Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Student Rocks 
In and Out of the Classroom

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College

The Valley-based rock band Anarbor started in 2003 when three middle-school friends decided to start a band based on a shared passion for the same type of music.

Today, the friends, who are in their early 20s, are accomplished musicians who have toured the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and parts of Japan.

“The longest tour we have done to date has been two full months and was this last summer when we were a part of the Vans 2010 Warped Tour,” said guitarists Mike Kitlas. “We spent two months away from home and played over 50 shows.”

While traveling the world and living the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle is dream for Kitlas, it doesn’t leave time for doing a lot of other things. And one thing he would like to accomplish is earning a college degree. While a tradition college doesn’t offer the flexibility a touring musician needs in their schedule, Kitlas has been able to earn a degree through Tempe-based Rio Salado College.

“I began taking classes with Rio Salado College when I was a junior in high school,” said Kitlas. “I attended Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, and I was involved in many honors courses, which allowed me to take classes as college credits. Luckily, before I even graduating Brophy I had a full semester of college credits completed.”

Now that Kitlas is out of high school and spending a lot of time on the road, he hasn’t missed a beat in his educational goals with Rio Salado’s format.

“I love online classes because they allow me to travel for my career, but still allow me the opportunity to get my college degree while at work,” he said. “Without online classes, I would have to choose one or the other, and the chances of me choosing school over rock ’n’ roll is not going to happen.”

While he loves his life as a musician, Kitlas still makes sacrifices to keep up with his class deadlines.

“I study during the long drives we have from state to state,” said Kitlas. “I take tests once I am in my dressing room and I have a quiet atmosphere. I let my tour manager know to close off the dressing room for a period of time so I’m able to concentrate and complete the exam. Sometimes my tests are required to be proctored, like my Biology midterm. When I was in Portland, I had to miss my sound check at the venue because I was at the local community college taking my midterm exam. This can be tough to organize because I am on a schedule, so it takes a lot of planning on my part to ensure I can take all my exams.”

This month, Kitlas is on track to complete his Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Rio Salado College. He also plans to continue his education and is considering a degree in music business marketing.

Check out Anarbor’s music at www.myspace.com/anarbor.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rio Salado College Awarded Grant from Hanover Grants

Hanover Grants, a Washington, D.C.-based grant development and management services firm, awarded online community college, Rio Salado College a $68,373 program-planning grant administered through the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

The Science and Math in Arizona Rural Teaching (SMART) Fellows Planning Grant will support a series of planning workshops involving rural schools, industry partners, and college faculty to develop a program of enhanced training and support for rural science and math teachers seeking master’s degrees. The team will also use the planning period to obtain private matching funds to support the new program.

Hanover Grants assisted Rio Salado’s science and math teacher education team in the planning and development of the SMART Fellows Planning Grant proposal. The planning team, led by Janet Johnson, Chair of Rio Salado’s Department of Education, and Shannon Corona, Chair of Physical Science, expects to request NSF support for the new program through an application to the Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship Program. Hanover Grants is assisting the team throughout the planning process in preparation for the new application.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rio Salado College Gets High Praise

Rio Salado College, an accredited online college known for its strong completion of online certificates and programs, has been named one of the nation’s eight highly productive institutions of higher education by McKinsey & Company, a nationally known management consulting firm.

McKinsey & Company reported that Rio Salado is a community college with one of the largest online enrollments in the nation. They praised the accredited online college’s cost−effective practices of leveraging technology, substituting full−time with adjunct faculty, innovative attitudes of Rio Salado administrators, and the decision made by the State of Arizona to allow Rio Salado College to operate across the state, serving students across many communities.

Source: Ahwatukee Foothills News, Phoenix, AZ (Dec. 2010).

Monday, December 20, 2010

RISE Learning for Life new semester starts Jan. 3

A new semester of classes will begin Jan. 3 at RISE Learning for Life.

The adult learning organization will offer nearly 100 classes in the new semester. Most of them will be new to the curriculum.

Classes are taught at the Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center, 12535 Smokey Drive, Surprise.

Any Maricopa County adult may join RISE for a $45 annual fee and take the free classes.

For information on these and other courses, go to www.RISEedu.org or call 480-377-4250.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Communiversity Gets Involved in New Economic Development Committee

As part of the Arizona Artists Guild's fall exhibition, which attracted 85 artists from 17 Arizona cities, an Award of Excellence went to Lawrence Carter, of Sun City West, and a Merit Award went to Jean Dibner, also of Sun City West. A Merchant's Award went to Woodard Mackie, of Surprise. The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce will be making economic development one of its key areas of focus over the next year having just entered a multiyear service agreement with the city of Surprise.

The new economic development committee will be guiding the chamber's activities as it begins to play a more significant role in aiding its five constituent communities in growing the region's economic activity. The committee is made up of the following individuals: Bill Pupo, former city of Surprise City Manager, currently of Bill Pupo Consulting and chairman of the committee; Scott Phillips, vice president of Carefree Partners; Joe LaRue, president and CEO of Sun Health; John Harrington, CEO of Banner Del Webb Medical Center; Latonya Finch, regional manager of economic development for BNSF Railway; Todd Hornback, director of community life at DMB Associates; Dr. Todd Aakhus, director of Rio Salado Community College/Communiversity at Surprise; and Rich Marchant, vice president of operations for Crescent Crown Distributing.

For more information on the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Committee, contact David Moss at 623-583-0692. Information about the Communiversity @ Surprise, go to www.azcommuniversity.com.

Source: Sun City Independent Newspaper

RISE Classes Discuss Rewiring Your Brain

How to tap into your whole brain to maximize your health and well being will be explained at a RISE Learning for Life class, which began 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13 at Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center, 12535 Smokey Drive. The class is one of four new classes starting the week of Dec. 13 at RISE, a part of Rio Salado College. Fall classes at RISE Learngin for Life end this week. The winter semester classes begin Monday, Jan. 3. About 99 classes will be offered, two-thirds of the classes have never been offered before. Any adult living in Maricopa County can join RISE for a $45 annual membership and take any class without charge. RISE members can still sign up for other new classes. Class offerings can be viewed at www.riseedu.org/classes. More information is available from Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center or call 480-377-4250.

Source: Sun City Independent Newspaper (12-8-10).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dental Students Featured on Maricopa Now!

Rio Salado College's School of Dental Hygiene is featured on the December edition of MCTV's Maricopa Now! The program shows students at the Rio Salado clinic and volunteering at CASS (Central Arizona Shelter Services) where they help treat the Valley's homeless every week.

To see more stories about the Maricopa Community Colleges, visit www.maricopa.edu/mctv.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rio Salado Awarded for Outstanding Use of Technology in Higher Education

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

Rio Salado College is trying to eliminate cheating in higher education. And for its efforts the Tempe-based college was named one of four colleges throughout the country to win a 2010 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award from the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) in Boulder, CO.

In November, college representatives accepted the award for the colleges Peer-to Peer Plagiarism Detection System during a conference in La Jolla, CA.

“At Rio Salado we promote the values of academic integrity among students, faculty, teachers and administrators,” said Vernon Smith, the vice president of Academic Affairs at Rio Salado College. “One of the ways we maintain this integrity is through our Peer-to-Peer Plagiarism detection system.”

The automated plagiarism detector is intended to identify cases of students sharing answers on written assessments. The detection software continuously scans submissions from the college’s Rio Learn interface, and compares them to a 90-day history of submissions for the same assessment. The system detects “excessive similarity” by comparing the question-by-question response patterns of students. Faculty chairs are alerted via e-mail whenever a new case is discovered. The system is extremely robust and commonly detects cases of cheating despite student efforts to conceal it. The detector was initially launched in July and several cases are detected and reviewed each week.

Faculty and staff response to the plagiarism detector has been extremely positive. John Jensen, Rio Salado Faculty president, praised the new system.

