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Chancellor’s Report March 2011

Pima Community College Seal

Chancellor's Message

Pima Community College has developed a spending plan to address the governor's proposed 55 percent reduction in state appropriations.

The reduction created an immediate $9 million shortfall that we had to address within a few weeks. We have reduced non-mission-critical services and will continue to do so. We also have reduced costs of our leases and utilities and have made cuts to our operational budget. We have had to leave 13 faculty positions vacant. This is particularly troublesome for us because our enrollment has increased 12-13 percent over the past two years. The College also is reducing administrator positions 8 percent, after having made an earlier 14 percent reduction.

The College is raising resident tuition by $5 a credit-hour for the upcoming academic year. The increase is substantially larger than past increases, but it likely will be less than the average increase imposed by other Arizona community colleges this year. PCC remains among the most-affordable community colleges in the state. Additionally, for Spring 2012, the College is developing a modest differential tuition program for courses that cost significantly more than the average cost to implement.

To put the state's funding of PCC into perspective, the governor's proposal allots $325 per full-time student equivalent, even though our average cost is more than $6,000 for each full-time student equivalent, and more than $18,500 for each nursing student. We are preparing a long-term strategy that acknowledges the disappointing reality that the state of Arizona is getting out of the business of funding Pima Community College.

Toward that end, the College has to become smaller, with perhaps as many as 10 percent fewer students over the next two years, in order to remain financially stable during what appears to be an extended economic downturn in the state. We simply cannot sustain the number of students we have in the past.

Our data show that many students who come to us simply are not prepared to succeed at the college level. For example, of those students taking developmental mathematics in fall 2004, only 4.1 percent who began in the lowest of three remedial classes had graduated with an associate's degree in 2009. To admit these men and women, some of whom have the equivalent of a middle school education, and accept their tuition payment, knowing that they have virtually no chance of graduating from college, is callous at best.

The 2011-2013 College Plan includes an initiative that will strengthen Developmental Education through improved assessment and testing, enhanced professional development and new methods of educational delivery.

Additionally, beginning in Spring 2012, PCC will amend its open admission policy for future degree- and certificate-seeking students 18 and older to require a high school diploma or its equivalent, and to require appropriate scores on assessment tests. Students scoring at the very bottom will be refused admittance and will be referred to other resources that might help them overcome their academic deficiencies, such as Adult Education, assuming it continues to receive funding.

We cannot help every student. PCC is recognized as one of the best community colleges in the nation. We are not one of the best middle schools in the nation. In establishing Pima Community College in 1969, the people of Pima County sought to create an institution of higher learning. Responsible governance demands that we direct our limited resources where our constituents have directed us, and where they can do the most good.

College Update

PCC-UA transfer pathways agreement

Dr. Roy Flores and Dr. Robert Shelton Streamlining the ability of students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities is a top priority for the College, and I am happy to announce a new articulation agreement between PCC and the University of Arizona.

The signing on February 11 of the Arizona Transfer Admissions Pathways Agreement by the College and the University of Arizona crowned a year of work between the two schools. The agreement specifies the courses students can take at Pima that will count toward bachelor’s degrees in disciplines at the University of Arizona. More programs will be added in the near future.

The need to increase the number of Arizonans with bachelor's degrees is great. Improving educational attainment is crucial if Arizona is to rebound economically.

Pima and The UA are acutely aware of the importance of strengthening our connections through agreements such as Arizona Transfer Admissions Pathways Agreement.

Thanks for making the agreement a reality go to University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Shelton; UA Director of Transfer Curriculum and Articulation Bill Fee; UA Vice Provost Mike Proctor and Project Manager Sandra Hallenbeck, both of UA's Office for Outreach and Global Initiatives; former Desert Vista Campus President Christal Albrecht; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Marketing Rachelle Howell; and Director of Curriculum and Articulation Services Jennie Scott.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Nursing program enhances economic development

Pima Community College is committed to addressing the shortage of employees in health-related professions in Southern Arizona. Toward that end, the College has a longstanding partnership to provide nursing instruction to Tucson Medical Center and Carondelet Health Network.

Students from Tucson Medical Center began training at PCC in 2005, with Carondelet students coming to the College in 2006. To date, 277 students have graduated from our program, and 57 students are currently enrolled in Nursing courses at PCC.

It should be noted that College students perennially exceed the state and national pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination-RN, and that officials from TMC and Carondelet say that the education that their employees receive at PCC is of the highest order.

Providing high-quality education in health-related and other professions to Pima County residents makes it easy for area employers to hire locally, enhancing the economic development of our region.

Entrepreneurship Academy

Community Campus’ Entrepreneurship Academy seeks to help those people in Pima County who want to start their own businesses by providing free, short-term, intensive instruction in key elements of entrepreneurship. The goal of the Academy is to provide information that will help small-business owners and entrepreneurs provide job opportunities for the region.

The six courses in the Academy’s curriculum were created by a subject matter expert with expertise in small business development and who met the College’s faculty certification standards.

