Friday, January 27, 2012

Small Business Start-ups Aid Economic Recovery

Written by Otis White
Business and Management faculty chair at Rio Salado College

Otis White

During National Small Business Week last May, Brian Morris, a leading small business and entrepreneurship blogger reported that there were more than 27 million small businesses in the U.S. He also reported that between 60 and 80 percent of all new jobs, depending on the industry sector, would be created by small and medium sized businesses that will hopefully startup operation after the recession is over. Well, it is after the recession and the country is looking for those new businesses.

What worries researchers and small business advocates is that the nation’s confidence in starting a business is actually slipping to lows not seen in years, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Many blame the housing crash as home equity is a major source of funding for new businesses. Bank lending for new business is at an all-time low and venture capital sources are becoming more and more selective.

In Arizona, statistics show that small business drives 26.1 billion in payroll or 28.8 percent of the state’s total payroll. In the United States more than 30 percent of all payroll ($1.5 trillion) and 21 percent of all business revenue ($7.8 trillion) is driven by small and medium sized business. We cannot afford to lose the will and drive to create new business ventures and there has never been a better time to do so.

A recent Intuit report ranks the U.S. as the fourth lowest in start-up costs of the eight leading economic opportunity countries in the world, and third in ease of operation. It costs less to begin a business today than it has over the past 15 years and the ability for anyone to start a business has never been easier from a regulatory and operations point of view. In addition, the time could not be better with the expanding “buy local” movement that is spreading across the country.

It is entrepreneurship and risk taking as said by economist Joseph Schumpeter, “which creates the new and vibrant economy out of the ashes of the cold stagnant one.” Our nation has lots of ashes
All successful companies began with an idea. For those who have ideas and are interested in starting a new business the possibilities are endless and might even be able to help sweep up some of the ashes. Here’s to a growing and prosperous 2012. Let’s start something.

Supporting the Entrepreneur Process
• Frequent local businesses who are shouldering risk. Revenue which flows through local businesses expands payrolls, creates jobs and strengthens the fundamental base of consumers which is the bedrock of our economy.

• Make small business growth a legislative imperative. Support candidates who favor small business growth in all state-wide elections and make it a requirement for that support.

• Encourage high schools, community colleges and universities to take the leading role in supporting startups and growth companies from all business sectors and infuse curriculums with entrepreneurship content across all disciplines.

• Fund education supporting entrepreneurship and small business creation and the free enterprise system by making courses and resources abundantly available to all citizens whether young or old, at low or no cost.

This article appeared in the Tempe Republic, Jan. 25, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tempe Teacher Receives Excellence in Education Recognition

Congratulations to Jennifer Laurence of Tempe High School for receiving January’s Excellence in Education Award! She was nominated by parent Rhonda Laird who said that although Mrs. Laurence is confined to a wheelchair because of Multiple Sclerosis, “it does not stop her from dealing with the most challenging of students. She conducts her daily life as if she has no disability at all and so the students follow her lead.”

“Mrs. Laurence is always positive and expects the best from herself and her students,” Laird said. “She fiercely defends students with disabilities and models how to stand up for yourself.  She keeps in touch weekly with the parents of each of her students so everybody knows what's going on. Many times she has said that the children are her reason for getting up each day.  She is a remarkable person and terrific teacher.”

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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rio Salado College President to Serve on ACE Commission on Lifelong Learning

Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante has been nominated to serve on the American Council on Education's Commission on Lifelong Learning.

Serving on the ACE commission in support of the Center for Lifelong Learning will afford Dr. Bustamante an opportunity to provide leadership to the council and the higher education community on topics such as institutional effectiveness, student success, access and lifelong learning. He will serve for three years beginning in April.

"The CLLL has been driving the national conversation on adult learning programs since vets returned from World War II,” Bustamante said. "As an advocate for accessible education, I am grateful to have this opportunity to serve."

The Center for Lifelong Learning's initiatives include the Military Evaluations Program which sets a foundation for allowing military training to be converted to college credit as well as the College Credit Recommendation Service which provides course equivalency information to help non-traditional students gain access to academic credit for the formal training they may have received in the workplace.


Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and was recognized as the fastest growing public two-year college in the nation by Community College Times.  Founded in 1978, Rio Salado serves the largest online enrollments nationwide with more than 600 online courses and 60 degree or certificate programs. It is also Arizona's largest provider of adult basic education.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Electronic 1098-T Forms Now Available

Electronic 1098-T Forms are now available online through the Maricopa County Community College District. Students can download the form by visiting and clicking the link on the right-hand side of the page.

