Friday, September 30, 2011

Rio Salado Receives $2.8 Million Workforce Development Grant

Rio Salado College has received nearly $2.8 million for job training and workforce development. The award represents an initial roll out of community college and career training funds totaling nearly $500 million from the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Making it possible for unemployed Americans to return to work is a top priority of President Obama’s. This initiative is about providing access to training that leads to real jobs,” said Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.

Rio Salado is one of 32 community colleges from across the nation to receive funding and is part of a seven-college consortium, led by Collin College of Texas. Other members of the consortium include: Bunker Hill Community College, Massachusetts; Moraine Valley Community College, Illinois; Del Mar College, Texas; Salt Lake Community College, Utah, Bellevue College, Washington.

The goal of the consortium is to train displaced workers in the field of information technology. Members of the group will share expertise and resources to advance each institution’s ability to offer high-quality education, training and credentials.

According to Rio Salado College Dean of Instruction and Community Development Jo Jorgenson, the grant money will be used to create a compressed curriculum and a student support model. It will also contribute to logistical support for the consortium such as hosting course content, creation of open source platforms, and initial training for subject matter experts and course development teams across the consortium.

“This grant affords the colleges of the consortium the opportunity to provide education to those who need it the most,” Jorgenson said. “We are excited to participate with other colleges and partners nationwide to expand and enhance education. This program will provide trade-impacted and low-skilled workers with post-secondary learning experiences that will prepare them for sustainable employment in the expanding market of information technology.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is optimistic about the potential return on investment for taxpayers.

“The president knows that building a well-educated workforce is critical to reviving and strengthening the American economy,” Duncan said. “These grants will help community colleges and businesses work together to give students the skills they need to compete for good jobs in growing industries.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Open Educational Resources Part Two: Creative Commons Classes

In the last decade, educators and advocates for education have put a significant effort into enhancing the online availability of free educational resources. 

Yale University has developed an entire website to provide free public access to its open course content and Harvard University's Open Learning Initiative offers free noncredit courses taught online by Harvard faculty.  The Kahn Academy, a non-profit organization, offers more than two thousand instructional videos to anyone and a variety of online repositories are making academic materials freely available with a creative commons license.

Rio Salado College and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  are collaborating with support from BrandED on an Open Educational Resource (OER) project.  The objective is to create an efficient process for surveying and reviewing publicly available information so that it can be bundled into for-credit classes. 
By paving the way for this type of course development, Rio Salado is hoping to uncover a valuable resource that will universally improve the quality of course content while simultaneously lowering the cost of course production.

According to Rio Salado College Associate Dean of Instruction Michael Cottam, the project fits perfectly with the missions of the organizations involved.

“The Gates foundation promotes open, low cost or free access to education. OER has the potential to make that happen," Cottam said. "The problem is that the resources may not be structured in such a way that they will work in a college class which is where Rio comes in.”

"While the logistics of this type of course development can be time consuming, Rio is well equipped to pioneer a more efficient process," Cottam said. "We have an incredibly flexible system for enhancing and evolving our courses."

While updating an existing Physics course and developing a brand new Psychology course using only creative commons and public domain content, the instructional design team has already encountered and overcome several potential stumbling blocks. Luckily, that's the point.

"We chose these courses because they have a very high-enrollment across the country and they’re very different from each other.  One is theory and discussion based and the other is based on fixed rules and formulas. We wanted to make sure our experience with the project was as well rounded as possible so that we could identify and address a variety of issues that other institutions might face when using the process we have developed."

When the project is complete, Rio will not only share the procedural findings, but the college will also publish the bundled course materials under a creative commons license for use by any other institution or individual.

Psychology Department Faculty Chair Wanda Tucker said she believes the pilot course developed through the open source project is just as effective as her original course and that eliminating the cost of the source materials will have a significant impact on higher education.

"One of the things we are tuned into is making sure the course content meets the competencies of our existing psychology class and that we are providing an equivalent academic product to our students," Tucker said.
"Although open education is a buzz word right now, that's not our focus," she added. "This project is a genuine effort to improve education as a whole and our purpose in pursuing it is to add value to and increase the availability of learning resources."

Physical Science Faculty Chair Shannon Corona agrees.

