Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Library Services Save the Day (and Night!)

Starting a research assignment can be intimidating. Formulating search strategies and finding relevant, reliable sources for a paper or other project can seem overwhelming to students who have never done it before.

Rio Salado College and the Maricopa County Community College District libraries offer several services to help students navigate the library systems, find information and properly cite sources. 

Ask a Librarian
The Ask a Librarian services provide students with 24 hour access to a live librarian who can answer questions about online and in-person research tools, provide links to additional information and direct students to the proper resources.
"Rio students don't always have a traditional schedule, so they love that there is a librarian on call 24/7," said Karen Docherty, Rio Salado College librarian. "The chat service is designed to be convenient and easy to use. It doesn't matter if it's six in the morning before they go to work or 11 at night after they get the kids to bed. All that's needed is a computer and Internet access to connect to the service and start chatting with a librarian."

Txt a Librarian
Students can also contact a librarian by SMS text message. The Txt a Librarian service uses a secure third party program to anonymously connect users with a Maricopa district librarian. When a student texts "RioLib" to 66746, their phone number is converted to a Rio Salado user ID that lets the librarian respond without viewing any personal information.

"Respecting the student's privacy is really important to us," said Rio Salado Librarian Janelle Underhill. "We want students to use these services with confidence. We want them to know that we aren't collecting phone numbers or anything like that. Our only goal is to help students find the information they need."

Online Writing Lab (OWL)
In addition to 24-hour research assistance, Rio Salado students can also take advantage of the library's online writing lab

OWL provides students with a wealth of information, tips and tricks to help them write at a college level. The "Writing Rubric" section covers basic elements such as sentence structure, organization and content. Other sections like "General Writing" and "Critical Thinking" cover topics such as evaluating and citing sources, paraphrasing and quoting, as well as more advanced topics like analysis, inference, and reasoning. 

How Do I? Video Series
There are also quite a few video tutorials available in the "How Do I...?" section of the Rio Salado College Library web pages. The tutorials cover everything from basics like logging in or accessing an e-book to using library databases.

"The tutorial videos are a great tool to help students who prefer to do things independently," Underhill said. "They walk the viewer step by step through each process. They're very easy to follow."

In-Class Visits
Many course instructors invite Rio Salado librarians to visit their classes and teach students how to formulate search strategies and to use library databases to find relevant and reliable journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, books, and media (such as images and streaming films).

District Library Services
All MCCCD libraries offer free in-person, phone, Txt a Librarian and Preg├║ntele al Bibliotecario (Chat en Espa├▒ol) services. These services are available to MCCCD students, faculty and staff. To get help from a librarian now, visit

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rio Students Place on All-Arizona Academic Team

Rio Salado College students Jennifer Papworth and Amanda Carrero were among 69 community college students from across the state who were recently recognized as members of the All-Arizona Academic Team. The students were honored, Feb. 22 at the 17th annual All-Arizona Team Celebration banquet held at the Phoenix East Mesa Hilton.
 The All-Arizona Academic Team is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges. Team members are ranked on first, second and third place teams based on academic performance, extracurricular activities and written responses to several essay questions.
Jennifer Papworth
First team students receive a $1,000 cash award, with students on the second and third team receiving $750 and $500 respectively. All team members also receive a tuition waiver at any one of Arizona’s state universities.

 First team member Jennifer Papworth is studying public administration at Rio Salado. She managed to balance her studies with the responsibilities of raising her three boys, while still maintaining a 3.86 GPA.

“I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to finish my bachelor’s degree. When I found out that I had been selected, I felt relief, excitement and pride,” said Papworth.

Papworth is a fourth generation Arizonan and attended ShowLow High School. She has been involved in many college and community activities including: the Student Public Policy Forum, La Leche League and the Avondale Elementary School District Governing Board, where she served as a board member. She is currently a government relations intern for the Maricopa Community College District, and has received numerous college honors including: a Pfister Family Scholarship, a Women’s Philanthropy Circle Scholarship and a scholarship from Phi Theta Kappa.
Amanda Carrero

Amanda Carrero is a member of the second team. She is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in computer technology with a GPA of 4.0. She has three children, including twin daughters.

