Monday, December 17, 2007

Dental Assisting Program Receives National Accreditation

Rio Salado College’s online dental assisting program recently received its national accreditation, but for patients at the Central Arizona Shelter Systems, a dental clinic serving the homeless, the students chairside manner is what really counts.
Students in the only online accredited program in the country spend part of their required 300-hour internship serving as dental assistants at the downtown Phoenix clinic. The students work with more than 300 patients a month gaining valuable skills while providing dental care for those who can’t afford it.
The Rio Salado students are an important part of the CASS clinic, said Kris Volcheck, the center’s director.
Rio students come well-prepared to assist so dentists don’t spend more time training assistants than working with patients, said Volcheck.
Some students find the volunteer experience so satisfying that they stay on at the clinic. After spending countless hours as a volunteer, Rio Salado graduate Annette Chunn works full-time at the clinic as the office manager. She’s become a key member of the staff.
“Annette has made all the difference in my ability to serve the homeless,” said Volcheck.
The state-of-the-art clinic has a reputation for excellence so students completing their certification are well received in the job market, said Chunn.
Working at the clinic with 400 volunteer dentists and hygienists is an excellent opportunity for students since the clinic does all kinds of dentistry. Plus, students are exposed to a number of job opportunities as they work with hundreds of professionals in the field.
Chunn spent 24 years in the grocery industry and a stint caring for her father-in-law with dementia before entering the dental assisting field. A trip to the dentist in which she was forced to act as the dental assistant for her father-in-law set her on the path.
“My father-in-law would not allow anyone else to help and the dentist told me I would make a great dental assistant,” said Chunn
Intrigued, Chunn began researching schools and found the Rio Salado online dental assisting program.
“It fit me perfectly. I was home, sequestered with my father-in-law, with my dinning room table as my lab. I had online support 24/7 and access to teachers when I needed them,” said Chunn
Upon completion of her online classes and internship at CASS, Chunn chose to continue at the clinic.
“It’s just the whole idea of what they are doing here,” said Chunn who admits those in need have always had a special place in her heart.
“There is such a need for people who care and really want to help those who are different,” said Chunn.
The recent national accreditation is an important milestone for the program. The school received the highest possible accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. The accreditation is good for seven years. Dental assisting classes begin every January, April, August and November. There are many job opportunities for graduates of the program.
“I can’t keep up with the demand the job market is so strong,” said Nicole Albo, Rio Salado College dental assisting faculty chair.Rio Salado College has 450 online classes with start dates every week. The college offers degrees and certificates in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For more information call 480-517-8540 or go to for registration go to www

Friday, December 7, 2007

AARP and Rio Salado College partner for 50+ Worker

(Surprise, AZ) -- Earlier this year, AARP Arizona and Rio Salado College announced a joint effort to offer a four-part pilot series of classes on 50+ worker issues that are to be launched at the Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center in Surprise.

On Tuesday, December 11, AARP and Rio Salado Community College officials will host a forum for local area employers in which they will unveil the pilot series of 50+ Worker curriculum that is set to launch at the College in March. The curriculum will be divided into two parts, one program will be offered to employers who are interested in learning more about issues affecting the 50+ workforce. The second part will be specific classes that are tailored to 50+ workers who are interested in retooling their skills or looking to re-career. The classes will be offered on-line or in a traditional classroom setting.

AARP Arizona State Director David Mitchell believes the timing for the launch of the new curriculum is on target with demographic shifts which are beginning to take place in today’s workforce. “There are three important trends that are starting to have a dramatic impact on the future of our country’s workforce,” said Mitchell. “Number one - our workforce is aging. Number two - labor shortages are projected in a growing number of economic sectors and number three - many workers are intending to continue to work beyond their traditional retirement age. All of this points to the importance of keeping and attracting 50+ workers.”

It’s estimated that over 34 percent of the U.S. workforce will be 50 and over by 2012. “As more baby boomers turn 60, attracting and retaining skilled workers will become critical if employers want to retain a competitive edge,” Mitchell added.

In AARP’s landmark report, The Business Case for Workers Age 50+, it was found that 58% of human resource managers said it is more difficult today than it was five years ago to find qualified job applicants. More than half also said that their companies are likely to face a shortage of qualified workers within the next five years.