"The resources are available. We can store, retrieve and share data instantly and seamlessly, why wouldn't we take advantage of these tools? That’s what this project is all about," Corona said. "We're creating a process for gathering and vetting publicly available information and packaging it for the benefit of a global student body."

The OER project is an attempt to determine the viability of creative commons and public domain content as academic source material and to provide a streamlined process for organizing and transforming those materials into useful learning tools.

"As we learn more and are able to organize and manage the content, we'll be able to create richer more diverse courses," Corona said. "What we’re doing right now is really just the beginning.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rio Featured as National Model for Completion

Rio Salado College is nationally recognized as an institution that can “beat the odds” when it comes to helping students most prone to dropping out of college.

In a new national report published August 29 by HCM Strategists, a Washington, D.C. public policy advocacy firm, Rio Salado is profiled along with more than 30 postsecondary institutions for its efforts to improve college completion rates and prepare students for successful careers.

Beating the Odds: What It Means and Why It’s Important, developed with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the result of a series of conversations with leaders from 32 postsecondary institutions about what colleges must do to help students – particularly low-income, minority and adult students – successfully earn a degree. Each of the colleges and universities featured in the report is considered a national model for their approaches to boost completion rates.

“The odds of a low-income American completing college haven’t changed in at least 20 years,” said Kristin Conklin, founding partner at HCM Strategists. “Rio Salado College is demonstrating how to beat those odds, ensure student success and help our economy recover. Today these campuses are the exception. The Beating the Odds report provides a blueprint for others to follow and help change the exception to the rule in postsecondary education.”

According to Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante, educators have an obligation to provide students with accessible solutions.

“With tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation and the best paying jobs requiring a college degree, specialized certification or licensure; we have a responsibility to find solutions that lower costs for students,” Bustamante said. “We need to innovate. We need new models of education to leverage public resources through private and public partnerships and increase the capacity to serve non-traditional students through productive and cost efficient means.”

Rio Salado College is one of the largest public online community colleges in the nation serving nearly 70,000 students annually. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students, and is the largest provider of Adult Basic Education in Arizona.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Author Laurie Notaro to Visit Rio Salado

Best-selling author Laurie Notaro brings her wit and humor to Rio Salado College on Friday, Oct. 14, from 7-9 p.m. Notaro will read from her latest book, “It Looked Different on the Model,” and will answer questions and sign books. The public is invited to join Rio’s creative writing students for this free event, which will be held in the Conference Center. Email if you would like to attend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Westwood Teacher Receives Excellence in Education Award

Congratulations to Dan Phan for being selected for September’s Excellence in Education award. Mr. Phan is a math teacher at Westwood High School in Mesa and was nominated because of his passion for math and his ability to inspire student to do their best. He is also the coach for the Academic Decathlon.

Anna Clermont, mother of two previous students of Mr. Phan and nominator for the award wrote, “My son was so inspired by Mr. Phan that he chose to major in Math at ASU. He is now a TA for 2 Calculus classes at ASU. My daughter was also inspired by Mr. Phan and, combined with her love for science and math, is now majoring in Chemical Engineering at ASU. We are proud to have had Mr. Phan teach our children and know that their lives were profoundly impacted by him.”

Excellence in Education is a partnership between Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9 FM, which recognizes Valley teachers. 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.

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 during the Beth and Friends Show. All winning teachers are rewarded with $99, an Excellence in Education Award, and a Rio Salado College gift bag.

To nominate a special teacher, please visit KEZ 99.9 keyword excellence.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Open Educational Resources Part One: Cost Free Digital Textbook

In 1978 Maricopa County Community College District Chancellor Paul Elsner recognized a need for a non-traditional approach to non-traditional students to make education accessible despite common obstacles such as distance, time and cost. 

When the Governing Board established Rio Salado College, they designed it to be responsive to advances in education technology and the quickly evolving workforce, not to mention changes in the dynamics of the American lifestyle. 

More than thirty-three years later, Rio Salado is still breaking down barriers to education.  The cost-free Early American Literature textbook project, initiated by Rio Salado College Instructional Designer Michael Medlock is a great example of Rio’s agility in implementing new ideas. 

Medlock said the idea came to him while attending a presentation on open educational resources. Because his Early American Literature course (ENH241) deals with works published prior to 1923, there is no copyright on any of the required readings. 