Commonly referred to as the Tuition Payment Statement, the 1098-T can help Rio Salado College students determine if they are eligible to claim education related tax credits such as the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Those who prefer to receive a physical 1098-T should NOT download the electronic version. Hard copies will be mailed to the permanent address listed in the student record on or before January 31. Students who choose to download their 1098-T will NOT receive the physical document by mail, but may return to the website at any time to print additional copies.

Rio Salado students who would like more information on the 1098-T tax form are encouraged to visit the MCCCD 1098-T FAQ page, email the MCCCD Reporting Department at, or call (480) 731-8700.

Additional information on education related tax benefits:
  • (type 1098-T in the search box)
Links are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered an endorsement of any product or organization by Rio Salado College.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rio Receives CHEA Award

Rio Salado College was recently selected as one of three institutions to receive the 2012 Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes. The award recognizes Rio Salado’s focus on increasing the number of adult learners who find success in higher education.

"Rio has a strong commitment to innovation that improves institutional effectiveness, student access and student success," said Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College president. "We are proud of the impact we have made in strengthening those areas and it is an honor to be recognized for it.”

In collaboration with the Transparency by Design initiative and the Higher Learning Commission’s Assessment Academy, Rio built a comprehensive process for the evaluation and improvement of its education products. The process, referred to as the Plan, Do, Check, Act, cycle; measures student learning outcomes, completion data and program reviews to monitor and maintain high quality, successful learning systems.

The CHEA award committee, comprised of leaders in education advocacy and accreditation, also recognized the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California, Merced.

“The award committee was strongly impressed with the strength and creativity of the work of these institutions. They provide excellent examples of effective approaches to the use of student learning outcomes,” said CHEA President Judith Eaton.

The award will be presented at the 2012 CHEA Annual Conference January 24 in Washington DC.

A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of approximately 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 41,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education classes for university transfer. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students, and is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rio Salado Student Co-Authors Book on Phoenix

Remember when downtown Phoenix was a place where strollers and walkers would delight in sauntering about and enjoying the promenade? Me neither. But at one time, the desert capital was apparently a pedestrian paradise.

That’s what a Rio Salado College student discovered while researching his new book, “Downtown Phoenix.”

“I was surprised to learn just how many cars were in Phoenix by the late 1920s,” said J. Seth Anderson, Rio Salado student and co-author of the newly published “Downtown Phoenix.”

“But in those days, downtown was built for pedestrians, not cars,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t until much later that city leaders began to gut the downtown core of its history and character to erect towers and parking lots.”

Anderson spent time researching the book at local libraries and archives, interviewing long-time residents and reviewing historical newspaper collections.

“Seeing so many amazing images of a truly dense, walkable, economically vibrant city was heartbreaking,” Anderson said. “If even half of those old buildings were still standing, downtown Phoenix would be unrecognizable today.”

The book is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, which aims to chronicle the history of downtowns and small towns across the country.

Anderson came to be involved in the “Downtown Phoenix” project after taking an interest in local historic preservation efforts and downtown development.

“In 2006, I had my eyes opened to the character and potential of downtown Phoenix and the incredible diversity of talent and ideas that exists downtown,” Anderson said. “I live downtown. I never leave downtown. I love downtown!”

As a writer and lover of all things downtown, working on the book represented a happy marriage of Anderson’s talents and passions.

“I’ve been a writer since I was a little kid, so I’m always looking for opportunities to be challenged, to sharpen my skills, share my work and listen to feedback,” Anderson said.

Those are also the reasons why Anderson decided to take classes at Rio Salado.

“The creative writing program piqued my interest,” Anderson said. “I needed some structure and accountability and wanted to have weekly assignments that challenged me.”

Anderson clearly thrives by being challenged. In addition to balancing school and his personal life, Anderson works in asset management for an ocean shipping line and manages a fleet of chassis trailers and cargo containers.

“It’s a lot of work and requires attention to detail and lots of planning,” Anderson said. “I rarely have free time.”

But when he does have free time, Anderson likes to write “anywhere quiet and with minimal distractions.”

“I’m old fashioned in that I still write by hand, with a pen, in a notebook,” Anderson said. “Writing that way is more romantic and I feel more connected to what I’m doing than when I write on a computer.”

-By Mira Radovich

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: Making College a Reality with Online Classes

A new year brings the promise of new opportunities. It is a time to reflect on unfulfilled dreams and make plans for a better future. In 2011, Rio Salado College helped nearly 70,000 students work toward their educational goals with more than 43,000 taking online classes.

More and more college students are taking advantage of the flexibility of online classes. They can study where and when they want at a time that is convenient for them. According to a recent report, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, nearly one in three college students take at least one online course.

For adults who have to balance the responsibilities of work and family, online classes provide a way to earn a college degree or certificate.