“It’s our responsibility as a community college to address local workforce needs,” said Todd Aakhus, Director of the Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center. “One of the fastest growing segments of community college education is non-credit classes like workforce training. These classes focus on contemporary issues that are relevant to our local populations. One of the fastest growing demographics in community college education is our older students and we want to be responsive and address their needs.”

The employer breakfast forum hosted by AARP and Rio Salado College will be held on Tuesday, December 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Rio Salado College, 12535 Smokey Drive in Surprise.

“At the forum, AARP and Rio Salado College want to help employers understand that they will have to address aging, from a labor-force perspective and from a consumer perspective because these trends cannot be ignored.” Mitchell added. “At the same time, AARP and Rio Salado College want to provide resources, information and learning opportunities to help them and 50+ workers meet their employment goals.”

AARP has over 848,000 members in Arizona. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our Web site, AARP Foundation is our affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rio Salado, the largest of the Maricopa Community Colleges in terms of headcount, serves more than 48,000 credit students and an additional 14,000 non-credit students annually. Known as “the college within everyone’s reach ™,” Rio Salado focuses on general education and courses for university transfer, applied programs for workforce development, and adult basic education. Popular learning formats include online classes, on-site classes at major Valley employers, and accelerated courses and programs.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Science Classes Including Biology Are Always Open At Rio

More than 6,000 students click their way through virtual reality science labs at Rio Salado College.
From the comfort of their home students study chemical reactions and view microscopic specimens through the lens of a high powered microscope in a dozens or so biology, chemistry, anatomy and microbiology classes.

They gaze at the stars in astronomy, examine rock specimens for geology, study genetics in allied health and dissect cadavers in a virtual lab as part of Rio Salado’s extensive online science and health classes.

Instead of spending hours gloved up with protective eyewear in a lab filled with strong smelling chemicals, students work at their kitchen table or view a computer screen.
“All they have to do is click and learn. We take the extra time to get everything set so they can spend time on content,” said Shannon Corona, residential faculty at Rio Salado College.
“We cover the same content as the other colleges, we just do it online,” said Corona.
Unlike surrounding colleges, where finding an open biology or anatomy class can be near impossible, Rio Salado’s health and science classes are always open and start throughout the semester.

“In the first couple months of a semester we start class every two weeks, the last two months start dates go to once a month,” said Corona. Students who are turned off by smells or doing the live dissection enjoy the online labs, said Corona.

According to Corona there is a huge demand for human anatomy and physiology, chemistry and microbiology, classes required before students enter nursing, dental hygiene and other related health programs.

Classes are also available in health related subjects like medical terminology, health care delivery and wellness and safety. Rio Salado student Kristin Lannucci’s goal is to someday be a nurse. She’s been diligently working on her goal for more than five years, chipping away on a long list of prerequisites while caring for her four children ranging in age from eight to one.
She’s nearly done, having completed all her medical prerequisites online at Rio Salado College.
“It thought it would be a lot easier for my family to do my classes online,” said Lannucci, who found she got just as much out of the online labs as she did those in person.

“I love the college and the opportunity to take classes online,” said Lannucci.
Even students thousands of miles away find the college’s online classes a great benefit.
Student Mark Sussman completed 32 credits including his prerequisites to enter physician assistant school while on active duty for the military in Afghanistan.

“It’s a great way for a soldier to get ahead without the hassles of going to night school,” said Sussman.
Students who are self-motivated, comfortable about asking questions and have good time management skills do well in online classes, said Cornona.

Students can enroll in classes now. Rio Salado College, one of 10 fully-accredited Maricopa County community colleges serving Phoenix and its surrounding communities, has long been recognized as a leader in providing distant-learning instruction. Located in Tempe, Ariz., Rio Salado has 450 online classes with start dates every week. The college offers degrees and certificates in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

College Thinks Beyond Green

Rio Salado employee Natalie Sirovy models the college's new recyclable "tote bag" which she researched as part of the college's sustainability initiative.

For Rio Salado College employees, caring about the environment is more than a passing fad; it is becoming a lifestyle change that blends into their daily routines.