“All text selections are in the public domain and we also found a source through our library database for author biographies,” Medlock said. “Originally we were going to have faculty and adjunct faculty write the author bio’s, but we were able to use an existing resource by the Gale Research Company that’s already available for free to all Rio students.”

According to Medlock, the project went from concept to completion in record time, thanks to the passion of his team.

By using the Gale biography database instead of crowdsourcing the biographical content, Medlock was able to provide a more consistent experience to students while significantly reducing the amount of time needed to finish the project.

“I was thinking it would take 6 months to a year to complete,” said Medlock. “But it only took three months which includes several layers of review within the department.”

According to Medlock, Rio Salado Library Instructional Coordinator Kirstin Thomas and now retired Course Support Administrative Assistant Laura Buzin were key contributors to the project. 

“I was very happy with their enthusiasm,” Medlock said. “Kirstin handled the crucial task of creating permanent links to the Gale Biographies so that students could access them from within the RioLearn interface and Laura Buzin spent hours upon hours converting all of the hard copy materials to digital format.  Scanning, and in some cases, hand typing documents.”

English Department Faculty Chair Kathleen Dunley was also enthusiastic about the project.

“I was more than happy to support this project for our American Lit class. The open source textbook is an example of what can be done when educators break away from tradition and look for alternatives. I really think the willingness to learn a new process and the ability to then turn around and share what we’ve learned with the world is what makes this project so exciting."

Not only has the project allowed Rio Salado to eliminate the textbook cost for students in the ENH241 course, but by publishing the text in digital format under a creative commons license, it becomes publicly available to anyone who would like to use it.  Any other college could adapt the text to their own course and reduce costs for their students as well.

“Rio adds value by adding instruction and packaging the materials into an online course for college credit, but anyone in the world can access the text and use it free of charge,” Medlock said.

According to Associate Dean of Instruction Michael Cottam, the aim is not just to lower the cost of education for Rio students, but also to provide an educational service to the community. 

“It’s the primary purpose for which the community colleges and state universities were created. We’re here to educate people and to help them to reach their goals,” Cottam said. “There are cost barriers for our students, and if we can reduce the cost of going to school by knocking $100 off the price of the textbook, then we’re doing a service to the community."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Tradition of Serving Veterans

As our nation commemorated the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, many Americans remembered the patriotism that our nation experienced following those tragic events.

Darcy Breault, office coordinator at the East Valley Veterans Education Center which provides educational outreach and college advisement services to veterans and their family members, recalls how Americans reacted. “9/11 was the first time in my life that I saw true patriotism in the nation,” she said.

Breault views the attacks as an event that unified the nation and encouraged “a rise in military awareness.”

Gary Marabella and Chantele Carr
 Three-year army veteran Gary Marabella reflects on his military service as a “defining moment” in his life adding that “service to your country,” is the greatest honor that one can receive.
The nation experienced an increase in active military personnel with the declared war on terrorism. Many of the recruited servicemen voluntarily enlisted in order to aide their country in a time of need.

“The main reason so many have joined the military in recent years is to support their country after what happened on 9/11,” said Chantele Carr, coordinator of military advancement at Rio Salado College.

Carr said that 9/11 was a “monumental” event in American history and she believes that it has given veterans a connection to the war efforts and will continue to motivate men and women to join the armed forces against terrorism for years to come.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1.4 million people serve in the active Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, and more than 1 million serve in their Reserve components and the Air and Army National Guard. Rio Salado College serves nearly 2,600 active military service members and more than 2,500 veterans, representing all five service branches.

Marabella, who now works as a veteran affairs representative in Rio’s Veterans Affairs Office , continues to work with former soldiers to help facilitate an easy transition from military to civilian life.

“There are more veteran students now than we have ever seen,” he said, “Rio Salado’s online classes give students; both active soldiers and veterans, a flexible option for their education.”

Rio Salado recently made the 2012 list of military friendly schools which honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students. Educational support for military students and their families is provided through the Rio Salado College’s military partnerships, Veteran’s Affairs Office, and the East Valley Veterans Education Center .

“The online classes are a really good option and the resources are unbelievable,” said Tom Henry, a Rio student, who spent 18 months in Kuwait, and is active in the U.S. Army Reserve. “There are so many educational benefits available to military veterans. Rio Salado College and the EVVEC make the adjustment much smoother.”

