pleased to announce that the 2008 Organizational Climate Survey is complete. The purpose of the survey was to gather input from employees, students, community leaders and residents to objectively assess efforts to achieve the goals and objectives of the 2008-11 College Plan.

The survey is the most comprehensive study of the College ever done. It includes data based on responses from 203 community leaders, 1,203 county residents, 1,233 students and 987 College employees.

The survey will be at the center of ongoing follow-up. Data will be incorporated into the College's Self-Study, which is a key part of the College's preparation for reaccreditation in 2010 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The areas for improvement identified in the surveys will be distributed to the Board of Governors, Chancellor's Cabinet, the College Planning Committee, employee group leaders, Standing Committees, Staff Council, Faculty Senate, Campus student government groups, the Provost's Lead Group, the NCA Reaccreditation Steering Committee and working groups.

The Executive Summary of the survey has been available on the home page of our Web site since March. I invite you to read it. Hard copies of the final report are in each Campus library, the Chancellor's Office, the Planning and Research Office and in the M&S Building.

College Plan Update

College Reaccreditation Self-Study

William ScurrahFor William Scurrah and his three-person Writing and Editing team, the past year has been one of writing and rewriting.

Scurrah, a writing and literature instructor at Downtown Campus, chairs the subcommittee tasked with preparing the College's Self-Study, which will play a crucial role in the reaccreditation process.

The Reaccreditation Steering Committee has spent the past year gathering data on a wide variety of subjects that address the five criterion for reaccreditation set by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The criteria are Mission and Integrity; Preparing for the Future; Student Learning and Effective Teaching; Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge; and Engagement of Service.

The writing subcommittee is charged with transforming a mountain of data into a cohesive, compelling report. The Self-Study Report is central to the accreditation process because it is the document the College submits to the Higher Learning Commission in support of its request to renew accreditation.

The Self-Study process is meeting the schedule set last year by the College. A preliminary draft has been submitted to the NCA Self-Study Steering Committee for review, and the writing team will keep working on the draft over the summer and into the next academic year, Scurrah says. A draft of the Self-Study is to be sent this month to the Chancellor's Cabinet for approval.

Scurrah says he has learned a lot about the College in the past year. “Most surprising is the broad scope of things that the College actually does as an educational institution and as an institution serving Tucson and Pima County.”

In addition to Scurrah, the members of the subcommittee are Karen Lutrick, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, and Dr. Nicola Richmond, Executive Director for Institutional Research.

40th Anniversary Gala

Award recipientsMany people were responsible for making the 40th anniversary Gala April 30 at the Westin La Paloma Resort a pleasant, fun evening for the more than 350 community leaders who celebrated our past 40 years. I would like to thank:

  • Cheryl House, executive director of the Pima Community College Foundation and organizer of the Gala, and Mary Rowley, chair of the PCC Foundation
  • Jaimie Leopold, chair of the PCC Alumni Foundation, and Toppy Burke, PCC Alumni Foundation executive director
  • Susan Mannion, chair of the Gala committee
  • PCC's Center for Learning Technology, for the fine 40th anniversary video
  • Steve Lynn, vice president of Tucson Electric Power, the master of ceremonies
  • The cast of PCC's production of “Footloose.”
  • Kafe Musica for music at the welcome reception
  • Student helpers, a diverse group that represents what the College is all about.

Graduation 2009

Graduation always is an exciting, rewarding time at the College, and May 21’s ceremony at the Tucson Convention Center provided a happy reminder of the relevance of the College’s mission and the role that the College plays in the educational and occupational growth of our community.

The College awarded 4,346 degrees, certificates and advanced certificates, as many PCC students earn more than one certificate or degree.

As usual, the diversity of the candidates, their areas of study and the type of degrees earned was remarkable. There were 1,635 women and 1,210 men. The oldest graduate was a 76-year-old man who earned an Advanced Certificate in Paralegal Studies. The youngest graduate was a 16-year-old young lady who earned an Associate of Science and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa two-year college honor society.