Carrero, who plans on transferring to ASU said, “This is especially great news since ASU has an online web development Bachelor’s degree, I won’t have to pay for childcare.”

Carrero has been involved in Phi Theta Kappa as the chapter secretary and recording officer. She is an active church volunteer and a volunteer member of the Arizona Modified Motorcycle Association. Carrero is a recipient of the Foundation Scholarship, and is on the President’s Honors List.

 “This award means that I will be able to continue my education and provide for my kids, it means that not only will it give me the financial ability to continue, but it will also give me the confidence that I’ve done good work, and I can show my kids that hard work and dedication pay off.”

As a member of the All Arizona First Team, Papworth will be eligible to compete for placement on the All-USA Academic Team sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, USA Today and the American Association of Community Colleges. Members of the national team will be announced later this spring.

Friday, February 24, 2012

KJZZ and Rio Salado to Host AZ SciTech Forum

Imagine a medical treatment uniquely designed for your body. Science fiction or fact? Valley residents will have a chance to examine the potential of Personalized Medicine during an ARIZONA SCITECH forum presented by KJZZ and Rio Salado College from 7-9 p.m., March 8 at the Conference Center @ Rio.

The conversation will focus on the latest developments in custom treatments, followed by an examination of how this new medical model can affect your wellness and the Valley’s health and science-related industries.  

KJZZ’s Associate General Manager of News and Editorial Strategy, Mark Moran, will serve as the forum moderator. Joining Moran will be a panel of experts including TGen Clinical Professor Dr. Michael Demeure, TGen Researcher Dr. Darin Taverna, and Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Attendees can help focus the dialogue by sending comments and questions in advance to KJZZ Public Insight Journalist, Nick Blumberg, at (480) 774-8231 or
Space is limited; please contact Claire Kerrigan at (480) 774-8444 or for reservations. The Conference Center @ Rio is located at 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281. Parking is available in the adjacent garage to the west and in the east side parking lot. Desserts and coffee will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m.

This forum is one of 200-plus ARIZONA SCITECH events held in Arizona during February and March. In-kind production support is made possible in part by the Arizona Science Center.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station that is licensed to the Maricopa Community Colleges District. It is as a community service of Rio Salado Colleges Division of Public Service, which also includes KBAQ 89.5, Sun Sounds of Arizona and MCTV. KJZZ features a mix of local and NPR news, entertainment, jazz
and blues—serving more than 306,000 weekly listeners. For more information, visit

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 43,000 online. 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.


Annette Flores, KJZZ Public Relations Coordinator
(480) 774-8459


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black History Celebration at Rio

The sound of African Djembe drums were heard echoing throughout the halls of the conference center at Rio Salado College today.

The drums, dancing and storytelling were all part of the West Africa Cultural Origins and Preservation event featuring Sule Greg Wilson and Debra Glasper.
“Black history and African-American history have so much cultural significance. Many don’t realize its importance in American history,” said Greg Wilson, who demonstrated his unique drumming talent in front of dozens of attendees.

“People forget that even modern rock and roll has rhythmic roots in African-American music and culture. It is so important that every American remembers where they came from,” said Greg Wilson.

Greg Wilson came to the event dressed in traditional African attire prepared to share stories about African music and culture. At one point he had the entire audience sing with him “Funga Alafia,” a traditional West-African welcome chant.

Co-host Debra Glasper was happy to stand in front of the audience and show off her dance moves. The retired college counselor wisked around the room searching for volunteers to help with the rhythm and percussion.

Glasper, who is originally from Chicago, first heard African dance music at a high school assembly. “It’s been 25 years and I am still in love with African music and dancing. It’s my culture, and it’s such a big part of who I am,” she said.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There’s No Place Like SPOT

Written by Annette Flores, KJZZ Public Relations Representative

The Valley’s public radio station KJZZ 91.5 is collaborating with Rio Salado College to launch a new after-school program to train and mentor the next generation of public broadcasters. It’s called SPOT—that’s Internet code for “home.”