“The peer-to-peer plagiarism detection system is a key element in fortifying Rio Salado’s commitment to academic integrity,” said Jensen. “What is more, it reinforces in students the formation of ethical behavior and self-reliance as critical values in their character development and their learning as a personal responsibility. In the end, we feel that this system supports authentication in the online learning environment that meets or exceeds the capabilities of the physical classroom.”

WCET recognizes innovative uses of educational technologies in higher education. Since 2004 the WCET WOW award has been presented to higher education institutions and organizations for exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to a significant problem or need. In 2010, the awards go to four ambitious projects, each addressing a challenging issue with a unique solution.

“This year the selection process included a more explicit review of measurable outcomes to assess the actual impact of each approach to the specific, targeted need,” noted Peg O’Brien, WOW Awards Committee chair and director of extended programs for Dakota State University in South Dakota. “The WCET WOW award represents a great tribute to the work of the winning organizations, and also serves as a meaningful way to disseminate exemplar practices to the higher education community.”

Along with Rio Salado College, Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s College, Kentucky Virtual Campus’s KCTCS Online, and Winona State University also were named The 2010 WOW recipients.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rio Salado College Named One of Eight 'Highly Productive Institutions'

Rio Salado College, known for its strong online learning program, has been named one of eight highly productive institutions of higher education in the nation by McKinsey & Company, a nationally known management consulting firm.

In its new report, “Winning by Degrees: The Strategies of Highly Productive Higher Education Institutions,” McKinsey describes Rio Salado as “the community college with the largest online enrollments in the nation. U.S. higher education needs a new generation of such innovation at scale.”

“We’re delighted that McKinsey & Co. has recognized the accomplishments of Rio Salado College,” said Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper. “They’re saying that other institutions should replicate what Rio Salado has done – to provide scale that will allow more Americans to work toward a college degree.”

The McKinsey report describes the organization's research into higher education, which concluded that achieving a goal of 1 million more postsecondary degrees requires a “structural shift” in education. McKinsey said that not only will American education need to emphasize both access and college completion, but colleges and universities must become more productive, by an average of 23%.

The report praised Rio Salado’s practice of leveraging technology to become more cost-effective by substituting full-time with part-time faculty, the attitude of Rio Salado administrators, who encourage innovation, and a decision made by the State of Arizona when Rio Salado was created that allowed the college to operate across the state, serving students across many communities.

“The board of the Maricopa Community College system allows Rio Salado to operate across counties,” the report continued, “while other brick-and-mortar institutions have predefined service areas.”

“This report is recognition that Rio Salado’s educational innovations are working,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “We continue to look for additional ways to be more productive and effective in our work and to effect more certificate and degree completion.”

Overall, the McKinsey report recommends that colleges and universities reduce nonproductive, or excess credits taken by students; redesign their instruction, including use of innovative delivery systems such as online learning; ensure that core support and services are more efficient; and optimize non-core services and other operations.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Student Services Add to Students Success

Graduating from college is a major accomplishment for all students. It marks a new chapter in their lives as they transition from student to professional. But before they join the workforce the graduates need to go through the not-so-fun process of resume writing and interviewing.

For some graduates, resume writing and interviewing are not a problem. For others, it can be a daunting task. For all graduates, and current students, help is available.

“Just because a student has graduated it doesn’t mean the door at the college has closed behind them,” said Melaine Abts, faculty chair of Counseling at Rio Salado College. “Our student services are open to current students and graduates to help them with every aspect of career planning.”

Every day, Rio Salado’s counselors help people set personal, educational, and career goals. Counselors also are on hand to help students when they are experiencing obstacles that are interfering with their academic performance such as: lack of motivation, relationship issues, study skills, test anxiety, time management, and stress. Additionally, the counselors are available to students and graduates when they need assistance with job search skills, resume writing, interview preparation.

“We want students and graduates to be successful, and that means helping them with their resumes and preparing them for interviews, too.” said Abts. “The counseling services at Rio Salado College are an integral part of the total educational process, and this includes after graduating, too.”

Current and Incoming Students
For current and future students, Rio Salado offers three classes, which are geared toward helping students choose the career path that is right for them.

“Whether you're new to college or online learning, we'll give you tips on how to be a successful student,” said Abts. “We help develop study plans, identifying learning styles, and set personal and academic goals.”
The Career Exploration class focuses on current occupational trends and outlooks and is designed to assist students as they make informed career decisions.

“This class uses of various assessments to help the students explores career-related interests, values, needs, preferences, skills, and strengths,” said Abts. It will aid in the development of individualized educational goals, career goals, and action planning.”

The Creating College Success class offers strategies to help students succeed in college. It explores methods for selecting and developing effective academic strategies, increasing self-awareness, and developing self-management strategies. Elements of college resources and relationships with others are explored in support of the students' educational experience.

The Strategies for College Success class focus on increasing student success through college orientation and personal growth, study skills development, and educational and career planning.

“The college is successful if the students are successful,” said Abts. “With all of these tools available to students, everyone should be confident that they will be successful at Rio Salado.”

To see all of the counseling help that is available, visit www.riosalado.edu/counseling.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November’s Excellence in Education Winner

This morning, teacher Carole Cardenas, of Career Success High School, was named November’s Excellence in Education Award winner when David Staudacher, of Rio Salado College, and Marty Manning, of KEZ, visited her classroom in Phoenix.

Cardenas was nominated by Sandra Guevara-Terraza who said “Mrs. Cardenas is a teacher who makes a huge impact on the lives of her students.”

Each month, Rio Salado and KEZ will recognize a Valley teacher who is excellent at their profession and has gone above-and-beyond their call of duty to make a difference in their community for their extraordinary contribution to education. The Excellence in Education Award, presented by 99.9 KEZ and Rio Salado College!

To nominate your favorite teacher, visit kez999.com. To learn more about Rio Salado College, visit www.riosalado.edu.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sustainable scholarships awarded

On Earth Day 2010, Rio announced a sustainable scholarship competition, Art to the 3rd Power. Students had an opportunity to submit a creative piece that incorporated the 3R’s of Sustainability. We had more than 25 entries, which included poems, creative writing pieces, media entries and short stories. On Oct. 21, three winners were announced. The first place award went to Larry Marrs, who received a $400 scholarship. The $250 second-place award went to Shanna Slaughter, and the $150 third-place award went to Becky Beesley. The winning entries were creative and well written! All entries can be viewed here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Maricopa Colleges, Capella University Announce Education Agreement

Officials from the Maricopa Community Colleges and Capella University held a signing ceremony Oct. 19 that will offer Maricopa employees and graduates a variety of tuition reductions, grants and other benefits.

The Maricopa/Capella Agreement offers a 10 percent tuition reduction and the opportunity for a $500 grant, as well as a formal articulation agreement for block credit transfer from Maricopa to Capella. Professional development webinars and opportunities for additional scholarships and grants are part of the agreement.

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, executive vice chancellor and provost of the Maricopa Community Colleges, and Dr. Michael Offerman, president of Capella University, participated in the signing ceremony and offered remarks extolling the benefits of the agreement.

To be eligible for the $500 grant, employees or graduates must enroll in a degree program at Capella, meet their admission requirements, and be a new learner who starts a course between Oct. 1 and March 31, 2011. The grant will be applied to the first two quarters if students remain enrolled for two consecutive quarters.

Grant applications and more information on the agreement are available by visiting www.capella.edu/maricopa, or by calling a Capella University enrollment counselor at 1-866-736-1746.

Capella University in an accredited on-line university offering Bachelors, Masters, and doctorate degrees, as well as certificates, and is an approved education provider by the Maricopa Community Colleges.

