Thursday, January 31, 2013

Breaking Ground in Queen Creek

Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney and RSC President Chris Bustamante
are joined by education and community leaders to celebrate the event.
The Communiversity @ Queen Creek officially broke ground today, Jan. 31. Festivities began at 10 a.m. in the Zane Grey room of the Queen Creek Library located at 21802 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek.

The Communiversity @ Queen Creek is a unique civic and educational partnership dedicated to providing students pathways to earn college certificates and/or associate , bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all in one convenient location. Partners of the Communiversity include: the Town of Queen Creek, the Maricopa County Community College District, Rio Salado College, Chandler-Gilbert

Community College, Northern Arizona University, Ottawa University and the Southwest College for Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences.

"Overall, the Communiversity model is anchored in community college certificate and associate degree offerings with both public and private universities delivering a variety of educational pathways to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and beyond," said Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante.

The Communiversity is designed to meet the educational needs of its surrounding communities. Pathways of study under consideration are: Business, Healthcare, Teacher Education, Early Childhood, Humans Services, Communication, Psychology and Justice Studies. Many pathways will allow students to save money on tuition by completing their first three years of study at the community college level before transferring to a partner university for their final year.

“We often talk about the importance of providing a place for students to come and feel welcomed with the eventual hope that they will then go out into our community and serve, said MCCCD Governing Board Member Doyle Burke at the event. “The Communiversity embodies that hope and puts into practice our belief that access to education is a vital asset to every community.”

The 22,000 square foot facility will serve as a regional support center for students. It will house six classrooms, a community room which can be divided into two classrooms, a testing center, a Computer Commons, small study rooms, and administrative offices for staff, rotating academic advisors, tutors and counselors. In addition, the design of the two story building will use materials which complement the style of the local library located next door.

"The Communiversity will provide a convenient, affordable, high-quality, higher education alternative for East Valley residents and employers," Bustamante said. "It will stimulate economic growth through education and workforce development, and provide a meeting hub for community leaders to network, collaborate, and partner to provide educational programming that leads to greater degree completion."

Construction of the new facility should be completed by January 2014.

About Queen Creek

Queen Creek's approximately 27,000 residents enjoy the benefits of small-town living close to a metropolitan area: low crime rates, easy commuting to and from metro Phoenix, and a variety of recreational activities, all elements of a low-stress lifestyle. Queen Creek is a family place, a community where the person behind the counter is someone who will know you by name. For more information about the community visit

About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College will serve as the host institution for the Communiversity @ Queen Creek. The college established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. It is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and is one of the largest public online community colleges in the nation serving more than 67,0000students annually. In addition to providing high-quality instruction for 100+ degree and certificate pathways, Rio Salado is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable access through; adult basic education, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KJZZ Hosts StoryCorps Mobilebooth

Governor Jan Brewer and son Michael Brewer
 record their conversation at the 2011 StoryCorps Event
The Valley’s public radio station 91.5 KJZZ is collaborating with StoryCorps— a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of people from all backgrounds— to record interviews in Phoenix, AZ from February 12 to March 8 as part of StoryCorps’ 2013 cross-country MobileBooth tour. 

StoryCorps’ MobileBooth— an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio— will be parked at the Phoenix Art Museum. Reservations will be available at 10 a.m. on January 31 and can be made by calling StoryCorps’ 24-hour toll-free reservation line at 800-850-4406 or visiting

The MobileBooth interviews are conducted between two people who know and care about each other. A trained StoryCorps facilitator guides participants through the interview process. At the end of each 40-minute recording session, participants receive a complimentary CD copy of their interview. With participant permission, a second copy is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for future generations to hear.

KJZZ will air a selection of the local interviews recorded in the StoryCorps MobileBooth. Segments of select interviews may also air nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“This is another opportunity for KJZZ to share the stories and voices of our community,” said Jon Hoban, KJZZ’s chief content officer. “Every day we strive to provide a variety of voices and perspectives, and the StoryCorps Phoenix project reflects our commitment to helping Valley residents share the stories that connect us to our region,” said Hoban.

Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient, Dave Isay, StoryCorps aims to create a growing portrait of who we are as Americans. By traveling to every corner of the country, StoryCorps currently has one of the largest collections of American voices ever gathered, with interviews collected from nearly 80,000 Americans in all 50 states.