For the sake of space, and to coin the first of what will likely become several incarnations the youth media students will come up with, KJZZ is calling the center SPOT 127 for short.

SPOT 127 will be located at 3701 W. Thomas Ave. in Phoenix in an existing building made available through Rio’s partnership with the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD). The 7,430 square-foot center is already wired for digital interfaces and plenty of space for students to work on and showcase their multi-media productions.

Rio faculty and staff will provide curriculum development support to help train students in all aspects of digital media production and PUHSD may assist in identifying students for the program.

“SPOT 127 demonstrates Rio’s commitment to community development,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College President. “This collaboration is an example of how we are redefining the educational model to meet the unique needs of non-traditional students in communities where they live.”

“The goal of SPOT 127 is to engage youth with tools that are likely to be of interest to them,” said Lou Stanley, KJZZ Associate General Manager. “Ultimately, we want to develop a continuous pathway for young people to pursue higher educational opportunities and to understand the benefits of life-long learning.”

To enroll in the program, students are required to have or be working toward attaining a high school diploma or GED certificate, and they must commit to SPOT 127 requirements.

An important component of SPOT 127 is the Food Journalism curriculum. Adjacent to SPOT 127 is Rio’s adult basic education center, which will include a brand new kitchen equipped with state-of-the art appliances. Rio will use the kitchen to teach sustainable food practices, while SPOT 127 students and staff use the kitchen to learn how to make healthy food choices. The students will also learn techniques on how to produce cooking show demonstrations—providing a means for students to nurture their bodies while they develop critical thinking skills.

SPOT 127 is scheduled to open its doors this spring and work with up to 60 students ages 14-24. For more back-story, visit or click here to see a short video about the inititagive. For additional details about the program, grand opening and ways to get involved, contact Lou Stanley at 480-774-8448,

Additional support for SPOT 127 is made possible in part by the Carstens Family Fund, Friends of Public Radio Arizona, Electrolux, FITCH, Schulz Charitable Foundation, US Bank, Alliance Bank, AVNET, Boeing Employees and the Phoenix Union High School District.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station licensed to the Maricopa Community College District. It is a community service of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, featuring a mix of local, national and international news, jazz and blues — serving more than 306,000 weekly listeners.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Plagiarism Detection System Earns Performance Excellence Award

The Arizona Quality Alliance presented Rio Salado College with a 2011 Showcase in Excellence award during the Performance Excellence Awards Banquet held February 7 at the Chaparral Suites resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The award was given to Rio Salado for its Peer-to-Peer plagiarism detection system, an innovative process implemented by the college to preserve academic integrity and reinforce ethical behavior and self-reliance in students.

AQA Performance Excellence Awards recognize institutional processes that demonstrate an organization's exceptional leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, analysis, workforce focus or operational focus.

“Participating in the AQA Showcase Award process was invaluable in promoting quality assurance and relentless improvement, which are an integral part of the Rio Salado culture," said Dr. Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College president.  "As a result of our participation, the college was able to make our Peer-to-Peer Plagiarism Detection Process even more efficient to fortify academic integrity and better serve our students and the community.”

The Peer-to-Peer process is designed to identify and report work that may have been copied from an external source or submitted by multiple students and then notify faculty for follow up.

In-house development of the plagiarism detection system means no licensing or service costs and Rio can update the process at any time without relying on a third-party vendor.

"Being able to make adjustments on the fly without worrying about licensing hang ups or service costs is a huge benefit of in-house development,” said Rio Salado Strategic Systems Coordinator Dan Huston. “It's programs like this that give Rio the agility to stay ahead of the game."

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 Arizona Quality Alliance is an Alliance of Organizations that Promotes and Recognizes Performance Excellence through the Arizona Performance Excellence Award Program, Feedback for Improvement, Professional Development Workshops, Benchmarking Tours, Networking Opportunities, Training to Assess and Evaluate Organizations, and Mentoring

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rio Students Save with MCCCD-NAU Connection

The MCCCD-NAU Connection is a partnership formed to support quality undergraduate education offered by Northern Arizona University and Maricopa County Community College District colleges like Rio Salado.