About the Maricopa Community Colleges: The Maricopa County Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in the nation. It includes 10 colleges - Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, GateWay Community College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, Scottsdale Community College and South Mountain Community College. The District also includes the Maricopa Skill Center, SouthWest Skill Center, several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes and serves more than a quarter million students annually. For more information: 480-731-8333, 480-731-8000 or www.maricopa.edu. District News: www.maricopa.edu/press.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sustainable Food Systems on MCTV

Rio Salado College's Sustainable Food Systems program is the Green Pulse feature in the November edition of MCTV's Maricopa Now

Check out the entire show at http://www.maricopa.edu/mctv/MN/MaricopaNow.php. 

For more information about Rio Salado's Sustainable Food Systems program, visit http://www.riosalado.edu/programs/sustainable/Pages/default.aspx.

Monday, November 1, 2010

ABE Classes Help Student Earn GED, Publish Book

James Compton is like a lot of teenagers. He enjoys swimming, using Facebook, and playing video games. Unlike most teens his age, he started college at 16 and published his first book at 17.

In November of 2009, James earned his GED diploma after taking Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes at Rio Salado College’s Orangewood site. Less than a year later, the Glendale resident, now 17 years-old, is reviewing author’s copies of his children’s book, "Cat-Boy vs. the Fatal Game Glitch."

“I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I could remember,” said James, who wrote the book under the pen name Michael Morgan, a combination of his middle names. "So I wrote a story which included two of my favorite things – my cat and my Game-Boy."

According to James, the video-game-infused journey makes the book relatable to younger audiences and fun to read. The story, which is intended for readers ages 8 to 14, follows the adventures of Cat-Boy as he battles a variety of outlandish characters.

“Some of my favorite books include the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, the Jack Sparrow series by Rob Kidd, and the Mossflower series by Brian Jacques,” said James, who is an avid reader.

“He has enjoyed reading and writing from a young age,” said James’ mother, Elizabeth, who home-schooled James.

“The public high school wasn’t the right fit for him, so I taught him at home,” said Elizabeth. “A lot of my teaching techniques included writing assignments, and that helped him hone his style and technique.”

While James was taught most of his basic education at home, his mother confessed that she needed additional help with math and civics. And that is when she turned to Rio Salado College’s ABE program to continue preparing him for the GED tests.

Rio Salado’s ABE program helps students improve their basic reading, English, writing and math skills and civics. These classes are designed to help students become more self-sufficient, improve job skills and lay the foundation for a better future.

For James, the ABE program did more than help him earn his GED. It also prepared him for life in a traditional classroom, where the teen dreams of career plans and more Cat-Boy stories.

“I want to pursue a lot of things, but I definitely want to write forever,” said James. “I’m working on a follow-up to "Cat-Boy vs. the Fatal Game Glitch,” and have ideas for the third book, too. I hope it will become a series and would like to see it become a movie.”

The 121-page book is available for purchase at local bookstores and through several online bookstores.

For more information about our Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes, contact Rio Salado College.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Federal Grant Awarded for New East Valley Veterans Education Center

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $300,000 grant to the Maricopa Community Colleges to enhance The East Valley Veterans Education Center, to be located at 2055 S. Cottonwood Drive, near the corner of Broadway and Price Roads, Tempe. The grant was secured through the efforts of U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell.

Creation of the Education Center means that for the first time, East Valley veterans can obtain guidance to pursue higher education in one location. The Cottonwood Drive facility contains more than 5,000 square feet of space, which will be used for classrooms, an office, a student lounge and space where various services will be provided to students. It is scheduled to open in January.

“Soldiers who enter active duty, or veterans who return from war, should know that they won’t fall behind academically, professionally, or financially when they return home to civilian life,” said Mitchell. “We have a responsibility to make good on our promise to our servicemen and women that the military will help open doors to new opportunity and achievement. I’m proud to have worked with Maricopa Community Colleges to make the East Valley Veterans Education Center a reality and hope it will serve as a model for others around the country.”

Of the project’s $500,000 total cost, 60% is being funded by the federal government, while 40% is being funded by local sources. The grant is designed to help veterans enroll in and complete postsecondary education, and may be used to purchase equipment and technology.

“Our goal is to create an easily accessible place where veterans can obtain the information they need to quickly access the educational benefits they deserve at the college of their choice,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College, the lead institution among the five Maricopa Community Colleges participating in the project. “The center also will provide a place where veterans can meet, share their experiences, and help each other transition to civilian life.

The Education Center also will provide space for workshops, including sessions on academic and career advisement, resume-writing and job interview skills and peer-to-peer counseling. In addition to referring veterans to the Maricopa Community Colleges, the center will provide referral services to other higher education providers, depending on the veterans’ plans.

The other Maricopa Community Colleges participating in the project are Chandler-Gilbert, GateWay, Mesa and Scottsdale Community Colleges. Project partners include: Arizona Department of Veterans Affairs; Phoenix VA Health Care System; U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service; and the Arizona Department of Employment Security.

For more information, contact:
Tom Gariepy
District Director

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rio Salado Offers Online Courses Including CPR Class

“I want everyone in the world to take this class,” said Angela Ambrosia, a faculty chair member at Tempe-based Rio Salado College.

It’s safe to say every teacher will say their class is the most important and that everyone should enroll in it. But not every teacher can say their class has the potential to save lives. Ambrosia’s cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class has the potential to save lives and that is why she wants more people to enroll in her class.

“If I can teach somebody so that they will feel comfortable and not panic when this occurs, it will be great,” said Ambrosia. “I think we can improve the survival rate for cardiac arrest patients.”

In the Rio Salado class, students will learn to identify signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest with emphasis on early action. They will learn how to manage a conscious and unconscious airway obstruction and the proper technique for performing one and two rescuer CPR on the adult, infant and pediatric victim. Additionally, the students learn to deliver effective oxygenation and ventilation using a bag- valve-mask device and how to perform automatic, external defibrillation as part of the resuscitation of the adult in cardiac arrest.

“Students will learn current American Heart Association standards for one and two rescuer CPR and obstructed airway procedures on the adult, infant, and pediatric victim,” said Ambrosia. “The students will also learn to use automatic, external defibrillation and resuscitation equipment.”

According to the American Heart Association, the use of CPR dates back to 1740. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t know how to perform it today.

Rio Salado College launched the classes in January and saw more than 100 students take the online class and pass the in-person exam. Among the students who passed the exam is Tempe resident Jennifer Phoebe, who is a mother of three young children.

“I’m taking classes to get my degree in nursing and because I have children,” said Phoebe. “I thought CPR is something I should know. It’s long overdue.”

With family and work already keeping her busy, Phoebe found it difficult to attend classes in a traditional setting. So she chose online classes where she could attend class when it fit into her schedule.

“I have time constraints with kids and it made it a lot easier to take the classes online,” said Phoebe. “People think it’s going to be easy because it’s online, but you really have to learn the material. It was a great format for me and it was easy to understand. There was a lot of material and I learned a tremendous amount.”

After taking the classes online, Phoebe was relieved to practice what she learned during an in-person test under Ambrosia’s supervision at the college’s main location in Tempe.

“I felt a lot better coming in and doing it on a mannequin,” said Phoebe. “It reinforced everything I learned online.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phoenix Teacher Named October’s Excellence in Education Winner

On Tuesday, teacher Angela Scadaru was surprised in front of the entire school when KEZ’s Marty Manning named her October’s Excellence in Education winner during the morning announcements at St. Matthews Catholic School in Phoenix.

The teacher, who said she listens to KEZ on her way to work every day, was nearly brought to tears when Manning read a note from parent Frank Ramirez who nominated her for the award.

