Rio Salado recently welcomed two new faculty chairs to its staff this August, Angela Kwan and Richard Cuprak. In Rio Salado’s unique faculty model, 23 faculty chairs oversee more than 1,400 adjunct faculties. This provides students a strong curriculum with a diversity of perspectives to learn from. Angela Kwan was a Lieutenant in the Phoenix Police Department where she trained officers and worked patrols. She has a master’s in arts with a focus on distance learning and bachelor’s degree in public administration. She has also taught as an adjunct professor at Rio Salado College. Richard Cuprak worked as a product development engineer and has taught at Arizona State University and Gateway Community College. He has a master’s degree in mechanical technology in engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Angela Kwan - Profile
Serving the community is a way of life for a new faculty chair at Rio Salado College.
Angela Kwan served the Phoenix community as a Lieutenant in the Phoenix Police Department for nearly 22 years and is now the faculty chair for public safety programs at Rio Salado College.
Kwan hopes to serve the community by improving the way students get an education and transition into the workforce after graduation.
“I’ve always felt this engrained characteristic to give back,” she said.
She plans on expanding internship opportunities for students, especially in the paralegal program.
“It’s easier to get hired as a paralegal when you have worked as a paralegal,” Kwan stated.
Because of her time in the police department, Kwan understands the way the county and city attorney’s offices work and is looking to help students find internships there, along with private practices.
Kwan’s experiences in the police department benefit her as a faculty chair as she draws on life experiences to strengthen the classes for Rio Salado’s students. She worked her way up from a patrol officer to a Police Academy Trainer during her career as an officer.
She has a master’s in arts with a focus on distance learning and bachelor’s degree in public administration, both she earned while she was an officer.
Kwan focuses on education and training because she knows how important it can be to the student.
“The way I look at it is creating a future through education,” Kwan explained.
Kwan was born and raised in Phoenix and has experienced community college, the university, and has seen almost every aspect of the community as a police officer, including the high-risk population.
Having experienced shift work while on the police force, Kwan knows how important online classes can be for students with various work and family responsibilities.
“[Rio Salado] meets the needs of a lot of learners,” Kwan said.
“It’s the convenience of going to class with a few clicks of the mouse,” Kwan said about the strength of Rio Salado College’s class and faculty structure.
While Kwan loves to run and stay fit, she also enjoys keeping her community in shape. She plans to continue volunteer work and is even staying on as a reserve officer for the police department.
For Kwan, her position at Rio Salado College is another opportunity for her to give to her community.
Richard Cuprak - Profile
A new faculty chair at Rio Salado College embraces the challenges of the new position because he knows the greatest growth and success can come from challenges. Richard Cuprak is the new faculty chair for applied technology at Rio Salado College and his focus is on the students.
“I want to challenge students to challenge themselves,” he said.
Cuprak has a history in engineering and product development, which meant working to meet the needs of society and the people around him.
“My personal goal is to really make a change in how people perceive their role in the world,” Cuprak explained.
As the faculty chair over a program that will focus on alternative energy and sustainable technologies, Cuprak will be educating students on ways to improve the way we use energy, money, and time.
“That’s the idea here at Rio, always challenging ourselves to improve,” Cuprak said.
He has also taught at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus and at Gateway Community College.
His goal is to teach his students to really think and use their minds. Cuprak believes that learning is more than just passing tests and getting grades, it’s about developing thoughts and ideas that lead to success.
“I always tell my students they have the greatest computer ever…in their heads,” Cuprak said.
He has a master’s degree in mechanical technology in engineering from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Northern Arizona University.
Cuprak was born in Phoenix but has lived all over the state of Arizona. He attended two different high schools, Clifton High School and Chinle High School, located on different ends of Arizona from each other.
His passion for teaching and helping the individual student will continue as he works within Rio Salado’s faculty model that allows for students of all learning types to benefit from the various adjunct faculty.
“All of the [Rio Salado] faculty respects the individual and their learning needs,” Cuprak explained.
He considers himself a family man with a love for the outdoors. Cuprak is a father of two and has been married for almost 22 years.
Throughout his life, he has challenged himself and others to be the best they can be, and to hold to what they believe is right.
Now Cuprak begins a new chapter where he can increase his reach to students and help them find the success he knows they are capable of achieving.
Written by Matt Loper, Rio Salado College PR Intern