The partnership is coordinated through the MCCCD Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation and allows Rio Salado College students to transfer up to 90 community college credit hours toward a four-year degree from NAU.

“Students can be intimidated by the thought of getting a four-year degree,” said David Hall, director of advisement services at Rio Salado College. “They think it will be too expensive or that it will take too much time. That’s why creative partnerships like the NAU Connection are so important.”

“Students can work with a community college advisor and an NAU advisor simultaneously and develop a clear pathway to completing both the associate and then the bachelor’s degree, saving both time and money,” Hall said.

After completing an associate degree from Rio Salado and up to 30 additional qualifying credits, students can take their upper-division NAU courses through any NAU extended campus location, online or in-person at the Communiversity in Surprise.  

“The Connection partnership creates an accessible pathway to a four-year degree,” said Felicia Ramirez-Perez, assistant director of advisement at Rio Salado College.  “Students can take up to 90 credit hours at a community college price point and then finish up the last 30 at NAU.”

She added, “Not only are the community college classes less expensive, but in most cases they are also available online. This means students don’t have to pay for gas, parking or child care. They can even continue to work full time if they want.”

Qualified students participating in the MCCCD-NAU Connection partnership can also take advantage of two unique scholarship opportunities. The NAU Extended Campuses Department offers a $1,000 scholarship to MCCCD transfer students. A $2,000 Connect2NAU scholarship is also available to all students transferring to NAU programs in Flagstaff or at extended campuses.

Students interested in learning more about the MCCCD-NAU Connection are invited to attend an online advisement event hosted by Rio Salado College and NAU to be held February 21 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Visit the Rio Salado College Advisement website for details. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shadow Mountain Teacher Receives Excellence in Education Award

Congratulations to Shari Anton, world history teacher at Shadow Mountain High School for receiving February’s Excellence in Education Award! She was nominated by student Bryce Hustad who said that she is the teacher that you will always remember and has high expectations of her students.

“She takes a personal interest in my success and builds my confidence,” Hustad said. “She makes learning a wonderful and entertaining experience for all of us. At the end of the day I know she cares about me and how well I do, and knows if I am successful so is she.”

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.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Rio Way Heart Walk Team Raises Funds for Research

The 2012 Rio Salado College Heart Walk team is gearing up for this year’s Phoenix Heart Walk which will take place on February 25 at 9 a.m. at Tempe Beach Park. 

The team, nicknamed “The Rio Way,” has been participating in the annual American Heart Association (AHA) fundraiser since 2002.  Sheila Barham, administrative assistant to the college president, has been the team captain for all 11 years that the team has been active.

"I became involved because my husband had a heart attack in the summer of 2001. When the heart walk started in February 2002, I really wanted to participate. It was important to me on a personal level."

Barham said she believes the team represents an important part of the Rio Salado College culture.

“When we talk about ‘The Rio Way,’ we’re talking about going above and beyond what’s expected and I think that’s what our heart walk team represents,” Barham said. “Participating in the heart walk is a great way for the Rio community to show its commitment to wellness as a core value.”

The Phoenix Heart Walk is a five kilometer walk-a-thon held annually by the AHA to raise funds for research and awareness programs. 

“This walk helps get the funds that are needed to do research,” Barham said. “Without money, the research doesn't get done and without the research you just don't know what we're missing.”

This year’s walk is being dedicated to the memory of Sandia Hayes who was a member of Rio’s heart walk team for many years.  Hayes was lost to cardiovascular disease in 2011.

“Even when her health would no longer allow her to walk with us, she continued to donate and support the team,” Barham said.

According to Dana Reid, dean of instruction at Rio Salado, the dedication was an obvious decision for the team.

“Not only was Sandia a close friend, but she was also a strong advocate for the heart walk team and we wanted to do something to honor her memory,” Reid said. “She is truly missed by all of us who knew her well.”