“She is such a compassionate, dedicated teacher who has helped my seven year old son Frankie tremendously,” read Manning. “My son has learned so much and has become a very good student, and I owe a great deal of gratitude to this wonderful teacher for her guidance. I feel truly blessed that Ms. Scafaru taught my son Frankie and knew that she was the right teacher to help guide, teach and provide the discipline he needed. It has been over a month now and my son is coming along nicely. He has shown good progress and is doing well. When I see him get up in the morning on his own and explain how excited he is to learn at school, I am filled with appreciation and happiness. Ms. Scafaru has been exactly what our boys need. I hope that she is recognized because she deserves it. She is very humble and would probably downplay what I am saying, but trust me I have seen her greatness and just want her to know she is appreciated.”

Each month, a Valley K-12 teacher will be recognized for their outstanding contribution to education. Rio Salado’s David Staudacher and KEZ’s Marty Manning visit the teacher’s school to surprise them with their “Excellence in Education” Award. The surprise visit is broadcast live during the Beth and Friends Show. All winning teachers also are rewarded with $99, an Excellence in Education Award, and a Rio Salado gift bag!

Students and parents of students are encouraged to nominate K-12 teachers who are excellent at their profession and have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to make a difference in their community. Learn more about Excellence in Education at www.riosalado.edu/community/services/Outreach/Pages/excellence-in-education.aspx.

Monday, September 27, 2010

KJZZ, KBAQ listeners invited to join ‘Fleet on the Street’

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

When someone openly expresses their love for something for all to see, it is said that they are wearing their heart on their sleeve. Recently, Arizona residents who love KJZZ and KBAQ started showing their love for the Tempe-based radio stations by joining the stations’ Fleet on the Street.

Fleet on the Street is chance for listeners to show their support for one or both of the radio stations by having temporary vinyl artwork with their own personalized message that expresses their passion for the stations added to their car for one year.

“We have 17 ambassadors with wrapped cars already on the streets,” said Julie Mate, development associate at KJZZ and KBAQ. “Along with those 17, we have 23 people committed to wrapping their cars, and our goal is to have a fleet of 100.”

One of first ambassadors to get their car wrapped is long-time listener Richard Espinoza, who is the director of facilities at Rio Salado College where KJZZ and KBAQ are located.
“I support KBAQ because I have been brought up to encourage and support that which gives you the most pleasure in life,” said Espinoza. “Just like one tithes to their church of choice, I support the radio station that helps me be a better person.”

Espinoza, who lives in Apache Junction, said he watches very little television and has the radio on during the majority of his time. He finds the music to be calming and that is why he choose the catch phrase, “KBAQ is my source for peace?” to go along with the KBAQ logo and one of the six designs that are available.

“Every time I listen to the radio station, especially when I have a problem on my mind, the music helps me to put things in a better perspective,” he said. “The music makes life seem uncomplicated and brings me back to the basics. I would like to see more folks try it for a week and see if they also do not join in and learn how to relax more.”

To help the stations reach their goal of 100 listeners, MINI of Tempe, 7855 S. Test Drive, Tempe, is hosting a wrap party on Oct. 16 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The event is an opportunity for listeners to wrap their cars and become an ambassador of one or both of the stations.

“We would like to get at least 30 cars wrapped during the party at MINI of Tempe,” said Mate. “A grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting My Source fund and a matching gift from the Friends of Public Radio Arizona are covering the fleet expenses, so it doesn’t cost the ambassadors anything. It’s a great way to show their support for public radio.”

To learn more about becoming a Fleet on the Street ambassador at the wrap party or at any other time, please visit fpraz.org/fleet or contact Julie Mate at jmate@rioradio.org or (480) 774-8444.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dental Students Volunteer to Help Elementary Students

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado Public Relations Manager

School is back in session and students are back in the classroom. Unfortunately, some students are suffering from dental problems and finding it difficult to concentrate. To help alleviate the pain and keep kids attentive during class, the Rio Salado College School of Dental Hygiene recently hosted Give Kids a Smile at the college’s clinic in Phoenix.

“We partnered with an elementary school in our community and we treating students between the age 5 to age 12,” said Kathy LaVoy, an adjunct faculty at Rio Salado College. “We are providing X-rays, a doctor’s examine, our dental hygiene students are providing cleanings, and working with the children on education. They are learning how to take better care of their teeth, how to keep their teeth healthy, which will keep them healthy.”

During the event, Rio Salado’s dental hygiene staff and students treated more than 60 students from Tertulia Elementary School in Phoenix. Along with the cleanings and proper brushing and flossing lessons, the Tertulia students received a gift pack, which included a new tooth brush, toothpaste, floss and other hygiene items.

This is the second year Rio Salado’s School of Dental Hygiene volunteered to host the Give Kids a Smile event at its clinic.

“Students lose a lot of [classroom] time because of problems with their teeth,” said LaVoy. “We want to educate the students on how to take care of their teeth and prevent that from happening. We want healthy happy students in the classroom learning. We don’t want these little guys out because they have a toothache or a problem.”

Additionally, Rio Salado College’s staff members are encouraged to volunteer and students in the dental hygiene program also are provided with opportunities to give back to the community.

“My students are required to give at least 10 hours and his is one of the ways they give part of their 10 hours,” said LaVoy.

Among the dental hygiene students volunteering was Lindsay Sinica of Tempe.

“We are done with our semester, and [the instructors] asked us to volunteer to brush kids’ teeth and give them a cleaning,” said Sinica. “Some kids have never been to the dentist. If we get them at a younger age, they can stop cavities from happening and get good brushing habits early.”

According to LaVoy, the elementary students are getting more than just a cleaning at the event. If they have a cavity or other dental problem, they will be referred to a dentist.

“We don’t just clean their teeth and tell them how to brush them and leave them with the issues,” said LaVoy. “We provide avenues to refer them.”

At the end of the event, the Tertulia children weren’t the only students smiling when they left the clinic. The dental hygiene students said they were having just as much fun.

“I hope we can do it again soon,” said Sinica. “I wish we could do it all the time.”

To learn more about Rio Salado College’s School of Dental Hygiene, visit www.riosalado.edu/dental.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Phoenix Teacher Named First Excellence in Education Winner

Peggy Shupp, of Desert Garden Montessori School in Phoenix, was named September's Excellence in Education winner during a surprise visit from KEZ's Marty Manning and Rio Salado College's David Staudacher. Shupp was nominated by parent Richard Campbell whose son, Jonathon, is a students in her class.

Each month, a Valley K-12 teacher will be selected from all the entries to be recognized for their outstanding contribution to education. KEZ’s Marty Manning will visit the teacher’s school to surprise them with their Excellence in Education Award. The surprise visit will be broadcast live during the Beth and Friends Show. All winning teachers are rewarded with $99, an Excellence in Education Award, a Rio Salado College gift bag, and their pictures on the Web sites of Rio Salado and KEZ!

Click HERE, to nominate a special teacher.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution to designate the week of Sept. 13, 2010 as Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. To celebrate this recognition, Rio Salado College’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) department is calling on residents to help spread the word about educational services that are available to adults who have not completed high school, need additional basic education, or need to improve their English language skills.

“We have sites in communities throughout the Valley to help people enhance their education,” said Lily Beth Brazones, program director of Adult Basic Education at Rio Salado College in Tempe. “We want people to be aware of the services we offer at these locations. I believe that one person can make a difference, and we are asking the public to step up this week by talking to at least one person they may know - or anyone – and encouraging him or her to continue their education.”

According to the U.S. Census, nearly half a million adults in Maricopa County are neither enrolled in high school nor have a high school credential. This lack of an education can put people at a disadvantage in life.

“Students who complete the ABE program through Rio Salado generally experience higher self-esteem, an increase in job opportunities and more choices in many areas of life,” said Blair Liddicoat, associate dean of Adult Basic Education at Rio Salado College. “Approximately 7,500 students attended our ABE classes this past year.”