“StoryCorps tells the true American story—that we are a people defined by small acts of courage, kindness and heroism. Each interview reminds people that their lives matter and will not be forgotten,” said Isay. “By strengthening connections between people and building an archive that reflects the rich diversity of American voices, we hope to build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.”

To help offset its operating costs, StoryCorps suggests a donation of at least $25 for each MobileBooth interview. If participants cannot afford to meet the suggested donation, they may participate at no cost to ensure that StoryCorps remains a free public service.

About StoryCorps 
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their stories. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps’ award-winning broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition. StoryCorps has published three books: Listening Is an Act of Love and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, and All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps—all of which are New York Times best sellers. For more information, visit

About 91.5 KJZZ
KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station that is licensed to the Maricopa Community College District. It is a community service of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, which also includes 89.5 KBAQ and Sun Sounds of Arizona. KJZZ features a mix of local and NPR news, entertainment, jazz and blues—serving nearly 267,000 weekly listeners. For more information, visit

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Turn Column by Dr. Bustamante

The following My Turn column was recently published by The Arizona Republic in several community sections in Maricopa County. 

Dr. Chris Bustamante
Rio Salado College President

We must create pathways to higher education for all citizens

By Dr. Chris Bustamante
President of Rio Salado College

Providing pathways to college degrees and certificates is vital to our nation’s economic recovery. It has never been more important to help individuals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the job market.

Here in Arizona, we have seen deep budget cuts to education since the onset of the recession in 2008. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the state has reduced funding to K-12 schools by more than 20 percent during this time period. In addition, a study released early this year from The Center for the Study of Higher Education at Illinois State University, shows that state support for higher education in Arizona has been reduced by nearly 32 percent over the last five years.

Our most vulnerable communities feel the greatest impact when educational resources are reduced or eliminated. Residents in these neighborhoods can’t afford to wait for the economy to improve or for legislative action to be taken to restore funding.

Data from the Arizona Department of Education indicates that last year, 825,000 or 17 percent of Arizona residents, age 16 and older, did not have a high school diploma or a GED, and were not enrolled in school.

As budget concerns continue to grow, educational institutions must create cost-efficient and sustainable partnerships whenever possible in order to retain and engage high school students and provide opportunities for adults who want to improve their lives.

KJZZ’s SPOT 127 new youth media center in Maryvale is an example of such a partnership. KJZZ, along with the Phoenix Union High School District, Rio Salado College and other community partners, launched this innovative initiative that teaches high school students state-of-the-art skills in digital media, radio broadcast and journalism. Experience shows that students involved in after-school classes like these are more likely to complete high school and continue on to college.

When students are prepared to enter college and succeed in the learning process, they become role models for family members and others in the community. This is especially true for first-generation college students.

It is also important to provide access to adults who need basic education, want to earn a GED, improve their language skills or prepare to enroll in college. Regardless of where they are in their pathway, adult learners overcome many obstacles in order to advance their lives through education. Challenges include limited resources and over-loaded schedules. Many work several jobs in order to provide for themselves and their families. Transportation can also be an issue. In addition, most adult students haven’t been in school for many years and lack the confidence to take the next step.

Barriers to educational access can be alleviated when educational institutions and community organizations forge partnerships to provide support and convenient access to education in neighborhoods that need it most. As students transition on to college classes, online options also provide the flexibility they need as working adults.

If we expect our citizens to improve their circumstances through pathways to higher education, we must engage them early on in the process and provide renewed opportunity for those who fall behind. It will take a willingness and commitment from educational, business and community organizations to partner and provide the empowerment tools necessary to strengthen individuals and communities.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dual Enrollment Alumnus Goes to Med School

Rio Salado College Dual Enrollment
Alumnus Renee Rosati
For one hardworking 20-year-old, a trip to Europe with some friends is well deserved, especially since she graduated from college in two and a half years and will be entering medical school in the fall.

Renee Rosati recently graduated from Texas Christian University, receiving a BA in Spanish with a minor in Biology, which required her to work in the labs with various compositions, including anthrax.

When asked how she managed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in such a short amount of time just after her high school graduation, Rosati had a simple answer, dual enrollment through Rio Salado College.

“Dual enrollment seemed like an efficient use of my time,” she said.

Rosati attended Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix which partners with Rio Salado College to provide dual enrollment classes. Students who participate in dual save time and money when they take college level courses while in high school. The credits earned can then transfer to universities allowing the students to get a jump start on their college education.

“I graduated ahead of the game,” Rosati said.