The 2012 Rio Way Heart Walk team is seeking members and donations until February 22.  The event is open to anyone who would like participate. Contact Sheila Barham at Rio Salado College or visit the team’s heart walk profile page for more information. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jennifer Shantz Named Interim Vice President

Dr. Jennifer Shantz has been named Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, reporting directly to President Chris Bustamante. Shantz will join the Executive Team, serve as the college’s Chief Academic Officer responsible for the college’s academic programs and assessment activities and chair the Curriculum Committee as well as co-chair of the Development Team.

Her responsibilities will include the executive leadership for: Faculty, Adult Basic Education, Community Development and Partnerships, Continuing Education, Curriculum, Institutional Research/Effectiveness, Instructional Design, Instructional Helpdesk, Course Support, Incarcerated Re-Entry Programs, Library Services and Dual Enrollment.

Shantz has worked at Rio Salado College for 23 years most recently serving as the faculty chair of curriculum development. Prior to that, she was the residential faculty member over curriculum. Her responsibilities included the design of college curriculum, assisting faculty in the writing and development of curriculum, supporting faculty and other college administrators through the curriculum development and approval processes, reviewing MCCCD curriculum proposals and developing policies and procedures for the College Curriculum Department.

Under her leadership new programs were developed such as; sustainable food systems, paralegal, eLearning design specialist, broadband telecommunications, community dental health coordination, K-12 eLearning design and K-12 online teaching.

Shantz holds a doctorate and master’s degree in educational leadership from NAU, a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from ASU and is an alumna of Rio Salado College where she earned an associate degree in general studies.

Local Radio Stations Celebrate Arizona Centennial

Local radio stations KBAQ 89.5 FM and KJZZ 91.5 FM are both airing special programing throughout February to celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday. 

KBAQ’s Hearing the Century: Voices of Arizona’s Arts Past and Present is a collection of stories from the last hundred years of the state’s arts and cultural history, while KJZZ’s Centennial Minutes features 90-second clips with historical tales about people and places around Arizona.

Contributors to Hearing the Century include award-winning cowboy poet Mike Dunn, painter and founder of Superstition Land Trust Anne Coe and award-winning filmmaker Dustinn Craig.

“The synergy between the station and our arts community at large has cultivated a series that I think will deepen and enrich our understanding of the state we call home,” said Jane Hilton, KBAQ producer.

Hilton has been working with Elizabeth Warren, South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute co-founder to create the series of three-minute features intended to transport listeners into Arizona’s past.

“It's been such an incredible privilege to hear the stories of the artists and scholars being featured. They've deepened my understanding of how interconnected the arts are with the history of the state,” Warren said.

The 20 stories KBAQ will present a focus on the unique styles and contributions of Arizona artists specializing in music, theater, painting and other art forms-- from north, central and southern parts of the state. They will air weekdays during the month of February at 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on KBAQ 89.5 FM.

“Hearing the Century is our gift to the great state of Arizona in celebration of its centennial and a reflection of what we do best in public radio - discovering and sharing untold stories,” said Jim Paluzzi, KBAQ’s general manager. “We are grateful to Arizona’s government agencies, businesses, philanthropic organizations and citizens for making this tribute to Arizona’s past-- and all we do possible.”

KJZZ’s Centennial Minutes include five segments written and narrated by Fred Duval and Lisa Schnelbly Heidinger, co-authors of Calling Arizona Home.

The series will transport listeners to the early exploration days of the Grand Canyon, the world of Rough Rider Buckey O’Neill, and the legendary adventures of famous Arizona ranchers and outlaws.

Segments are scheduled to air on Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. during Morning Edition. They will also be available online after their initial broadcast.

KJZZ is also inviting listeners to share their memorable Arizona moments with Fronteras: the Changing America Desk. Participants can submit memories of iconic people, places and events by visiting the Fronteras website.

Reporters will present their findings and may call on participants to share stories on air with KJZZ listeners.


About KBAQ 89.5 and KJZZ 91.5

KBAQ 89.5 FM and KJZZ 91.5 FM are a both supported by the Rio Salado College Division of Public Service and the Maricopa Community College District.

KBAQ broadcasts round-the-clock classical music and arts information. KJZZ, and by extension its Sun Sounds Radio Reading Service, provides 24 daily hours of news, information and acoustic jazz.

About Rio Salado College

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.