Rio Salado’s ABE program helps students improve their basic reading, English, writing and math skills and civics. These classes are designed to help students become more self-sufficient, improve job skills and lay the foundation for a better future.

To learn more about Rio Salado college’s Adult Basic Education classes, visit www.riosalado.edu/abe.


Rio Salado College offers Adult Basic Education classes at the following locations:
  • Glendale Community College, (602) 347-6974
  • Don Mensendick School, (602) 347-6974
  • Maricopa Workforce Connections- Gilbert, (602) 372-9749
  • Orangewood Nazarene Church Learning Center, (602) 347-6974
  • Paradise Valley Community College, (480) 377-4260
  • Phoenix College, (480) 377-4050
  • Phoenix Public Library, (480) 377-4050
  • Rio East Valley, (480) 377-4150
  • Rio North at Paradise Valley Mall, (480) 377-4200
  • Rio Salado College Ann Ott Adult Learning Center, (480) 377-4300
  • Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center, (480) 377-4260
  • Rio Salado College @ Avondale, (480) 377-4403
  • Rio Salado College @ 7th Avenue - Adult Learning Center, (480) 377-4050
  • Scottsdale Adult Learning Center, (480) 941-5166
  • South Mountain Community College, (480) 517-8110
  • Betty Fairfax High School, (480) 517-8110
  • West Valley Career Center, (480) 377-4403
  • Care First Resource Center, (480) 377-4403
  • Deer Valley Community Center, (480) 377-4260

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rio Salado Opens Sustainable Cafe

By David Staudacher, public relations manager at Rio Salado College

Rio Salado College officially opened its new cafe Tuesday, Aug. 24 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its main site, 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe. The college's employees are excited to see an abundance of fresh dining options available.

But it was clear that Michael Hodgins, the cafe manager and director of the Sustainable Food Systems program, was relishing the moment more than anyone.

"I started working at Rio Salado in February and I've been waiting for the cafe to open since then," Hodgins said. "My staff and I have been working out of a neighbor's kitchen for the past six months, which is a long time for a chef to be away from their kitchen."

It's no surprise Hodgins was eager to start working in the cafe. Before joining Rio Salado, he worked as an executive chef at Bon Appétit, a sustainable-foods contractor in the Valley. It was during this time he realized he had a passion for sustainable foods. Now, he is back in his kitchen, and it is fully sustainable.

"The cafe features energy-efficient appliances, trayless dining, compostable and recyclable food and beverage containers, and the interior is decorated with environmentally friendly paints and adhesives," Hodgins he said. "We strive for zero-waste generation through comprehensive recycling and composting. We also feature seasonal menus, locally produced food, and food that is produced using humane labor practices."

According to Hodgins, a big element of remaining sustainable relies on the cafe chefs working with Valley farmers, ranchers and artisans to see what products are at the peak of freshness. These products are featured in daily specials in the cafe allowing the chefs creative freedom to use what is being harvested from farms in the community.

"By developing partnerships with local producers, the cafe is stimulating the local economy while reducing food miles," he said. "In turn, the cafe receives and prepares better tasting ingredients."

While the cafe is beneficial to the college's faculty, staff and the local community, it also is an integral part of the Sustainable Food Systems program as it serves as a sustainable teaching kitchen for students.

"The cafe is more than just a place where food is served," Hodgins said. "Students participating in the program will work in the café as part of an internship. This will allow them put into practice hands-on what they have been learning online."

In the Sustainable Food Systems program students will learn about the real food movement, how food is produced and purchased, and even preparation techniques for the cooking and baking process. They also contribute to the fresh product selection. Vegetables grown as part of the Organic Gardening class are prepared and served in the cafe.

"There is so much to learn about sustainability," Hodgins said. "There are a lot of people using the term 'green,' but this program will truly show them a more in-depth look at what sustainability and being green means."

To learn more about the Café @ Rio, visit www.riosalado.edu/cafe.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

RioPASS Featured on School Solutions

Channel 12's Kim Covington was at Rio Salado College today talking to Faculty Chair Jennifer Freed about the RioPASS program. More information about RioPASS is available at www.riosalado.edu/riopass. To register for RioPASS call 480.517.8580.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scholarship Contest Deadline Nears

Rio Salado is sponsoring a scholarship contest to raise awareness about the importance of the “3Rs”of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

The Art to the 3rd Power Sustainability Contest 2010 invites you, as a Rio Salado student, to enter a work of media or a piece of creative writing. Your entry should – in your own creative way – integrate the ideas of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. You may want to start with this question: how can we integrate sustainability and the 3Rs into our lives? How can we meet our needs today and still leave adequate resources for future generations?

Winning entries will be awarded up to a $800 scholarship to be used at Rio Salado College.

Entry deadline is September 29, 2010.

We hope that you enjoy the creative process as you explore the important concept of sustainability. Best of luck with your entry!

Entering the Contest
  • Download the Student Sustainability Form and Rules.
  • Submit your entry and entry form via e-mail to: Shannon.Corona@riosalado.edu. Entries not meeting guidelines and entry requirements will not be accepted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

RioPASS on Enfoque En Tu Futuro

This clip about Rio Salado College's RioPASS program is from Enfoque En Tu Futuro, which is a Spanish language program with English subtitles. It is part of MCTV and focuses on the Maricopa Community Colleges. The entire show and more is available at http://www.maricopa.edu/mctv.

More information about RioPASS is available at www.riosalado.edu/riopass.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Grant Helps Teacher Launch Student Newspaper

By David Staudacher, PR Manager, Rio Salado College

Rio Salado College’s online classes allow students to attend classes wherever they are located and when it fits into their schedule. This flexibility leaves a lot extra time for students to take on extracurricular activities. 

For student Ingrid Benson, who teaches Junior English and News Production at Copper Canyon High School in Glendale, the extra time allowed her to revive a lost tradition – a student-run newspaper.

“Rio Salado’s classes couldn’t be any more convenient,” said Benson, who recently completed Tempe-based college’s Teacher-in-Residence program. “I walked to the testing center for all of the tests I took. It was very convenient for me. I also took advantage of flexible start days. I timed it to start classes when I was off work, like during Christmas break. I would spend my two weeks off advancing as far as I could go in the class.”

With the time Benson saved, she worked with a colleague to put together a plan to start a new school newspaper. While some people may raise an eyebrow to the idea of starting a newspaper, Benson believes it will be one of the most important classes in the students’ high school career and benefit the entire school.

“When you think about the whole high school experience, [the newspaper] is something students remember, and some students will keep copies of the paper,” said Benson. “I just think this is part of the high school experience.”

While Benson believes the general students will enjoy the paper, she said the students producing the paper will benefit the most.

“There are many professional skills that the students can learn from this newspaper,” said Benson. “First of all, the students will be learning proper English. There will be a lot of creative students using Photoshop and InDesign to do the advertising and design. I want these kids to take something away from this that will give them a skill for when they go out into the workforce. I want to give them something hands-on to do, not just something they read in a book. They will have published clips to bring to an interview, and that’s a big deal.”

According to Benson, the students will gain additional skills as they will be assigned deadlines and have to learn time management. They also will have to learn to work as a team.

“In this class, they will be learning a skill and be able to go out into the world and be a productive person. This is what school is all about,” said Benson. 

While most students go online to find information, Benson has been pleasantly surprised with more than 80 students expressing interest in the newspaper. And the students are not the only people who support the school newspaper.

“Budgets are tight at the school and a lot of programs are seeing cutbacks,” said Benson. “What really made this possible is a $6,000 technology grant from the Arizona Republic.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spotlight on Success

Did you take classes with Rio Salado College? Did you go back to further your education? How did your Rio Salado education improve your career or quality of life? Tell us your Rio Story. Rio Salado College in partnership with MIX 96.9 wants to Spotlight the Success of Rio Salado students! Past and present Rio Salado College students are encouraged to tell us their success stories. We want to know if your Rio Salado education has helped you garner a promotion, land a new job, or transfer to a four-year university.