The college recently adopted several measures to “think green” and beyond. In fact, Rio Salado is concentrating on the holistic concept of sustainability, defined as “meeting the needs of the present while taking care of the future.”

To better understand sustainability, imagine three intersecting circles representing three major areas of sustainability. They are social, economic, and environmental. All of them are necessary and must work together to form the sweet spot in the center called sustainability. Sustainability reduces waste and therefore leads to increased profitability.

Rio Salado President Linda Thor recently became a charter signer of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. This commitment is an effort by higher education leaders to address global warming by leading their institutions to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, to accelerate research, and to promote educational efforts of higher education that equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

As part of this commitment, Rio will conduct an emissions inventory, set targets to become climate neutral, integrate sustainability into the curriculum, create an action plan, and report progress to the public. This commitment will help to lower college energy costs as well as demonstrate excellent public stewardship.

A first step is to install clean and green energy-generating technologies where possible, such as photovoltaic solar panels to reduce carbon emissions on one of the newly remodeled buildings at Rio Salado’s Tempe headquarters.

The college has committed to purchasing Energy Star electronic appliances and equipment to save resources. Also, the college will encourage the use of public transportation as part of trip reduction efforts.

It’s a fact that Americans use over 14 billion plastic bags annually. The petroleum in 14 plastic bags could drive a car for one mile. A Rio Salado employee, Natalie Sirovy, researched alternatives to using plastic bags at grocery stores.

As a result, when Rio Salado employees shop for groceries they no longer have to respond “paper” or “plastic.” Instead, they have the option of using 100% recyclable polypropylene tote bags, which the college makes available for $2 each. Proceeds benefit not only the environment but also the Rio Scholarship Fund

Rio Salado has committed to incorporating sustainability into the curriculum as well. This will emphasize not only green thinking but will also introduce the concepts of social and economic sustainability to help Rio's students prepare for future and current challenges.

Sustainability is one more way that Rio Salado College demonstrates its responsiveness to the communities it serves!

Now offered online ARABIC AND CHINESE

New foreign language classes at Rio Salado College will have you speaking some of the most spoken languages in the world from the comfort of your home.
Rio Salado has expanded its foreign languages courses to include Chinese and Arabic, two languages included in President Bush’s National Security Language Initiative launched in January of 2006. The plan is designed to strengthen national security and prosperity in the 21st century through education and the development of foreign language skills.
Online language courses are now available through Rio in not only the newly launched Arabic and Chinese; but also Japanese, French, German and Spanish.
Rio Salado College student Harminder Aujla hopes to someday do his part in strengthening national security. A United States Air Force Staff Sargent, Aujla is studying Arabic; his goal is to work as a linguist on national security issues.
He enjoys his online Arabic class and plans to continue in the program until he is fluent.
“It’s not hard. I think it is pretty easy,” said Aujla of his study of the third most spoken language in the world. Chinese is first, English second and Arabic third.
Like most of Rio Salado’s foreign language classes, the Arabic course uses state-of-the art voice recognition technology called Auralog which allows students to work at their own pace as they perfect pronunciation, learn vocabulary and improve sentence structure.
The voice recognition software really makes a difference in learning a language online, said Aujla.
Aujla’s instructor Sarah Risha, a native of Kuwait, says her online students do as well or better than as her in-person students. She initially was afraid students would not learn to speak correctly, but she’s been surprised at how well the interactive voice recognition program does at teaching foreign language skills.
“They do just as well as students in a classroom. They get it and they can do it,” said Risha.
“They also don’t have to drive to a campus but can take the class at their convenience. They can do it in the middle of the night, in the morning, whenever they have time to do it,” said Risha.
Although there are currently 28 students studying Arabic, Angela Felix, Rio Salado’s foreign language faculty chair, believes enrollment would soar if students were aware of the additional foreign languages classes Rio offers.
“People know they can come to Rio for Spanish classes, but most don’t know they can get all these other languages,” said Felix.
The online classes start every Monday and never close or cancel due to low enrollment like other colleges.
Many students from surrounding colleges and universities take their required language class at Rio, preferring the convenience of online learning and community college affordability.
With the online schedule, students can complete the class in the traditional 14 weeks, accelerate, or even complete the course at their own pace.
Students benefit from the highly interactive software, the 24/7 helpdesk support from instructors and immediate feedback from the voice recognition program.
Students hesitant about practicing difficult new words in front of a class like the ability to perfect pronunciation in front of a computer. The remarkable software tracks the students voice, graphing what sounds are correct and those incorrect. Diagrams help students position their mouth for perfect speech.
With the interactive voice recognition software students aren’t required to purchase textbooks. The Auralog software provides all the material students need to become proficient in speaking another language, said Felix. Auralog cost just $70 compared to textbooks that run at double Auralog’s price or more. The state-of-the-art software is the same that can be purchased for about $400 by the general public.
“Our students are really excited about this. They love the cutting-edge technology over having to buy expensive textbooks, but really appreciate having a knowledgeable faculty member available for guidance and help,” said Felix.
Rio Salado College, located in Tempe, AZ, has 450 online classes which start every Monday. The college offers degrees and certificates in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For registration or more information please call 480-517-8255 or go to

