Monday, January 25, 2010

Teachers Offer Advice for Job Seekers

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

When interviewing, job seekers have to make more than one first impression. They have to make two first impressions. Job seekers will make their first impression with a solid resume and another first impression when they get invited to a face-to-face interview.

Recently, Rio Salado College’s faculty members have been offering interviewing advice to December’s graduates, and the teachers wanted to share this advice with anyone who is looking for a job.

The teachers stressed the importance of researching the company, preparing questions for the interviewers, and practicing by rehearsing with a family member or friend.

“Your appearance is the first impression you will make on an employer when you arrive at an interview,” said Brooke Toney, an instructor in Rio Salado College's Sustainable Food Systems program. “I expect potential employees to dress professionally and have exception hygiene. In my field, I am working with food safety and personal hygiene one of the main contributors of a foodborne illness.

Rio Salado’s Faculty Chair for Instructional Design Jennifer Freed agrees with Toney and added that men should wear a tie and jacket.

"I know it gets hot in the Valley during the summer, but dressing professionally shows interviewers you are serious about the position," said Freed. "If someone doesn't put in the effort to dress professionally during an interview, an employer may question their work ethic, too."

Besides appearance, the Rio Salado teachers said a person's demeanor during the interview is important, too. Employers are looking for someone who will fit into their team, company or organization, and the way they act during an interview can be the difference between getting an offer and being rejected.

"Be positive and avoid saying anything negative about a previous employer," said Toney. "Appearing angry, wounded, or sad about being laid off makes you appear unstable. Instead, focus on the positive and address how you will be an asset."

According to Toney, this will set you apart from other candidates. She suggests talking about accomplishments from past positions and how they will fit into this new position. If you have been unemployed for some time, but are volunteering locally this is another great aspect to share in the interview. Being active in your community says a lot about you as a person and a prospective employee.

"I encourage students not to be one dimensional," said Freed. "You have to address how you are qualified for the job, but it doesn't mean you have to be a robot. You have to sell yourself, and show the interviewer that you have a personality. Just make sure it is all done with good taste."
The teachers suggest talking about what you know and not trying to stretch your true qualifications too far.

“Be honest,” said Freed. “The truth always comes out, and if you lie on your resume or in an interview it is grounds for dismissal or to not be hired in the first place.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Class Teaches Students to Navigate Second Life

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

On Saturday at 10 p.m., Murray Inman met friends at an education conference in Berlin while his wife was at a jazz dance club in San Francisco. At Midnight, the Inmans met at a cafe in Taipei, Taiwan, to do some people watching. To most people this sounds impossible. But to the 16 million users on the social networking site Second Life this is completely normal.

Second Life is a virtual world where people don avatars to meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade goods and services with one another, or travel throughout the world. Unlike other social networks, Second Life is much more in depth and hands on.

“Second Life is much different than Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites,” said Inman, a Systems Application Analyst and adjunct instructor at Rio Salado College. “All the other sites are quick little one or two-line status updates. You can reconnect, but you are not part of their lives. Second Life is much closer to being face-to-face. You get to know someone better through activities. You share more experiences, which you don’t get in other social media sites.”

Inman understands the difference between social networking sites well. That is why he developed the Current Topics in Computing course that focuses on Second Life, which Rio Salado recently launched. The class is for people who are new to Second life and teaches them how to explore the virtual world.

“We have several classes in development that will be taught in Second Life,” said Inman. “We started to realize that the more we start to use this, the more we need to train people in the basics. This course is an introduction and assumes that you are brand new. However, it offers opportunities to learn and explore to all levels of users.”

In the class, students maneuver through an obstacle course, which teaches basic movements and camera control use. They also learn how to fly, use pose balls, which allow avatars to sit, dance or swim. The class progresses to where students eventually learn how to build scripted items that can be interacted with. Toward the end of the class, the students are asked to question what it means to be an avatar.

“I have students go in and change their avatar to something that is not them,” said Inman. “For some people, it may be changing their ethnicity, their weight and height, or even becoming something non-human like an animal or robot. I have them interact with people to see what reactions they might get back. It really helps them question what their attitudes are toward other people, and how other people might feel about it. It’s fascinating in a philosophical way, too.”

According to Inman, there is a vast learning experience to discover in Second Life, and, while students will learn the basics, he wants people to get more out of the class.

“I hope students will take away a little bit more about themselves,” said Inman. “If you let it, Second Life can give you a reflection of who you are.”

To learn more about Rio Salado College and its Current Topics in Computing class, visit

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dr. Chris Bustamante Named Interim President

Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper today announced the appointment of Dr. Chris Bustamante as the Interim President of Rio Salado College. Bustamante replaces Dr. Linda Thor, recently named Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, effective Feb. 16, 2010.

The appointment of Bustamante, who has served as the college’s Vice President of Community Development and Student Services since 2006, becomes effective upon Dr. Thor’s departure.

“Dr. Bustamante is well qualified to assume this prominent position,” said Dr. Glasper. “He possesses substantial leadership credentials in education and has an extensive track record of forging partnerships within the community. Specifically, he was instrumental in the collaborative development of the Arizona Communiversity concept, which recently opened its first site — the Communiversity @ Surprise.”

The appointment marks the first change in the college’s leadership in two decades. Under Thor’s nearly 20-year tenure, the college became nationally acclaimed for its innovations as a leading provider of online learning, as well as for its customized partnerships with business and government entities. “We congratulate President Thor on these and many other accomplishments, and we wish her every success as she transitions to this prestigious new role at one of the nation’s premier community college districts,” said Glasper.

Bustamante’s considerable other successes since joining Rio Salado as Dean of Academic Affairs in 2004 include:

  • Oversight of the largest dual enrollment program in both the Maricopa District and all of Arizona, currently serving nearly 7,000 students annually through 54 partnering high schools
  • Oversight of eight major capital projects for Rio Salado, including the building of the $4 million Adult Learning Center in the City of Avondale
  • The launching of Rio’s Adult ACE and Puente ACE Programs that enroll more than 150 students annually
  • Establishment of a partnership with the Phoenix Elementary School District to reopen Ann Ott Elementary School as an Adult Learning Center

Prior to his Rio career, Bustamante served the Maricopa Community College District as Director of Government Relations & External Affairs, and also held positions as Director of State Relations and the Associate Director of Government Relations. He began his Maricopa career in 1992.

Prior to working for the MCCCD, Bustamante served as the Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations for the Phoenix Union High School District. Bustamante also served as a Legislative Aide in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1984-1987.

Bustamante was a member of Maricopa’s Executive Development Program (2008), the Leadership Fellows Program of the National Community College Hispanic Council (2005), and was appointed by Governor Jane D. Hull to serve on Arizona’s Merit Award System Board and served as its Chairman (2002-2004). He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Experience Matters, as Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base (Alumnus), as an Advisory member for the REF Fund, Arizona Community Foundation, and as a Board member for the Be A Leader Foundation. He is a former member of the Task Force for the National State Relations Conference (Chair, 2004). Bustamante also served as the community college presidents’ staff liaison to the Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education (2000).

Bustamante received his Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University (NAU). He also attended Pima Community College and Harvard University, and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1983 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Finance. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for NAU in the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Program/Maricopa cohort.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chandler Teacher Deemed Excellent

Chandler High School teacher LuAnn Ewan was named the January Excellence in Education Award winner from Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9 FM. With Ewan (right) is student Kate Marlowe and KEZ’s Marty Manning.

To nominate a teacher, please visit