If your story is selected, you'll be invited to tell your story on MIX 96.9 with Mathew Blades. Plus you will have the chance to win an Apple iPAD. Rio Salado College — Education Your Way! Nominate a friend or loved one HERE.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rio Salado Handing Out Reusable Water Bottles at Hydration Station

College employees donate 1,300 water bottles with dehydration prevention tips

By David Staudacher, PR Manager, 480.316.9703

(Phoenix) August 4, 2010 – Summer is far from over and the National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for Thursday. To help residents beat the heat, the Salvation Army has set up hydration stations throughout the Valley.

At the Laura Danieli Senior Activity Center, 613 N. 4th Ave., Phoenix, volunteers from Rio Salado College are handing out reusable water bottles along with chilled bottled water, hats, and additional safety information. Transportation assistance, if needed, will be provided to individuals in or potentially in distress due to the heat. The reusable bottles, which were donated by Rio Salado College employees, have the symptoms of heat stress and tips for preventing dehydration.

“Sustainability and giving back to the community are part of the culture at Rio Salado College,” said Natalie Sirovy, Rio Salado College. “The employees wanted to help the Salvation Army during these extremely hot days, and we thought donating and volunteering to distribute reusable water bottles as a way to give back while considering the environment.”

Additional Hydration Stations are located at:

  • The Salvation Army Corps Locations:
  • Phoenix Central Corps: 3308 N. 28th St. Phoenix, 85016
  • Phoenix Maryvale Corps: 4318 W. Clarendon Ave. Phoenix, 85031
  • Phoenix South Mtn. Corps: 1351 E. Broadway Road Phoenix 85040
Street Locations
  • SW corner 16th St. and Jefferson (East Lake Park)
  • NE corner 3rd Ave. and Filmore
  • SW corner 5th St. and Hatcher
  • 35th Ave. and Roosevelt (Falcon Park)
Hydration Stations will be providing relief services from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. Through this effort, The Salvation Army will keep individuals hydrated and safe from the heat.

Water also is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:
  • Glendale Corps: 6010 W. Northern Ave. Glendale, 85301
  • Estrella Mtn. Corps: 11 N. 3rd Ave. Avondale, 85323
  • Mesa Citadel: 241 E. 6th Street Mesa, 85201  
The Salvation Army will be collecting bottled water (8-20 oz) throughout the summer. Individuals interested in donating can drop-off water at 2707 E. Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ 85008. Contact Amy Lopez at 602.267.4170 regarding donation information.
About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado, founded in 1978, is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona. The college serves more than 60,000 students annually, more than half online, making it the “college within everyone’s reach.” Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs. For more information, visit www.riosalado.edu.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July Education Forum Set

This month's Education Forum takes an inside look at the “Energize Phoenix” project, which will provide energy-efficient improvements to neighborhoods including multifamily units, commercial and industrial buildings and single-family homes along a 10-mile stretch of Phoenix's light rail corridor to be known as the "Green Rail Corridor." It is expected to create up to 5,300 jobs from now through 2013, and up to 8,000 total over the next six years.

The Education Forum is held at Rio Salado College, 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe and starts at 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Topics Covered
• Evolution of the project
• Distribution of the $25 million grant fund from DOE
• Benefits for business owners and residents
• Job opportunities and community outreach

Matt Fraser
Director, Research Development, Global Institute of Sustainability
Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
Arizona State University

Dimitrios Laloudakis
Manager, Public Works, Energy/Facilities Department
City of Phoenix

$10 for Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce members; $20 for non-members

More information is available at http://www.arizonagreenchamber.org/Phoenix.

Employee Uses Vacation to Volunteer in Haiti

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

Every year, Rio Salado College employees volunteer thousands of hours to hundreds of charities throughout the Valley and state. While the bulk of volunteer hours are concentrated on local charities, some employees have taken their efforts international. Recently, Benjamin Russell, a web technician at the Tempe-based college, used his week of vacation time to volunteer in earthquake-devastated Haiti.

The decision to volunteer in Haiti started with Russell’s sister, Megan Plunkett, who sponsors a child in Haiti through the Brent Gambrell Ministries — the group that organized the trip.

“Ever since the earthquake I wanted to visit Haiti, and when she told me she was going, I immediately knew I wanted to go as well,” said Russell. “I enjoy helping people in need, and I really felt inspired to go on this trip when I first heard about it. As a Christian, I am called to show God’s love to those in need, and I find it incredibly rewarding to see the happiness less fortunate people have when you show them love and compassion.”

While Russell was on vacation, his time in Haiti was not spent relaxing, which is exactly what he wanted from this trip.

“On several days, the group I was with helped clear the foundation for a house our organization was planning on building for a widow,” said Russell. “The team moved approximately 60 tons of rubble in just a few days to allow the next team to already start building the house.”

According to Russell, he took pride in all of his volunteer efforts, but it was the interaction with Haitians that gave him the most joy.

“On one day, I helped out at the pair of orphanages housing teenagers,” said Russell. “While I was there, the groups painted classrooms, helped correct electrical problems, sorted medicine and took on other many other much needed tasks. For two other days, we helped at a local school that was part of a church. The first day, I assisted a teacher, and the second day I got to teach myself. The kids had fun doing crafts, hearing stories, and playing several games.”

On his last day in Haiti, Russell had the opportunity to drive through other areas to observe the magnitude of the damage. During the ride, he saw firsthand the effect of the earthquake as rows of buildings were sitting in rubble.

“One of the most moving moments was seeing Haiti’s equivalent to the (United States) White House, simply sitting in ruins from the earthquake,” he said. “But the hardest part of traveling through the city was knowing that every building in ruins meant tens to hundreds of lives lost.”

Russell won’t have any vacation time for a while, but said he doesn’t have any regrets about going to Haiti and that it is something he will always remember.

“The trip was definitely life changing,” he said. “It was amazing and tragic at the same time.”

To learn more about Rio Salado College, visit www.riosalado.edu. To learn more about Brent Gambrell Ministries and its efforts in Haiti, visit www.brentgambrell.com.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Susan G. Komen Race Planning Meeting

Team captains or those planning to form a team for the Susan G. Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure on Oct. 10, are invited to learn more about the race and team planning on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center Community Room, 12535 Smokey Drive in Surprise.
For those unable to attend, additional sessions will be added by Thursday at www.komenphoenix.org.
Information or to RSVP: teams@komenphoenix.org or 602-346-2873.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Book Rental Program Can Cut Costs for Students

When it comes time to choosing books for their classes, students at the Maricopa Community Colleges now will have an expanded roster of options, including renting their texts, the colleges announced today.

The textbook rental program, called Rent-a-Text, means that instead of purchasing course material, Maricopa students can now rent popular titles at an average cost of about half the new book purchase price. Rent-a-Text is the latest cost-saving program offered by Follett’s Higher Education group, which manages bookstores on the Maricopa campuses.

“We’re committed to making education as affordable as possible,” said Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper. “Giving students more textbook choices is an increasingly important part of that commitment.”

The colleges’ textbook rental program will:
• Be available to students in-store and online, with in-store pickup;
• Allow students to choose a preferred form of payment, including financial aid and credit and debit cards;
• Allow students the freedom to highlight and make notes within the normal wear and tear associated with coursework;
• Give students the choice to buy their textbook at the end of the term if they decide to keep the book.

Students can purchase new textbooks, but with the cost of some text exceeding $100, that can be an expensive option, even if the students plan to sell their books back to the bookstore. In many cases, they can reduce their initial outlay by purchasing used books. However, renting the text offers students the advantage of less expensive initial costs, without the worry of whether they will be able to sell their books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.