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Customized Textbooks Save Students Money

Concerned about making higher education more affordable for students, Rio Salado College has partnered with Pearson Custom Publishing and Follett Higher Education Group to launch a ground-breaking program which will offer students customized textbooks to meet their needs at an affordable price.
“The innovative solution, the Textbook Savings Program, reduces students’ up-front costs by as much as 50% for a brand new customized textbook,” said Dr. Linda Thor, Rio Salado College president.
The program is the first of its kind in the nation and will begin December 21 for classes starting in January 2008. Published specifically for Rio Salado students, these customized textbooks will contain exactly the material required for Rio Salado courses and be available only at the Bookstore @ Rio Salado, which is managed by Follett Higher Education Group.
“The program is unique because it requires the adoption of customized textbooks from a single publisher, modifications of the standard used book model, and most of all the total commitment of the faculty and the college,” said Thor.

The program will be phased into the Bookstore @ Rio Salado by stages as Pearson adds new textbooks each semester. The roll out is expected to be complete in October of 2009 and will cover approximately 90 percent of the textbooks used by Rio Salado courses. The first customized textbooks will be offered in a variety of courses including English 101, Biology 201 and 202, History 103 and 104, Communications 110 for a total of 32 courses. Book orders are being taken now.
Rio Salado College, one of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges, offers 450 online classes and has more than 48,000 plus credit students. The college offers degrees and certificates in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more.
Pearson Custom Publishing is the custom and database publishing business of Pearson Education's Higher Education group. It has been a leader among custom publishers for nearly 30 years and assists educators with print and media solutions for their course material needs by utilizing original material, Pearson Education content and third-party content to create new customized works. For more information, visit
Follett Higher Education Group manages bookstores for more than 780 colleges and universities nationwide and provides management systems, support services, and used textbooks to over 1,800 independently managed bookstores.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

College Degree Leads to Pay Raise

For many, getting a college degree could be the fastest way to a pay raise.

To increase his income, next month John King of Phoenix will start college for the first time at the age of 44.

He plans to get a degree in computer technology from Rio Salado College. After 24 years of working with developmentally disabled adults, King has decided he needs a degree to advance his career.

“I think the most important thing a person needs to consider when deciding to go to school is that, if you don’t have a degree, you’re being shut out of this job market,” King said. “Without a degree, you’re limiting the amount of money you can make.”

King is part of a growing number of people who are finding that the cost of not having a degree is actually more than what they would pay to get one, especially once they look into financial aid and scholarship options.

“Students should look at education as an investment,” said Rachelle Clarke, director of advisement services at Rio Salado. “By investing in their future through education, students increase their opportunities to earn higher salaries and advance their career.”

King found the process to be more straightforward than he expected.

“Enrolling and filing for financial aid has been an easy process because I did a lot of it online. That really helped,” he said.

“People often think enrolling in college is more complicated than it is,” Clarke said. “When students call we explain that Rio Salado is a community college with open enrollment and with the exception of a few programs there is no application process. In many cases students simply need to enroll in a course to get their college career started.”

An adult with an associate degree earns 22 percent more than high school graduates, according to a 2004 study by the College Board, a not-for-profit group. An individual with a four-year college degree earned an average annual salary of $49,900, 62 percent more than the $30,800 earned by the average worker with only a high school diploma.