She continued to work hard at college, even spending her summers in class. Her work led her to graduate in December 2012, and according to Rosati it all was made possible from the boost that Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program gave her.

“It’s the reason why I’m done with college so early, it’s the reason why I get to go to Spain for six months,” she said.

While Rosati will be spending time in Spain polishing up her Spanish and traveling, she will return to United States in the fall to start medical school in South Carolina.

“I see myself in the future doing ophthalmology or plastic surgery,” she said.

She has plans to use her degree to participate in medical mission trips, providing medical attention to those who do not have the means to receive the care on their own.

“I think it’s a great way of giving back,” she said.

Rosati is grateful for the dual enrollment program that saved her money on several years of college tuition, and hopes other students can learn to do the same.

“Choose a high school that offers dual enrollment,” she advised.

Rosati added that dual enrollment programs require a focus and desire to excel but does not interfere with a student’s social life.

“It didn’t negatively change my high school experience at all,” she said.

She has big dreams for the future and is working to ensure those dreams are met but recognizes the help she had along the way from her teachers, the dual enrollment program and her family.

“My parents have really encouraged me,” she said.

And with that encouragement, she takes the next step in her college education that began with Rio Salado College.

Friday, January 25, 2013

RSC Faculty Chair Pat Case Receives Award

Rio Salado College would like to congratulate Pat Case, faculty chair of social sciences for being recognized with a 2012 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.

The award celebrates outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. It will be presented by the League for Innovation in the Community College at the organization's spring Innovations Conference.

In a video submission for the award, Case explains the impact of her personal experiences on her professional approach and why she is a passionate advocate for community college students.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paying for College: Consortium Agreement

Many students take online classes at Rio Salado College to supplement their curriculum at another college or university. For example, ASU students often prefer to save money on their general education courses by enrolling in transferrable online classes at RSC.

Students who would like to use financial aid to pay for classes at two colleges during the same semester must complete a consortium agreement. The consortium agreement allows students to receive financial aid based on the combined enrollment at multiple colleges.

Here are some things students should know about consortium agreements
  • Students will only receive financial aid from one institution
  • The college where you receive your financial aid is referred to as the parent school or home institution
  • The school where you attend classes but do not receive aid is called the participating school or host institution. 
  • Students are responsible for making payment arrangements at the participating school. 
  • If RSC is the participating school the account balance must be paid by the first day of class. 
  • The consortium agreement form can be found in the Financial Aid Forms Center
  • A consortium agreement typically takes 5-7 business days to process. 
  • Not all schools will qualify for a consortium agreement with Rio Salado College. 

Note: Coursework from the participating school that overlaps from one semester to the next at the parent school could cause adjustments or delays to current and future disbursements of student aid funds.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Classes at RSC Luke Help Airmen Earn Degrees

Luke Air Force Base, located in the west valley, is one of the largest Air Force training bases in the world. Servicemen and women stationed there can purse their college goals by taking classes on site through Rio Salado College.

Airman First Class Grantley Fisher is an air traffic controller Luke AFB and is continuing his education with his eyes on the future.

“Working my way towards a degree is part of the reason I joined the military,” Fisher said.

Although the college is known for online classes which allow service members to continue their education even when deployed, airmen see added benefits to the on-base classes as well.

“If you need help, it’s right there,” Fisher explained.

Debbie Hill is a math instructor for Rio Salado College and has been teaching on the base for 18 years.
Hill teaches algebra classes and says that military personnel are focused and she enjoys teaching individuals with a desire to learn.

“The people here work really hard, they care about what they’re learning, they have goals that they are trying to meet,” she said.

For some students, the benefits of an in-person class help them achieve their goals and overcome struggles they have had in the past with education. 

Master Sergeant Daniel Sharayko works in the base’s IT department and is one class away from achieving one of his goals.

“I need one class to finish on a CCAF degree, an associate(degree) in electric systems technology,” he explained.

Sharayko had been delaying enrolling in the class because of anxiety over past experiences that led him to develop a fear of math.

Through a smaller, in-person class at the Rio Salado College location on base, he found what he needed to conquer his fears.

“It did a lot for my self-esteem. This is going to be the last class I need and then I can apply for graduation, I’ll be done,” Sharayko said.

Debbie Hill is an example of the caliber instructor Rio Salado College provides to students who are looking to further their educations.

 “If I have any problems, I can get an answer right away,” Sharayko said.

“She explains everything really thoroughly and makes it easy,” Fisher added.