In a related development, the colleges and Follett announced a new feature that will make it easier for Maricopa students to choose the right textbook for every class. Now, when a student signs up for a Maricopa course on the My.Maricopa.edu website, they will be shown the textbooks required for the class, along with the “ISBN” number of each textbook, as well as the various purchase options and costs available. This feature is being added in part to comply with a new federal law that requires that colleges and universities provide students with accurate course information, including textbook ISBN numbers and prices.

The Rent-a-Text program is based on a Follett pilot program that saved students at seven schools across the United States nearly $2 million on course materials in just one semester. Follett said that more than 90 percent of participants surveyed expressed satisfaction with the pilot program.

“We’ve been at the forefront of cost savings programs for more than a century,” said Thomas A. Christopher, President of Follett Higher Education Group. “Helping to reduce the costs of education is part of our mission, and we look forward to working with the Maricopa Community Colleges to deliver substantial textbook savings to students.”

Student Awarded Scholarship

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado PR Manager

Rio Salado College graduate Katherine “Kat” Robinson worked hard during her tenure at the Tempe-based college. And for her efforts she is one of 40 students across the country — and the only student in Arizona — to be awarded a Jake Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to helping young people of exception promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation provides challenging opportunities to high achievers from lower-income families through its Young Scholars Program, generous scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study, and grants to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

“Since it was established, the Foundation has recognized the importance of community colleges and their value to American society,” said Lawrence Kutner, the foundation’s executive director. “What we’ve also realized is that many top-notch students at these two-year colleges need financial help to get to the next level.”

The foundation will provide Robinson with a scholarship worth up to $30,000 a year for up to three years, which will allow her to transfer to a four-year college to complete her undergraduate degree. For Robinson, this will allow her to pursue her degree at Cornell University in New York.

“I am lucky enough to know my passion early in life — the law,” said Robinson. “Law school is only attainable with completion of a bachelor’s degree. I decided to transfer from community college in order to continue pursuit of my career goals.”

For Robinson, it was more than luck that helped her earn the scholarship. Robinson said Michelle Prins of Rio Salado College “is undoubtedly the best professor I have encountered in my academic career.” Prins built up her confidence, “while pushing me to challenge myself.”

The support and encouragement Robinson found at Rio Salado also lead her to being named to the All-Arizona Academic Team in February and the All-USA team in April.

Robinson earned her spot on the first team by maintaining a 3.93 grade-point average (GPA), earning 57 credits, and participating in a variety of college and community activities. Her activities include: Vice President of Leadership for the Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa; editor and writer for The Alpha Theta Omicron Alpha Bits; student coordinator of a Beautification and Community Garden Program; and a victim response member for Pandora’s Project.

As a member of the All-Arizona Academic Team she was awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and a full two-year renewable scholarship at one of Arizona’s three state universities. As a member of the All-USA team, she was awarded an additional $2,500.

“We are honored to have her represent Rio Salado College,” said Rio Salado President Chris Bustamante. “She is an outstanding student who has shown a passionate commitment for education and the community.”

The All-Arizona Academic Team scholarships are offered every year to two students from each of the state’s community colleges. To qualify, students must have earned a high grade point average and many credits in different academic disciplines at Rio Salado College, be working toward an associate degree, and be an active participant in service learning activities such as block watch participation, charity organizations, political organizations, religious groups and other community groups.

For more information about scholarship opportunities at Rio Salado College, please visit www.riosalado.edu/financial_aid.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Enter Our Sustainability Contest and Win a Scholarship

Are you passionate about sustainability? Do you have creative talents? Enter the Art to the 3rd Power Sustainability Contest to win a Rio Salado scholarship!

Rio Salado students are encouraged to enter a work of creative writing or media that integrates the three “Rs” of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

While submissions must be original works, how you address the three “Rs” is up to you, so get your creative juices flowing!

Three winning entries will be selected. Winners will receive Rio Salado scholarship vouchers of $350, $250 and $200 respectively. The deadline to enter is September 29, 2010.

For a list of the contest rules and an entry form click HERE.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chris Bustamante Named President of Rio Salado College

Chris Bustamante, Ed.D. has been named President of Rio Salado College, the largest in headcount of the 10 colleges within the Maricopa Community College District (MCCD). The appointment, which was recommended by Chancellor Rufus Glasper, was approved by the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board at its June 22 meeting and is effective immediately.

Dr. Bustamante has been serving as Rio Salado’s Interim President since February 16, 2010, when former Rio Salado President Linda Thor assumed the Chancellorship of California’s Foothill-De Anza Community College District. President Bustamante’s prior executive positions at Rio Salado include Vice President for Community Development and Student Services, and Dean of Academic Affairs. Earlier in his career, he held senior-level government affairs positions in the Maricopa Community College District.

“I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Chris Bustamante as President of Rio Salado College,” Dr. Glasper said. “He has a long history of outstanding service to the college, and I’m sure he will do an excellent job as President.”
Dr. Bustamante graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He earned his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Educational Leadership, both from Northern Arizona University. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for NAU in the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Program/Maricopa cohort.
Before joining the Maricopa Community Colleges, Dr. Bustamante was Assistant to the Superintendent for Community and Government Relations at Phoenix Union High School District. He also served as a Legislative Aide to the Arizona House of Representatives from 1984-87.

At Rio Salado, Dr. Bustamante is known as an advocate for increased access to higher education opportunities. He has forged transformational partnerships with business, government and other education providers, leading to innovations such as the Communiversity @ Surprise, the first communiversity west of the Mississippi.

His work at Rio Salado also has included oversight of Arizona’s largest dual enrollment program, serving 6,700 students annually; oversight of eight major capital projects for the college; securing capital funding for Adult Learning Center projects throughout Maricopa County; directing educational partnerships for the military with Luke Air Force Base and with the U.S. Army for GoArmyEd; and launching Rio Salado’s Adult ACE/Puente Program.

Headquartered in Tempe, Rio Salado College serves more than 64,000 students annually, including 51,000 credit and approximately 13,000 non-credit students.

Monday, June 21, 2010

June Education Forum: Green Marketing

June Education Forum: Green Marketing
Monday, June 28th at 5:30 to 7:30pm
5:30 - 6:00pm Networking
6:00 - 7:30pm Presentation


This month we will explore best practices for promoting your company as a green organization. In a society that has a growing interest in only supporting businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, your messaging is critical to your success. Everything from what you say to how you say it demonstrates how your principles align with those of your audience. Join us and learn about effective strategies to maximize the return of your marketing campaign while minimizing the impact on the environment.  

Topics Covered:
  • Embracing social responsibility
  • Branding your company as green
  • How to avoid green-washing
  • Social media marketing strategies
Lisa Barnard is the founder and EcoMind of Brain Lab, a sustainability and branding consultancy. Lisa's strengths lie in helping companies understand the relevancy of the "green" or "sustainable" movement and positioning brands in this space through authentic communications and cost-effective strategies. Lisa is a LEED Accredited Professional, a Certified Green Auditor, and has 15 years under her belt working at some of the best advertising agencies in the Phoenix and Albuquerque areas.

Dave Cooke, a nationally recognized revenue strategist and development counselor, is the Founder and Chief Growth Officer of Strategic Resource Group, LLC. Popularly referred to as "The Sales Cooke," Dave leverages over 25 years experience creating profitable selling strategies to transform companies and ignite their revenue engines. His approach brings refreshing insight and enthusiasm to the current trends and complexities of a growing global business environment.