The tragedies of 9/11 have taught loyalty and have inspired Americans to make great sacrifices. Breault reminds us that “9/11 showed us how fragile our freedom really is.”

With more military service and more educational benefits for veterans, Rio Salado College will continue to serve those who fight for our nation.


The East Valley Veterans Center provides educational support and workforce development resources to veterans. It is a collaboration between five of the Maricopa Community Colleges; Rio Salado (host institution), GateWay, Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler-Gilbert. Community partners for the center include the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Phoenix VA Regional Office and the Maricopa Workforce Connection.

Written by Jesse Woodbury, Office of Institutional Advancement

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rio Salado Earns Silver Rating for Sustainability

Rio Salado College’s commitment to sustainable practices is being recognized with a Silver rating by the national STARS program.

STARS stands for Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Reporting System. It is a nationwide program developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Colleges participating in STARS assess their efforts toward social, economic and environmental sustainability.

“We are one of only 88 colleges and universities from across the country to achieve a STARS silver rating or better, placing Rio Salado College in the forefront of sustainability in higher education,” said Todd Simmons, Vice President for Administrative Services at Rio Salado College.

After completing and submitting self-assessments, colleges that participate in the program earn STARS credits in four categories: Education and Research, Operations, Planning and Administration, and Innovation.

Credits are earned for a variety of sustainability initiatives, including everything from sustainability course offerings, to energy efficiency, building maintenance, indoor air quality, LED lighting, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2009, Rio Salado College won the America’s Greenest Campus contest for having the smallest carbon footprint among the 500 contest entrants. Rio Salado’s official carbon footprint, as documented for the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, is .84 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually per full-time student.

“Sustainability is a core value of Rio Salado College and we are unalterably committed to demonstrating, assessing and being accountable for this value,” Simmons said.

In August 2010, Rio Salado College became one of only two Maricopa County Community Colleges to join as a charter member of the STARS program.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cafe @ Rio Supports the Locavore Movement

lo·ca·vore \ˈlō-kə-ˌvȯr\: one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.
In November 2007 the New Oxford American Dictionary announced locavore as the word of the year. Since the word’s creation by local food activist and chef, Jessica Prentice of San Francisco, many people have accepted the challenge to eat only locally grown food whenever possible.
Chef Michael Hodgins does his part to support the locavore movement by incorporating only the freshest ingredients into the Café @ Rio menu, and according to Hodgins the best way to find the freshest food is to buy local.
“The first place I look for fresh food is at the farmers markets; I personally talk to each farmer and ask to visit their farms to see if it meets high standards,” said Hodgins. “Anything from a local farm or garden is the best, because as soon as produce is picked, it begins to deteriorate and loose nutritional value.”
Locavores, like Hodgins, buy from local producers so that money spent will circulate in the local economy, but the benefits of buying locally extends beyond the financial. The closer the food, the fewer miles it has to travel, generally resulting in greater freshness and a lower carbon footprint.
“Less distance between you and the farmer the fresher,” Hodgins said. “Eating locally not only keeps the money local but can reduce wasted energy on food miles.”
According to some of the Cafe @ Rio’s vendors, a locavore lifestyle can have a significant impact on the consumer, the community and the environment.
·         “The benefits of buying locally is that the money stays here and it's is harvested for the consumer to order. Fresh !” – Michael, Love Grows Farms
·         “Buying local means buying the freshest meat possible. The pork we sell at The MEAT SHOP leaves the farm on Monday and is processed and ready to serve to the consumer on Tuesday, unlike meat that takes up to six months to reach the consumer.”  –Beth, The Meat Shop
·         “Buying locally helps keep available farmland land farmable.  Once farmland has an office building on top of it, it's unlikely that it will become farmland again.  Buying locally supports the farmers and keeps the farmland alive.” – Jennifer Woods, Crooked Sky Farms
·         “The benefits of growing locally allow the local consumers to purchase fresher, tastier food from people they know.  The consumer benefits by not having to pay for long distance transportation fees and have the added benefit of helping to reduce environmental impacts while supporting their community.” – Deborah Walliser, Solsustech Inc.
Surprisingly, Hodgins admits he was not always a locavore. It took years as a chef to realize the benefits of going local.
“I used to think a good chef was one who could get anything in any season, creating a menu, and then finding the food,” said Hodgins. “Yet when I lived in the bay area I saw this culture of local produce and famers markets and it was there that I realized I needed to do the same here. I have been trying to serve local food for 7 years. Now, I see what is available locally, and then I make my menu.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

College Receives Military Friendly School Recognition

Rio Salado College has been recognized for the third consecutive year as a 2012 Military Friendly School from G.I. Jobs, the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The 2012 recognition honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the nation for their dedication to providing military service members and veterans with a quality education.