Among the College’s more than five dozen associate’s degree programs, Liberal Arts was the most popular, followed by General Studies, Business, Nursing, and Science. The College awarded 1,287 Arizona General Education Certifications, 898 Associate of Arts degrees, 764 Associate of Applied Science degrees, 617 Certification Programs and 444 Associate of General Studies degrees.

I am proud that our graduates leave the College well-equipped for success, whether in finding work in today’s challenging employment market or in pursuing a degree at a four-year college. And I am particularly proud of our faculty, staff and administrators, who are the backbone of the College and create an environment that gives our students the best chance to achieve their goals.

I wish the graduating Class of 2009 continued personal and professional success.

Partnerships and Initiatives

Northwest Campus hosting YMCA Science Summer Camp for Youth

Kaleidoscopes. Sundials. Wind socks. Cloud finders. Flubber. Young day-campers who will participate in a partnership between Northwest Campus and the Northwest YMCA this summer will combine fun projects with learning about science.

Dr. Denise Meeks, who teaches astronomy and physics at Northwest Campus, will lead about 90 campers ages 6-12 in the Science Summer Camp at Northwest Campus on Fridays from May 29 to August 7.

The camp is the latest collaboration between Northwest Campus and the adjacent YMCA. Past YMCA summer camps have been held at Northwest Campus, but this is the first with an emphasis on science. Northwest Campus and the Northwest YMCA have been partnering since both opened in 2003. Northwest Campus offers fitness and other courses at the YMCA each semester.

The camp is a “great partnership,” says Huy Lu, Northwest YMCA program coordinator. “It gives us an opportunity to expose kids to college life. Kids learn that there's more school after high school.”

An underlying theme of the camp will be sustainability. Most of the projects will be constructed of recycled materials. The kaleidoscopes will be made from potato-chip cans. Many other projects will be made from used manila folders.

Downtown partners in “business boot camp” for young Latino entrepreneurs

Downtown Campus partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation to present the 2009 Latino Youth Entrepreneurship Program on April 23-25. Twenty students from four area high schools took part.

The program is “very beneficial” to the participants, says Dama Gonzalez, a program coordinator for the Latino Youth Entrepreneurs Program, which facilitated the event for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She describes it as a “business boot camp” that changes students' perceptions of what they can accomplish as adults in the workforce. “They realize they don't have to work for someone else. It opens their eyes to entrepreneurship,” Gonzalez says.

The program featured esteem-building exercises and a competition in which the students created business plans that were judged by local business owners.

The students formulated their plans, then made a five-minute oral presentation. Judges evaluated students on professionalism, dress and confidence. Business plans were judged on the sophistication of the students' understanding of target markets, startup costs, competition and other factors.

The winning plan? Mi Tiendita Organic Foods, an organic foods business targeting the Latino market. Imelda Cortez, a Pueblo High Magnet School student, took the $500 first prize.

Computer training for Sunnyside parents

Desert Vista Campus collaborated with Sunnyside Unified School District on a two-hour-a-week, seven-week non-credit course for parents whose children received laptop computers as part of Sunnyside's Project Graduation: Digital Advantage program.

The program supplies free laptops to deserving high school students in the Sunnyside district. The goal is to improve graduation rates at the district's two high schools.

Desert Vista Campus organized a recognition ceremony on the last day of the course for the program's participants, who received certificates of completion, and gave the parents a tour of the campus. Community Campus' Center for Training and Development and Family Literacy Program helped instruct parents in computer and Internet basics, as well as how to access Sunnyside's Web portal to monitor the academic progress of their children.

Pima student wins $60,000 scholarship

I am pleased to announce that John Windham has been named the recipient of The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. John will receive a $30,000 scholarship in each of the next two years.

He is one of only 30 community college students nationwide to receive the award in 2009 and is the first Pima student to win the award in its 10 years of existence.