Rio Salado College, The Conference @ Rio
2323 W. 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281(map)

Getting there:
Light Rail
Parking is ample and FREE
$10 Members
$20 Non-Members
Additional $5 required when paying at the door

Required by 5:00 p.m., June 27th (Click Here)

Rio Salado GED Graduate: ‘Just Do it’

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

“Students who complete the ABE (Adult Basic Education) program through Rio Salado generally experience higher self-esteem, an increase in job opportunities and more choices in many areas of life,” said Blair Liddicoat, associate dean of Adult Basic Education at Rio Salado College. “Approximately 7,500 students attended ABE classes with us this past year.”

Among those students was Ebaristo Ortega, who understands what Liddicoat is talking about. In May, he did more than proudly earn his GED. Ortega, who dropped out of high school nearly 14 years ago, was selected as the student speaker at Rio Salado College’s 2010 GED Graduation ceremony.

Deciding to return to school for his diploma was a difficult decision for Ortega. In October he was laid off from his job and school didn’t seem like a priority – until he started looking for jobs.

“From that point on I tried to get jobs and they would ask for my GED or evidence that I had it,” said Ortega. “It was like a light bulb going on and saying ‘It’s time to get your GED.’ And it’s something I’ve been wanting to get for a very long time, too.”

Besides being unemployed with very few opportunities in sight, Ortega was inspired to earn his GED after seeing a relative graduate from college.

“Seeing my niece graduate from Arizona State University, at 22-years-of age as an engineer really motivated me,” said Ortega. “When I saw her graduate, it reminded of my parents, who came to this country to give us, their children, a better future. When I saw my parents’ eyes filled with pride when they looked at my niece is the moment when I said ‘this is the reason my parents came to this country.’ My family is important to me and I want to be a role model to my family members who don’t have their diploma or GED, just like my niece was to me.”

While his family inspired him to return to school, it was the staff a Rio Salado College that kept him motivated to graduate and built his self esteem to the point where he didn’t shy away from speaking in public to nearly 200 of his graduating peers.

“The staff at Rio Salado College was excellent,” said Ortega. “Linda Putnam is a great director, and Maria Minor, who was my teacher, helped me out a lot. There was a lot of encouragement there.”

Rio Salado’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) helps students improve their basic reading, writing and math skills. These classes will help them become more self-sufficient, improve job skills and lay the foundation for a better future.

For Ortega, the future is continuing his education.

“I’m already enrolled in college and started in June,” he said.

According to the U.S. Census, nearly half a million adults in Maricopa County are neither enrolled in school nor have a high school credential. Ortega used to be one of these students, but found the encouragement he needed at Rio Salado College. Now, he is encouraging others to earn their diplomas.

“Go back to school,” said Ortega with a proud laugh. “Don’t let anything hold you down. It’s important to just do it, and it will be worth it in the long run.”

To learn more about Rio Salado College’s Adult Basic education program, visit http//www.riosalad.edu/ABE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bustamante Recommended for Rio Presidency

June 15, 2010-Tempe, AZ -- Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper today announced that he is recommending Chris Bustamante, Ed.D. to be President of Rio Salado College, the largest in headcount of the 10 colleges within the Maricopa County Community Colleges District.

The appointment is subject to approval by the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board at its June 22 meeting. The appointment would take effect immediately.

Dr. Bustamante was appointed as Rio Salado’s Interim President in February 2010 after serving as Vice President for Community Development and Student Services, and prior to that, as Dean of Academic Affairs. Earlier in his career, he held senior-level government affairs positions in the MCCD.

“I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Chris Bustamante as President of Rio Salado College,” Dr. Glasper said. “He has a long history of outstanding service to the college, and I’m sure he will do an excellent job as President.”

Dr. Bustamante graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He earned his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Educational Leadership, both at Northern Arizona University. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for NAU in the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Program/Maricopa cohort.

Before joining the Maricopa Community Colleges, he was Assistant to the Superintendent for Community and Government Relations at Phoenix Union High School District. He also served as a Legislative Aide to the Arizona House of Representatives from 1984-87.

At Rio Salado, Dr. Bustamante is known as an advocate for increased access to higher education opportunities. He has forged transformational partnerships with business, government and other education providers, leading to innovations such as the Communiversity @ Surprise, the first communiversity west of the Mississippi.

His work at Rio Salado also has included oversight of Arizona’s largest dual enrollment program, serving 6,700 students annually; oversight of eight major capital projects for the college; securing capital funding for Adult Learning Center projects throughout Maricopa County; directing educational partnerships for the military with Luke Air Force Base and with the U.S. Army for GoArmyEd; and launching Rio Salado’s Adult ACE/Puente Program.

Headquartered in Tempe, Rio Salado College serves more than 64,000 students annually, including 51,000 credit and approximately 13,000 non-credit students.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Faculty Chair Elected to Teacher Association Board

By David Staudacher, Public Relation Manager at Rio Salado CollegeRio Salado College’s Faculty Chair of the Education department Janet Johnson was recently elected to serve a two-year term as the Secretary of the Executive Board of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP).

“This is a tremendous honor for me and Rio Salado College,” said Johnson, whose term starts in July. “I was a part of the original team who created this organization nine years ago. We wrote the bi-laws and now, as an executive board member, I have the opportunity to be at the forefront of change in teacher education throughout the nation.”

Johnson has served as a NACCTEP Member at Large for the past two years, where she participated in the annual board meetings in Washington, D.C., each fall as well as all the board meetings and the annual conference each spring. While one of her duties as the secretary is to take the minutes at meetings, she believes she can take on a much larger role.

“I was a Member At Large for the last two years, and I had ideas about how to make a difference and how to expand membership, but my two year term was up,” said Johnson. “So I decided to run for secretary to help the organization expand.”

Johnson has been the faculty chair of Education at Rio Salado, 2323 W. 14 St., Tempe, since 1999, and said that her participation as secretary of the NACCCTEP also will benefit the Tempe-based college.

“NACCTEP membership consists of community colleges across the United States who offer or are interested in offering teacher education courses,” said Johnson. “Being a member and secretary of NACCTEP allows me to collaborate, share, and learn from other community colleges and their experiences related to teacher education.”

Johnson is not the only person excited about her new role. NACCCTEP Executive Director Ray Ostos believes she will be a key member in the organization.

“NACCTEP promotes the community college role in the recruitment, preparation, retention, and renewal of diverse PreK-12 teachers and advances quality teacher education programs in the community college,” said Ostos. “As the Secretary, Dr. Johnson will serve a significant role in shaping the future of NACCTEP and advocating for the crucial work of community colleges in the area of teacher education.”

To learn more about Rio Salado College’s Teacher Education programs, please visit http://www.riosalado.edu/education. To learn more about the NACCTEP, visit http://www.nacctep.org.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday's Gardening Advice

Rio Salado College Instructor Peter Conden was on Tram Mai's Valley Dish program on Tuesday with his gardening tip for the day. Peter will have more advice today at 4:30 p.m. on Channel 12. Conden's class, Gardening Practices and Techniques, is part of our Susntainable Food Systems program. More information about the program can be found HERE.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Horticulture Instructor On Valley Dish

Rio Salado College instructor Peter Conden was on Tram Mai's Valley Dish program Monday offering gardening advice. Conden will be offering tips all week on the program, which airs at 4:30 p.m. on Channel 12. Condon's class, Gardening Practices and Techniques, is part of our Susntainable Food Systems program. More info can be found HERE.

Friday, June 4, 2010

ACE Puente Program Featured on MCTV

Rio Salado College's Ace Puente program was featured on the June edition of MCTV's Enfoque En Tu Futuro, which is in Spanish with English subtitles.

ACE (Achieving a College Education) Puente is Rio Salado College's scholarship program that assists at-risk high school students with getting a head start on college. ACE Puente participants are recruited in their sophomore year of high school, and take hybrid and online college courses while in their junior and senior years, allowing them to graduate with up to 24 college credits.

To learn more, visit http://www.riosalado.edu/acepuente.

To see more MCTV programs, visit http://www.maricopa.edu/mctv.