“We value the contribution that so many have made for our country,” said Rachelle Clarke, associate dean at Rio Salado College. “It is an honor for Rio Salado College to be recognized for the support it provides to active military personnel, veterans and their families.”

This designation confirms Rio Salado’s status as a quality school for veterans to attend. The recommendation was bolstered this year as student veterans from Rio and across the nation participated in the survey for the first time. Their feedback strengthens the selection process and gives prospective military students insight into the student experience at specific institutions.

Michael Dakduk, executive director for the Student Veterans of America agrees. “The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the right overall experience. Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”

Nearly 2,600 active military service members and more than 2,500 veterans, representing all five service branches, are enrolled at Rio Salado. Educational support for military students and their families is provided through the college’s military partnerships, Veteran’s Affairs Office, and the East Valley Veterans Education Center (EVVEC).

“Rio’s military partnerships and online format helps deployed service members continue with their education,” said Clarke. “Our Veteran’s Affairs Office and the East Valley Veterans Education Center help service members and veterans navigate benefits and transition to civilian life.”

The EVVEC also provides workforce development resources to veterans. Rio is the host institution for the center, a collaboration between five of the Maricopa Community Colleges; Rio Salado, GateWay, Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler-Gilbert. Community partners for the center include the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Phoenix VA Regional Office and the Maricopa Workforce Connection.

“Our center is a one-stop shop,” said Manrico Lollie, coordinator for the EVVEC. “Our services range from helping veterans with the college enrollment process to employment helps, such as interview skills and resume writing.”

The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools ® was compiled through extensive research and a data driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board consisting of educators from schools across the country.

A complete article and detailed list of Military Friendly Schools ® will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools and on a poster, both of which will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in early October. The website, features the list, interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans with their school decisions.

Rio Salado College is one of the largest public online community colleges in the nation serving nearly 70,000 students annually. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students, and is the largest provider of Adult Basic Education in Arizona.

The Maricopa Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in the nation and serves more than 250,000 students annually. 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.
Military Friendly Schools

G.I. Jobs is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business which also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation’s “Military Friendly Employers,” “Military Spouse Friendly Employers” and “Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses.

Media Contact:
Delynn Bodine, PR Manager
480.517.8205 (w)
480.215.9456 ©


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Educational Partnership Offers Employee Growth, Workforce Development

Photo credit: courtesy city of Tempe

Recruiting the best and brightest is only half of the story when it comes to maintaining a high quality workforce.  Retention and employee development is the other half.  That is why the city of Tempe works with Rio Salado College to provide employees with continuing education and career growth opportunities.

“Employee development is an important component in building workforce capability and succession planning,” said City of Tempe Organizational Development Administrator Gretchen Maynard. “However, most development options have become too high-priced to realistically sustain. Rio Salado provides high quality education at a reasonable cost as it relates to a direct return on investment.”

According to Susan Lawrence, director of corporate and government programs at Rio Salado College, employees who choose to participate in the cohort are automatically registered for classes, and textbooks are delivered prior to the class start date.

“We have also set up a third party billing with the city of Tempe, so basically the student can focus completely on successfully completing each course,” said Lawrence.

Jeffrey Tsang is one of 24 students currently participating in the Tempe cohort and is one class away from graduating.

"The whole process has been very rewarding," Tsang said. "The staff has been very helpful and knowledgeable. The online class formats have been very intuitive and accommodating to my educational and working needs. I had been out of school for three years prior and have been hesitant to get back in, but continuing my education has easily been the best decision I have ever made."

The city has been encouraging life-long learning through educational partnerships since the late ‘90s and has more recently expanded its offerings to include bachelor’s and post-baccalaureate degree courses.

“Our very first educational partnership was an Associate of Arts degree cohort with Rio Salado,” said Maynard. “Several employees from our original Rio Salado associate degree cohort went on to receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the city’s educational partnership cohorts.”