The scholarship is designed to support outstanding community college students with financial need in transferring to four-year colleges and universities. It the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the U.S.

A national panel of university faculty and admissions administrators selected the winners from among 485 nominees. Students were judged on academic achievement, critical thinking ability, financial need, will to succeed, and breadth of interest and activities.

Grants and Scholarships

Health Care Community Forums

The College received a grant from the Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio that helped West Campus hold three Health Care Community Forums. The forums provided Tucsonans with important information about health care while helping the College achieve goals set forth in the 2008-11 College Plan.

The forums dovetailed with College Plan strategies to increase access and outreach, and to create a College-wide wellness plan.

The Kettering Foundation works with groups to foster deliberative democracy and is focused on health care reform education.


Program Spotlight: Dental Laboratory Technology program

Brett HoopesBrett Hoopes is embarking on a new career, thanks to the College's Dental Laboratory Technology Program – and his brother-in-law.

Brett had been working in home construction as a framer, building the wooden skeletons of houses. His brother-in-law, who attends dental school in Tennessee, had urged Brett to consider becoming a dental laboratory technician. Brett took his brother-in-law's advice and is completing his first year in the program.

Dental lab technician is a “hidden occupation,” says Max Atwell, lead faculty in the Dental Laboratory Technician program at West Campus. That is because many people never hear of it until they're in their 30s and 40s and for the first time need the products DLTs make: dentures, partial dentures, crowns, and bridges. Also, while technicians make appliances at the direction of a dentist, most technicians do not work at dentist's offices, but at outside laboratories.

The field is “a cool blend of science, art and anatomy,” Atwell says.

The College's program is one of 19 or 20 accredited programs of its kind in the U.S. Currently, 10 students are in the program, which offers four direct-employment certificates and an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Brett likes that dental lab technology involves a lot of hands-on, detail work. The most surprising aspect of the profession is how closely the dentist and dental technician must work to serve the patient, he says.

Atwell says that students enrolled in a dental laboratory technician program have an advantage in that they get a “broader view of the industry.” Technicians getting on-the-job training often work in labs that specialize in just a few types of appliances, such as crowns or bridges, whereas students in a DLT program have been trained in all facets of the industry, Atwell says.

The College's DLT program partnered with Dental Prosthetics of Tucson to offer a Certified Dental Technician certification exam this month. The test, which is voluntary, consists of two written examinations and a practical examination. Thirteen people, including one student in the College's DLT program, took one of the written exams, and 12 took the practical exam.

“Our students are sought-after by employers because we offer more training than the state requires,” Janet says. PCC’s Therapeutic Massage program provides 1,000 hours of training on a wide variety of subject matter. In addition to massage techniques, students learn anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, professionalism, ethics and business management.

Janet is pleased with the diversity of the students in the program. To date, the Therapeutic Massage program has students ranging in age from 18 to 73, including two graduates with visual impairments. “The diversity of students in lecture and lab classes enhances the students’ learning experiences – in therapeutic massage and in life,” Janet explains.

In Memoriam: Kathleen Fockler Curley

Kathy CurleyI join the College community in expressing most sincere condolences to husband Ed, friends and family of Kathy Curley, the Library Director at the Downtown Campus, who passed away March 30.

Kathy was great to work with,” recalls Dr. Harry Muir, vice president of instruction at Downtown Campus. “She took a great personal and professional interest in her students and staff.”

Kathy received bachelor's, master's and Master's of Library Science degrees from the University of Arizona. Her first job was at the Coolidge Public Library. She joined the College in 1997, becoming Library Director at Downtown in 1991.

In addition to her work as library director, Kathy also served as faculty adviser for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, helping guide the College's chapter to a top-20 national rating. She had served as a Faculty Scholar for the society and on several occasions was a Distinguished Adviser. As a graduate of the University of Arizona's Honors Program, Kathy always was happy when a Phi Theta Kappa student transferred to the Honors College at UA.