Rio Salado works with students like King to find the best way for them to pay for their education, said Linda Ross, director of financial aid for the college.
Students can apply for federal and state grants and loans with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Rio Salado also awards more than a million dollars in scholarships each year. There are new tuition payment plans available as well, she said.

“The fastest and best way to get financial aid is to fill out the FAFSA,” Ross said.

About 85 percent of Rio Salado students complete the FAFSA online at Rio Salado students can be awarded federal financial aid year-round, which isn’t the case with most colleges and universities that have traditional semester start dates.

“Because Rio Salado classes have start dates every Monday, there is no ‘drop dead’ date that you have to complete your FAFSA by,” she said. “Once we confirm a student is eligible for federal aid, they can start their classes.”

Students can also use e-Cashier, an option to pay their tuition and fees in smaller increments over a longer period of time. Pre-scheduled payments are automatically drawn from the student’s checking account or credit card until the balance is paid.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 47 percent of all undergraduates enrolled in public 2-year community colleges receive some type of financial aid. Of those students, 40 percent received grants and 12 percent took out student loans.

For more information, contact the Rio Salado Financial Aid Office at 480-517-8310 or visit

Rio President Receives CSULA Distinguished Alumna Award

Rio Salado President Linda Thor received the California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) Distinguished Alumna Award from the College of Natural and Social Sciences on October 25, 2007. She was recognized during the University’s 34th Annual Alumni Awards Gala. Dr. Thor received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from CSULA. Congratulations, President Thor! We are proud of you!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rio Launches 50 Start Dates!

Now you can start class every Monday. No waiting for a new semester at Rio, classes start each week. Rio Salado is one of the first colleges and only public institution in the country to offer the flexibility and convenience of weekly start dates. Weekly start dates begin October 22. Already dozens of students have signed up ready to begin class at their convenience. Sign up today! Visit:

Dual Credit Courses Jumpstart a College Education

Former Rio Salado College dual enrollment students Cassi Ware and Jennifer Impiccini skipped their freshman year at Arizona State University.

By the time they graduated from high school they had accumulated enough credits to begin ASU as sophomores. Both students are enthusiastic about the jumpstart they got.
“It was really good to get two years done in one,” said Ware who will complete college in three years.

Dual enrollment courses allowed Impiccini to complete prerequisites needed for her program before she finished high school. She liked the smaller class size.
“In dual enrollment classes it is a lot easier to talk to the teacher and get the help you need,” said Impiccini.

Like thousands of other able and ambitious Valley high school students Ware and Impiccini know dual enrollment classes, classes in which students receive high school and college credit simultaneously, are a bargain.
The classes save students time and money. Students also benefit from rigorous classes taught by college certified instructors.
Rio Salado College was the first college to offer dual enrollment courses and has the largest enrollment in Maricopa County with more than 52 high schools and 7,000 students participating.

Not only do students get a jumpstart on their college education, they are well prepared to succeed once they reach the university.

“We know our student’s academic performance is as good or better as those who take all their classes at the university,” said Vernon Smith, dean of instruction.
Smith calls the program beneficial for all those involved.

“This is a win, win, win, win,” said Smith. “Students meaning parents save on college tuition and textbooks. They also reduce the time spent completing college and eliminate duplication of coursework.”

Taxpayers win since it’s much cheaper to educate students at a community college rather than a university and students are ready to contribute to the economy much quicker.
Rio Salado started the dual enrollment program in 1987 with Xavier College Preparatory High School, and with a few classes at Seton Catholic High School in 1992. By 1993 the program really took off.

In the Tempe Union School District all five of the high schools participate in the program. “I have been taking as many college accredited courses as possible to cut back on expenses once I get there, and this has provided another great opportunity for that. I think the dual enrollment program can benefit so many people, for it has already helped immensely in furthering my education,” said Ashley Martinez, a dual enrollment student at Marcos de Niza High School.

Tempe High teacher Brien Bensel teaches English 101 and 102. Bensel says the additional emphasis in writing helps students be a little more prepared for college.
Elizabeth Stone has been teaching dual enrollment courses for 12 years. She says students in dual enrollment classes benefit from an enhanced curriculum and their academic performance is higher.