By supporting continued education and training, the city is developing a workforce that is well equipped to serve their customers.

“The feedback that we receive from our students suggests that the knowledge and skills gained from course work directly applies to their jobs at the city," Maynard said.  "Students report that they are applying what is learned into their everyday work performance, which directly and positively affects customer satisfaction."

According to Maynard employee satisfaction is another benefit of the program. "Students are motivated because they are expanding their knowledge and, in doing so, building their professional portfolios," Maynard said.

The long standing relationship between the online community college and the city allows employees to participate regardless of their work schedule.

“The primary benefit I have seen has been the flexibility of when and where I choose to do my work. It is so much easier for me to fit my class work into my already full schedule of work, teaching and my personal life,” said Dylan Fitzpatrick who is one of 24 city employees participating in the program.  “It is also a benefit for me to be able to work on things at my own pace.  If I understand something well, I can shoot ahead to the next lesson without having to wait for everyone to catch up or review. If I do not understand something, I can review it as much as I need to before I move on.”

According to Maynard, the ability to offer flexible options that would meet the needs of shift workers played a large role in the city’s choice of educational partner.

“Cost, accreditation and a track record of success with educational partnerships (particularly with government agencies) are always important. Instructor qualifications related to work and teaching in the public sector and facilitating the needs of adult re-entry students is another important factor,” Maynard said.

“However,” she added, “this was Tempe’s first attempt at using the online, distance learning format. Our traditional, classroom cohorts proved highly successful for many employees, but course schedules were unavailable to a large segment of our employees with evening or transitional work shifts. Rio Salado’s on-line programming makes gaining a degree while working a full schedule much more convenient for our workforce.”

Rio Salado College's employee development partnerships are available to almost any corporate or government agency.

"If a company or government agency has enough people interested in classes we can offer on-site classes, whether it is a single class or an entire degree program.  We can also organize an online cohort.  Rio Salado College is accredited and we have many articulation agreements with other Universities, local or national," Lawrence said.

According to Lawrence, Rio offers several services to help employers meet the needs of both their employees and their customers.

"We offer non-credit management and supervisor training on-site at the client’s location.  This training can be customized to fit the organization, and we can also provide non-credit conversational Spanish classes for general employee training," Lawrence said.

Because Rio Salado specializes in distance learning, employee development partnerships are not restricted by geographic location.

"We are not limited to local entities," Lawrence said. "We have several national partnerships for both college credit and non-credit training."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rio Salado Celebrates Outstanding Adjunct Faculty

Rio Salado College honored 30 adjunct faculty members at the 2010-11 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty awards reception on August 31st. College administrators joined faculty in recognizing the contributions of the adjunct faculty members and their dedication to teaching.

“Rio’s adjunct faculty fill a critical role in student success,” said Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College president, addressing the honorees. “In addition to upholding high academic standards, your excellence is demonstrated by your value-added approach to your teaching disciplines.”

Honoree Rosalyn McDermott noted, “I like being part of the community college system. I believe it is a stepping stone to the future for many of our students.”

And honoree Kyle Gray credits his own life experiences for his teaching success. “I was an adult learner too, so I know what the students are going through.”

2010-11 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Winners

Outstanding Contributions to Assessment of Student Learning
Janet Beason, Education; Maxine Brown, Education; Susan Burger, Humanities; Louis Kelly, Computer Information Systems; Alexia Shonteff, Economics.

Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning
Angela Au, Business; Francine Campagna, Humanities; Diana Durand, Anthropology; Maureen Erickson, Early Childhood & Human Development; Karen Faith, Geography; Stephen Flora, Geology; Diane Gates, Chemical Dependency; Carol Gray, Communication; Kyle Gray, Allied Health; Stephen Hayward, Psychology; Michael Helminski, Education; Scott Hillstrom, E-Learning Design; Patrick Kolb, Biology; Daniel Lawrence, Mathematics; Kathleen LaVoy, Dental Hygiene; Rosalyn McDermott, Psychology; Janice “Cat” McDonald, Counseling/Personal Development; Byron Minick, Computer Information Systems; Michael Newberry, Astronomy; Mary Beth Nipp, English; Maureen Ruangchamneil, Credit Services Industry; Nadine Salahub, Languages; Dawn Schmidt, History; Nicole Weston, Biology; Kevin Willis, Mathematics.