Active in the community, Kathy served on the boards of Junior League of Tucson, American Association of University Women, and Literacy Volunteers of Tucson. She also served on advisory groups for the UA Dance and History departments and the UA School of Information Resources and Library Science.

More than 200 people attended a celebration of Kathy's life May 9 at the Downtown Campus. Family, colleagues and longtime friends talked of Kathy's intelligence, her love of knowledge, mystery novels and of travel – especially to France, which Kathy and Ed visited often.

Kathy was well-read on many different topics, and the depth and breadth of her knowledge lent great weight to her opinions, Muir says. “When she spoke, people listened.”

Donations can be made to the Kathleen Fockler Curley Scholarship for PCC Honors Program students in care of the Pima Community College Foundation, 4905 E. Broadway, Tucson, AZ 85709-1320.

Staff Spotlight: Cecilia Ramirez

Cecilia RamirezCecilia Ramirez's story is the story of anyone who wants to get ahead in life.

Cecilia is a coordinator in the College's Family Literacy Program (FLP) and a nationally recognized expert in family literacy. She understands what family literacy students are going through because she has faced many of the same challenges, coming to the U.S. from Mexico in 1989 with her family and becoming immersed in a new language and culture.

Before she began working at the College, Cecilia was a student, learning English through Pima Community College Adult Education. “It's been my ‘house' since 1989. It's Adult Education that raised me,” she says. She volunteered in the program through 1994.

Her first job at the College was in workplace education as a Spanish instructor, teaching employees of local companies. From 1995-2001, she was a teacher in the Family Literacy Program. Since 2001, she has been a coordinator. She oversees the program's compliance with federal grants, gathering and analyzing data, and also is responsible for reports to the Arizona Department of Education. She also is on the FLP leadership council team. “This program is in my pores,” Cecilia says.

Cecilia has achieved national recognition as a family literacy educator. In 2001 she was selected as the national Family Literacy Teacher of the Year by the Toyota Motor Corp. and the National Center for Family Literacy. She also has received an Education for Excellence Award from the Arizona Department of Education. In 2005, she was invited to visit the White House while attending a Washington conference of Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans Initiative. In 2008, she was one of 12 women to receive Women on the Move honors by the Tucson YWCA.

Alumni Spotlight: Nancy E. Turner

Nancy TurnerAre writers born, or made? It's a little of both, says Nancy E. Turner, who is well-qualified to answer. Turner, who graduated from the College in 1995 with an associate's degree, has had four books published, and understands the complexities inherent in putting thoughts on paper.

Certain people have an affinity for language, just as certain people have an affinity for math,” believes Turner, who received one of four Outstanding Alumni awards at the College's 40th anniversary Gala last month. But training and practice – what Turner calls “raising the skill level” – can help any writer, she says.

Writing has been a good fit for Turner, whose community college experience began in the 1980s when she juggled a job, raising a family and an occasional night class at Glendale Community College. “I was on the 20-year plan,” she joked.

Her pursuit of a degree turned more serious when her family relocated to Tucson and she signed up for an introductory writing class at the College in 1992 .

Turner later took a PCC fiction writing class that began her transformation from student to author. She was asked to write a short story about a person she would like to know. She chose her great-grandmother, who had settled in the Four Corners area in 1873 after her family journeyed by wagon train from Oregon. Her great-grandmother's memoir of her life in Arizona provided the spark for Turner's short story, a fictional diary written by her great-grandmother as a teen.

That short story became Turner's first book, the 500-page “These Is My Words,” a 1998 Good Housekeeping Novel of the Month selection, and the book which Arizonans participating in the OneBookAZ program voted as the book they most wanted to read in 2008.

Turner looks back fondly on her days at the College. At UA, where she received a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts Studies, many of her classes were populated mostly by teens and young adults who “just looked at me as if I was a dinosaur,” she said. The atmosphere at the College was much “more accepting and welcoming of people of all backgrounds. It's a nice feeling. The diversity of the school population allows for a different kind of experience and feedback.”

Roy Flores

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