While Hill is appreciated by her students, she too appreciates the hard work her students put in to mastering mathematics.

“That’s just the military in them, but that’s a real bonus to being out here at the base is they work and they have goals,” she explained.

With affordable and accessible education being offered to soldiers and members of the armed forces world-wide, Rio Salado strives to provide the quality education each student deserves.

“It’s a very good atmosphere to be in,” Hill said.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sustainable Food Systems to Participate in Green Business Expo

Michael Hodgins, director of the sustainable food systems program at Rio Salado College and sustainable gardening instructor Josh Sundberg will be on hand with free seed packages and herbal water samples at the Green Business Expo at Tempe Center for the Arts this Saturday, Jan. 19.

In addition to the Smithsonian Institution’s Green Revolution traveling exhibition, the expo will highlight sustainable businesses, products and services that can be found in Tempe.

According to Hodgins, this is a great opportunity to introduce the community to both the Café at Rio and the sustainable food systems program at RSC.

“The sustainable Food systems program is eager to participate in this Saturday's Tempe Green Business Expo,” Hodgins said. “Josh and I always get excited about spending time with individuals who share our enthusiasm for sustainability.”

Many of RSC’s neighbors are aware of the tasty lunch options available through RSC’s Café at Rio. What they might not realize, is that the Café is a learning lab for the college’s sustainable food systems program.

The sustainable food systems certificate and degree program promotes green business practices by encouraging students to consider how food is produced, purchased and prepared.  It teaches the ecological and nutritional benefits of using locally-sourced ingredients and familiarizes students with both agricultural and cooking techniques that will reduce the environmental impact of the food service industry.

Although the primary purpose of the program is to prepare students for a career in agriculture or food service, the principles can also be used in a home kitchen or backyard garden.

“Green businesses alone can inspire many,” Hodgins said. “But it takes the community coming together to affect lasting change.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rio Salado Launching STEM Mentoring Program

Rio Salado College is launching a mentoring program to help connect students and K-12 classrooms with industry professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The STEM Mentoring Program was created by the Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), and is funded by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.

The grant empowers SFAz to bring together businesses, educators and community leaders in Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix to connect scientists, engineers and researchers with 4th-12th grade teachers to develop STEM education experiences.

In the Phoenix area, the Community College Partnership received a $5,000 grant to develop a mentoring model that teams community college students with participating schools.  Participants include Honors students from the Maricopa Community Colleges and Noyce Scholars from Rio Salado College.

The pilot project embraces a 3-part mentoring model that:
  • Creates partnerships between businesses and schools
  • Provides practical project-based learning for students
  • Prepares Arizona students for college and STEM careers

Read the full news release here. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Paying For College: Master Promissory Note

One of the more common items found on the to-do list is the Master Promissory Note (MPN). The master promissory note is a legally binding contract between a lender and a borrower. It contains the terms and conditions of the loan and includes how and when the loan must be repaid. Student loan recipients must complete their MPN before they are able to recieve funds.

When a student clicks on the MPN link in their to-do list, they will be redirected to the Department of Education’s student loan website. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the MPN and the process must be completed in a single session.

According to the website, it is a good idea for students to have the following items available before attempting to complete their MPN:
  • Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Student’s Permanent Address (and mailing address if different). 
  • Student’s Telephone Number 
  • Employer’s Name 
  • Employer’s Address 
  • School Name 
  • Reference Names 
  • Reference Addresses 
  • Reference Email Addresses 
  • Reference Telephone Number 
  • Relationship of each reference to the student 
It is very important to review all information for accuracy before submitting the MPN. Parents completing a Direct PLUS MPN must sign in using their own federal student aid PIN. Use of another person’s PIN is considered fraud.

Note: Reference information should be for two people with different U.S. addresses who have known the borrower for at least three years. (The first reference should be a parent or legal guardian.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Advisement News: Start At Rio

New to college? (or just new to Rio?) is the premier destination for everything students will ever need during their time at Rio Salado College. From researching programs to creating an account to registering and paying for classes, has all the best tools and links in one convenient portal.

Students who just want to take a class or two with RSC will appreciate the streamlined links that get them in and out smoothly.

StartatRio includes helpful screen shots and video clips to guide students through some of the more in-depth processes they will encounter. The checklist-style webpage organizes the steps in the suggested sequence, automatically checking them off as students proceed.

Additional useful information is included in each step under icons like "Cool Tips" and "Need Help?".