“Rio has the flexibility that students need to complete their academic goals,” said Kishia Brock, vice president of student affairs. “Our online classes help busy adults fit college into their schedule. We never cancel an online class and have 48 times a year that students can begin a degree or certificate program, which means students can begin when they are ready to.”

Earning a college degree or certificate can lead to career and professional success. Rio has nearly 650 online classes to choose from. Rio student Jennifer Papworth is working toward a degree in public administration. She always thought that she would go to college when her children were in school.

“I chose Rio because I still had one child at home and wouldn’t have to pay for childcare,” Papworth said. “Online classes fit into my schedule and meant that I didn’t have to spend time away from my husband and kids.”

The college has a wide variety of student services tailored to online students.

“We want our students to succeed and provide comprehensive student support services to help them along the way,” Brock said. “Academic advising, career counseling and tutoring are available. Students also have round-the-clock access to virtual library services and instructional and technology help desks.”

Papworth said that the key to being a successful online student is the same as being a traditional student, “Plan your time wisely, keep your mind open and enjoy the learning experience.”
Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation and was recognized as the fastest growing public two-year college in the nation by Community College Times. 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.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Financial Aid Book Advance Update

A unique timing issue has occurred with Rio Salado College and Maricopa County Community College District's financial aid book advances that may affect students with a Jan. 9, 2012 course start date.

Book advances for the Jan. 9 start date were delayed due to an unforeseeable complication with the automated transfer of funds to Citi Prepaid Service. The problem was resolved as of Jan. 4. 

Students with Citi-issued debit cards can expect funds to be loaded to their cards today, January 5 and   direct deposit disbursements will begin Friday, Jan. 6.  According to Citi, direct deposit funds should be available for use within 2-3 business days.

Rio Salado Associate Dean of Financial Aid Ryan Chase said the issue should not affect any other start dates and steps have been taken to reduce the impact on students. “Rio Salado faculty members have been made aware that some students may not have course materials available on the first day of class,” Chase said.

The book advance initiative was introduced on all ten MCCCD campuses during the fall 2011 semester and exceeds federal financial aid requirements for making funds available to students for books and supplies. Additional information on the book advance program - including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and disbursement schedules - can be found on the Rio Salado College website

Monday, January 2, 2012

Volunteer Thespians Perform Shakespeare's 'Measure for Measure' on Sun Sounds of Arizona

In the 1940’s Americans gathered around their radios for family entertainment. Then the visually-stimulating television era came along, relegating once-popular radio dramas to the closets and hard drives of specialty collectors—with one exception: our nationwide community of people with visual impairments.

On January 7, Sun Sounds of Arizona, a radio service for the visually impaired, will present its newest Radio Theater selection, Shakespeare’s "Measure for Measure,"produced entirely by a volunteer cast and crew and directed by Valley theater critic M.V. Moorhead.

Director M.V. Moorhead
leads cast of "Measure for Measure."
"I’ve loved this play for years," says Moorhead, who directed a full production of it at Southwest Shakespeare Company in 2000. Several cast members from that production have reprised their roles for this hour-long Sun Sounds Radio Theater version.
 Director Moorhead is no stranger to Sun Sounds Radio Theater, this being his sixth directorial production for the radio reading service. Except for the narration, this production was recorded in a three-hour session in late August at the Sun Sounds studios in Tempe. In many cases the actors were cold-reading—for instance, veteran actor Tom Blackwood learned that he would be playing the lead role of the Duke that afternoon. "Due to skill both of the cast and the deft and patient engineers, our "guerilla radio theatre" production managed to come together," says Moorhead. 

While classed as one of Shakespeare’s comedies, Measure for Measure concerns a high government official who attempts to extort sexual favors from a young woman, in return for which, he says, he will spare the woman’s brother from execution—certainly a dramatic and gripping premise, but hardly the sort of plot usually associated with comedy.

The cast and crew of Sun Sounds Radio Theater’s Measure for Measure includes Jenn Banda (Isabella), Ezra Bemis (Servant), Tom Blackwood (Duke Vincentio), Meriam Conyers (Sister Francesca), David Gofstein (Escalus/The Provost), Owen Kerr (Lucio/Friar Peter/Messenger), Douglas Loynd (Pompey/Claudio), Grace Moorhead (Julietta), M.V. Moorhead (Angelo/Narration), Julie Peterson (Mistress Overdone), Susan St. John (Mariana) and volunteer engineers Mike McFadden and Roy Weinberg.

"Measure for Measure" will broadcast at 8 p.m. For those who would like to tune in, visit for online access.

Sun Sounds of Arizona is a radio reading and information access service for people who cannot read print due to a disability. A public service of Rio Salado College, Sun Sounds and 500 volunteers across the state provide information access free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using radio, cable TV systems, telephone and the internet. To apply for service, donate, or volunteer, see