“Students leaving my class are going into college prepared for the more rigorous college classes, are more accountable for completing their homework and have a better understanding of the self-preparation needed for exams in college,” Stone said.
Rio Salado is also the only community college in Maricopa County that is NACEP (National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnership) certified. NACEP certified means credits for courses transfer not only in state universities but out of state as well because colleges and universities are more likely to recognize an accredited institution.
“This is a huge advantage for students. If you are going to take the class make sure the class has the highest accreditation. This is really big deal,” said Smith.

High schools in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, Glendale, Deer Valley, Fountain Hills, Higley, Paradise Valley, Phoenix and Sunnyslope also participate in Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program. Many parents and students are unaware of the many classes offered in the dual enrollment program.

Typically junior and seniors in high school are eligible to enroll in dual enrollments courses. For a list of classes and high school participating in dual enrollment classes visit

Get Bachelor's in Addiction Counseling Online!

When her family moved from the Valley to Page, Ariz., Miriam Hughes found herself more than two hours away from the classes she needed to complete her degree.

Now a new partnership between Rio Salado College and Grand Canyon University in Phoenix has made it possible for students anywhere in the nation to earn their bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling completely through online classes.

“This is the first entirely online bachelor’s degree program in addiction counseling in Arizona, and only one of a handful of programs nationally,” said Dr. Kirk Bowden, Rio Salado Faculty Chair of the Chemical Dependency Program. “There is a significant shortage of counselors specializing in addiction. This partnership will make this program available to people who would not otherwise have this opportunity.”

Bowden will also oversee the program at Grand Canyon University as the director of counseling and addiction studies. Well known in his field, Bowden serves as the president of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (INCASE) and as a curriculum consultant for the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. He recently worked with the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on dissemination of competencies for substance abuse counselors nationally.

Students can enroll in the online bachelor’s degree program now, with classes starting at Grand Canyon University in January 2008.
“I wouldn’t be getting my degree right now if it weren’t for online classes, simply because I couldn’t spend that much time away from my family,” said the 30-year-old Hughes. “I have three kids and I didn’t want to have to travel two hours one way to class.”

Hughes will receive her Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing from Rio Salado in December. In her current work as an LPN at Page Hospital, she noticed that chemical dependency was a major problem for many of her patients. She plans to specialize in the addiction counseling field.
“I was interested in an associate degree in chemical dependency. Now that I know about this new online program, I will go for my bachelor’s degree as well,” Hughes said. “I think this partnership is a phenomenal opportunity for me.”

Students who receive their Associate in Applied Science Degree in Chemical Dependency from Rio Salado will be able to take an additional 19 transfer credits from the college, giving them a total of 83 credits at the community college price of $65 per credit hour (for Arizona residents). Because of the partnership, the credits will seamlessly transfer to Grand Canyon University, where students can complete the 45 remaining credits required for a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling.

In addition to benefiting students in remote locations, the convenient online classes also make education possible for busy professionals who need to arrange their classes around their jobs, Bowden said.

“Many professionals providing addiction counseling have degrees in social work or other related fields, but have never taken courses specifically in addiction counseling,” he said. “Because of the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Licensure requirements, individuals need to meet very specific degree requirements to become Licensed Substance Abuse Counselors”.

Carolyn Brown, Rio Salado adjunct faculty member since 1982 and owner and operator of the Desert Oasis Counseling Center in Phoenix, said the program will strengthen the addiction counseling field and improve the quality of its members.

“We started in this field with very few standards or guidelines for being service providers. Now we’re creating standards,” she said. “This program will open new doors and help a lot more people meet the requirements for licensure on all levels.”

For more information or to enroll in the bachelor’s degree program, please contact Karilyn Van Oosten, director of enrollment at Grand Canyon University, at (602) 639-6477 or For more information on the associate degree program, contact Rio Salado at (480) 517-8000 or

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rio Salado Developing Service Center in Avondale

Tempe, AZ, September 11, 2007 – Educational opportunities are expanding in Avondale as Rio Salado College Southwest Service Center prepares to open at Central Avenue and Goold Boulevard. The new center will house a myriad of academic activities including classes for community residents to learn English, train for a new career, gain computer skills or earn their high school diploma.