The first course in the series of six provides a general understanding of entrepreneurship, the characteristics and skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and the components of business development. Other courses include the forecasting and management of the financial aspects of a start-up business, business planning, strategies for business growth, concepts of leadership and business organization, and marketing and sales strategies.

The need is very great, as small business fuels the American economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, small business created 65 percent of all new jobs between 1993 and 2009. But running a small business is also difficult. About 30 percent of all new small businesses close within the first two years, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

It is hoped that entrepreneurship training will increase small businesses’ success. The College’s training program gives residents of the region the opportunity to see what starting a business involves.

Awards and Recognition

National honor for PCC Adult Education administrator

Regina SuittI am pleased to note that the Committee on Adult Basic Education has named Regina Suitt, Advanced Program Manager, Adult Education Services, as its Administrator of the Year.

The national honor goes to the Adult Basic Education administrator who has made an outstanding contribution toward fostering lifelong learning and has contributed to Adult Education locally or nationally.

PCC Adult Education helps Southern Arizona develop economically by giving thousands of undereducated adults an opportunity to earn a high school credential and make a better life for themselves and their families. Regina’s award is much deserved.


HITECH helps prepare Southern Arizonans for high-tech medical jobs

The College is preparing the region’s healthcare and Information Technology employees for jobs being created by a federal mandate to digitize patients’ medical records.

As part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery act of 2009, a $70 million grant was awarded to community colleges across the nation. Downtown Campus applied for and was awarded $750,000 for the HITECH Training Program. The College is a sub-recipient of this grant, which includes the Southwest region of Nevada, California, Hawaii, Phoenix and Tucson.

The purpose of the grant is to train workers in six workforce roles to assist in the conversion to electronic health records. The training is free for the length of the grant. It is targeted at people who already have backgrounds in healthcare or Information Technology. The training will prepare those who complete the program to work in a field that may pay between $44,000 and $127,000 a year.

Training can be completed in six months or less and a certificate of completion is awarded for the workforce role being completed. The College offers guided, self-paced, and combination classroom-online courses. Courses are completed on the student’s schedule. The program recognizes that most the people taking the classes already have jobs and need instruction that fits their schedules.

HITECH’s benefits to our community and society are numerous. Digitizing records leads to greater efficiency because doctors will order fewer duplicate tests. Creating electronic records also will result in better patient care, as ultimately the records will be simultaneously available to the patients’ specialists as well as their primary care physicians.

Faculty:  Dr. Dolores Durán-Cerda

Dr. Dolores Durán-Cerda is a World Languages instructor at Downtown Campus and is Campus Honors Coordinator. She teaches several “strands” of Spanish: for transfer students, for professionals, and for heritage learners – students who have been exposed to the language at home, and may speak it, but not write it. She also teaches in a variety of formats, including traditional classroom, Web-classroom hybrids, self-paced, and Late Start.

Dr. Durán-Cerda notes that the College’s students are diverse in many ways, including a distinction between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” A digital native was born after 1980 and has grown up with cell phones, the Internet, online chat, 500 channels of cable television, and MP3s, she says. Digital immigrants are older, and, while becoming adept in the online arts, still retain an “accent”: they print e-mails, because they’re more comfortable with reading off paper than a screen, for example.

Instructors can take advantage of the comfort that digital natives have with multitasking, along with their eagerness to network and collaborate, and their love of games, in order to design effective online instruction, she says. That instruction can take the form of discussion boards, podcasts, live chat, and video. She notes that cell phone poll quizzes, in which students text answers which are compiled in real time on a Web site, are a great way to jump-start an online discussion.

Dr. Durán-Cerda notes that online instruction benefits many groups of students, including those who live far from a campus, those with family and job responsibilities that make it difficult to get to a campus, and the disabled.

Staff: Christy Yebra

Christy YebraChristy Yebra has been the College’s event coordinator since 1998, organizing about 10 major College-wide and numerous community outreach events each year. In January, she took on a new challenge as executive assistant to Imelda Cuyugan, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government Relations.

Christy focuses on state initiatives. Her duties include attending committee hearings at the Legislature in Phoenix, providing reports on the Legislature, keeping track of all bills that affect community colleges, coordinating dignitary visits to Pima’s campuses, and attending the Arizona Community College Presidents Council. Until her previous position is filled, Christy also continues to coordinate College-wide events.

Christy is a homegrown Pima success story. A student-athlete who played for Pima’s softball team in 1986-87, Christy was first hired by the College as a student aide in 1988. She earned her associate degree in general studies from Pima in 1990. Later, she earned her bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix.

Alumni: Max Jimenez

Max Jimenez Max Jimenez began attending classes at Pima Community College at age 15 as part of his homeschooling. It was the start of a connection to the College that culminated in 2009, when Max earned an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts, as well as an Arizona General Education Curriculum certificate from Pima.

Max transferred to The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Business. He is on schedule to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in management from UA after the Fall 2012 semester. Max said that the transfer from PCC to UA was seamless, adding, “I can tell you from personal experience that for students, a smooth transfer between community colleges and universities is important,” Max says.

Upon graduation from UA, Max will be commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Roy Flores

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Pima Community College, 4905 East Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85709