"Avondale is thrilled to welcome another Maricopa Community College, Rio Salado, to our city," said Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers. "The services and courses it provides will continue to enhance and enrich the educational opportunities for our residents as well as those in surrounding communities. We are also excited to welcome the staff and faculty, as they will expand the city's employment base. "

Already more than 800 Avondale residents benefit from the Rio Salado advantage of affordable, flexible, convenient classes where online classes start every two weeks. Rio Salado College offers more than 450 online and in-person courses and a variety of degrees and certificates including those in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more.

The new 12,170 square foot facility will include a testing center, and computer lab and classroom/meeting space. The site will include a wing of five ABE/GED classrooms. These classes are currently free and open to the public.

Built from a voter approved 2004 bond, the center will serve Avondale residents through online learning, educational partnerships, English as a Second Language (ESL), Adult Basic Education (ABE) with GED.

"We have a rich history of serving this community. This will enable us to continue to serve and with our expanded space allow us to meet the community's educational needs even better," said Dr. Linda Thor, Rio Salado College president.

Construction of the $3.9 million facility is currently underway. Completion of the center is scheduled for mid-December with a mid-January opening. The new southwest center is located at 420 North Central Avenue. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to

Reporters may contact:
Rio Salado College, Institutional Advancement
EJ Anderson (480) 517-8472
Linda Bird (480) 517-8462

Rio Salado Partners Win ASTD Best Awards!

Rio Salado is proud to announce that two of its education partners, Equity Residential and Gables Residential, have been honored with global “Best Awards” from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). The ASTD Best Awards recognize organizations of every size and from every sector that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee learning and development.

Both partners are property management companies. Headquartered in Chicago, Equity Residential, which placed #7, has won a Best Award every year since 2003. As part of a new integrated business information system, Equity’s national education group, working under the direction of Senior Vice President Tony Pusateri, developed a program to teach or remediate computer skills to employees. Rio Salado converted Equity’s existing training into a format that would remediate deficiencies through college-level classes with credits awarded.

This was the first win for Gables Residential, which is headquartered in Atlanta and placed #33. For Gables, Rio Salado developed customized courses that would bolster the timing and quality of its response to inquiries. Within a few months, these courses contributed to a 200% improvement rate in Gables’ customer response time.

Congratulations, partners, on this significant honor!

Rio Launches 50 Start Dates!

Now you can choose from 50 start dates for most of your online classes! Rio Salado introduces "50 starts" for the total convenience of our students. Sign up today! Visit:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rio Salado Recognized by Hands Across the Border

Rio Salado College has been recognized for strengthening educational partnerships across the border.

At the 18th Annual Hands Across the Border (HATB) conference in Tucson, Rio Salado was recognized for ten years of participation in an exchange program between students in the United States and Mexico.

In the Hands Across the Border program, Rio Salado students spend several days in Mexico, attending college and staying with students from Mexico’s Instituto Tecnol√≥gico de Hermosillo (ITH). A few months later, the Mexican students come to the U.S. and stay with those same American students.

“These students come home with an understanding of another culture, another country and its educational system,” said Erma Abeyta, Rio Salado College director of international education. “Most importantly, they come home with a life-long friend.”

In addition to social and cultural interaction, the students study a variety of subjects and learn about the business and industry of both countries. The program prepares students to compete in today’s global economy, she said.

Because of its short length, the Hands Across the Border program through Rio Salado is a more affordable alternative to most study-abroad programs. It also requires no prior knowledge of a foreign language and offers complete immersion in the culture.

“For such a short program, we enrich the students more than reading a book ever could,” Abeyta said.

Rio Salado College, located in Tempe, AZ has more than 450 online classes with start dates every two weeks. The college offers degrees and certificates in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to http://www/registration/

Sun Sounds Launches New Safety Program

Tempe, AZ, August 28, 2007 – Safety Dance is a new radio series, featuring information and advice from local safety experts about simple things people can do to avoid common accidents, with special tips for people living with visual disabilities.

One of those safety experts and the host of Safety Dance is Mike Bryant, who thinks safety is more than common sense. He advises listeners that, “Injury prevention is like dancing. It takes a little practice to be good at it.”

Mike is a 13-year Safety Professional with technical expertise in employee health, safety and emergency response who currently serves as a Learning Coordinator for Maricopa County Community Colleges. “With my experience in injury prevention… this program was a natural fit.”

Mike is volunteering his time as an advisor, content developer and interviewer for Safety Dance. This is in addition to his duties as a Sun Sounds volunteer reader. He is one of 500 volunteers at Sun Sounds, many of whom read newspapers, magazines, the latest books and even grocery ads on this special radio station for more than 49,000 Arizona listeners who find it difficult or impossible to read print because of a medical condition or disability.

Listeners can tune into Safety Dance Saturdays at 10 AM and Sundays at 3 AM by logging onto or by calling Sun Sounds for a special radio, which it provides on loan free of charge to eligible listeners.

Each of the first 13 episodes feature 30 minutes of tips and advice many people can apply right away. Among the specific topics covered on Safety Dance are: How to prevent drowning, falls, poisonings, fire, burns, elderly abuse and domestic violence; how to improve stairwells, bathroom space, furniture placement, and lighting; and how to keep safe from intruders, traffic hazards, ATM theft, crowds, sensory overload and sensory isolation.

“Safety Dance falls right in line with our programming mission,” says Andrea Pasquale, Sun Sounds Tempe Programming Manager. “We strive to give listeners information they can use to maintain their independence and improve the quality of their lives.”

Safety Dance experts launching the series include, Pamela W. Goslar, PhD, the lead Epidemiologist for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Captain Jay Arthur of the Phoenix Fire Department and Mark Yoshimura of the City of Phoenix’s Employee Development Division.

“But as the old saying goes, it takes two to Tango,” says Mike Bryant. “Our listening audience must take action. Even if they decide to implement one suggestion per show, it will get them closer to our goal, an injury-free community.”

Safety Dance is a presentation of Sun Sounds of Arizona, sponsored by a grant from Catholic Healthcare West, administered by St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

For photos and additional information about this release, contact:
Annette Flores, Marketing CoordinatorSun Sounds of Arizona
2323 W. 14th St.Tempe, AZ 85281-6950
Office: 480-774-8300
Fax: 480-774-8310

About Sun Sounds of Arizona
Sun Sounds of Arizona, established in 1979, is a radio reading and audio information access service for people who find it difficult or impossible to read print because of a disability or medical condition. It is a community outreach service with more than 500 volunteers, which is part of Rio Salado College and KJZZ with affiliate stations located in Flagstaff, Tempe, Tucson and Yuma. For eligible listeners, Sun Sounds of Arizona is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using special radios, designated cable systems, telephone and the internet.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Grand opening scheduled for Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center

Educational opportunities have grown in the West Valley as Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center holds its building dedication and celebration for its expanded facilities in September.
The expansion, a result of the successful passage of the 2004 Proposition 401 capital campaign, has tripled the current center adding an additional 10,000 square feet of space to the original 5,000.

A long list of dignitaries are expected to attend the event including Dr. Rufus Glasper, Maricopa County Community College District Chancellor; Mrs. Linda Rosenthal, MCCD Governing Board President; Dr. Linda Thor, Rio Salado College President; Joan Shafer, Mayor of Surprise and Michelle Dionisio, President and CEO of Interfaith Community Care.

New classes and educational offerings have been added to the center making it a multi-generational center with courses of interest for all ages including credit and non-credit classes.
“We are creating an educational empowerment zone. This zone will support all aspects of the educational needs of this community,” said Todd Aakhus, director of the center. The center is designed to serve the communities of Surprise, Sun City, Sun City West, El Mirage, Peoria, Wittman, Wickenburg and northwest Phoenix.

Classes are offered in adult basic education, GED, English as a Second Language, online and self-paced computer classes, law enforcement technology, and the weekend college for teacher education programs. The center also includes RISE Learning for Life which offers 200 classes annually for senior citizens in a variety of areas taught by experts in the field. For more information about courses and programs available at the Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center located at 12535 Smokey Drive call 480.517.8770.

The grand opening celebration is free and open to the public.
Rio Salado College’s Lifelong Learning Center Building Dedication and CelebrationTuesday, September 25 at 9 a.m.12535 Smokey DriveSurprise, AZ 85374