The Program Seekers portal culminates in our new NSO101 non-credit orientation class. Check out and get started today! (See the Jan 7 Advisement News post for more information on NSO 101.)

Submitted by Advisement Initiatives Liaison M. Murphy

Saturday, January 12, 2013

RSC Students Save Time and Money With Credit for Prior Learning

Written by Rio Salado College PR interns Erica White and Matt Loper

Jeff Glover serves as a public information officer
 for the Tempe Police Department
Education is more than just classroom work, and Rio Salado College can help students earn college credits for the knowledge received outside of the traditional academic environment.

“Credit for Prior Learning is credit for college level knowledge obtained through non-traditional schooling, work or life experiences,” said Linda Lukey, Rio Salado College director of testing and prior learning assessment. “It is based on learning that takes place outside of the classroom.”

The most common subjects students receive credit for are; English, language, literature, math, and communication, but credits can also be earned in many different areas.

Those earning credit for prior learning see added benefits. “It saves time, money, and increases the potential for upward mobility in their career,” said Lukey. “It also helps students find value in the experiential learning that has taken place.”

Jeff Glover, a public information officer for the Tempe Police Department recognizes the benefits of receiving credit for prior learning for himself and others in law enforcement.

“I’m looking at getting a different degree,” Glover said. “I think it’s a great program.”

Officers in the department take specialized courses that cover various subjects, some of which Glover believes could be applied toward college credit.

“You’re still doing the classroom work, you’re just doing it for your job,” he said.

According to Lukey, it is important for students to work with an advisor to determine what credits are needed for their degree program, define their educational goals and check on the transferability of any credits earned through Prior Learning Assessment.

“Know what type of prior learning assessment is for you; credit by exam, evaluation or portfolio,” said Lukey. “For credit by evaluation, make sure that you include all necessary materials, documents and certifications.”
For many, the opportunity to receive credit for knowledge attained through work and life experiences provides them with the hope of furthering their education.

“Education is one of those things that is always ongoing,” Glover said.

Credit for Prior Learning is one more way Rio Salado College hopes to help people take what they know and advance their education toward their life goals.

This article also available in the Jan. 12 News By You section of the Tempe Republic.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Marci Olsen Awarded for Excellence

Congratulations to Marci Olsen of Desert Shadow Middle School for receiving the Excellence in Education Award for January 2013!

She was nominated by student Jack Shaffstall who said "Ms. Olsen will clearly leave a legacy at DSMS. She is the teacher who coordinates a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, a filed trip to Tombstone, AZ, an eighth grade trip to Washington D.C., and a formal White House Dinner re-enactment for all her seventh graders."

"She is probably the most devoted teacher I have ever had," Shaffstall said. "She goes the extra mile when teaching, in order to make it fun. She is very energetic, and although my class has 38 kids...she is able to take the time to help each one of us."

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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sun Sounds of Arizona Earns FCC Award for Advancement in Accessibility


Staff at Sun Sounds of Arizona, a reading and information access service, designed an award-winning “talking radio” called The Narrator. The FCC gave Sun Sounds of Arizona the Award for Advancement in Accessibility last month. The Narrator serves people who are blind or living with vision loss who turn to radio as a source for news and entertainment.

The Narrator is an AM/FM/HD radio that guides users with verbal prompts on how to use the interfaces on the radio. Users activate The Narrator’s voice by touch. When a person pushes a button, the button speaks to tell the user its function. If a user pushes the “tune up” button, the radio will say “tune up,” followed by a confirmation of what radio frequency is activated, such as 89.5 HD3; the frequency for Sun Sounds of Arizona.

Sun Sounds of Arizona Director Bill Pasco and Director of Development Dave Noble worked as part of an International Association of Audio Information Services committee to bring The Narrator to life. Noble served as the committee chair and Pasco the principle author of the published standards.

The team also included Mike Dahnert from Best Buy and Joe D’Angelo from iBiquity Digital, which helped to produce a retail model that became available at Best Buy online in July. The product was so well received, it has already sold out. Best Buy promised to bring a new accessible radio to market in a few months.

“All the essential functions of the radio are spoken for the user, and it comes out of the box that way,” said Dave Noble. “Sighted users or others who don’t want the vocal prompts can easily switch them off making this a truly universal design.”

Now in its second year, the FCC Awards for Advancement in Accessibility recognized outstanding, innovative products, services and technologies or practices introduced to the public between July 31, 2011 and July 31, 2012. The awards focused on six categories: Consumer Empowerment Information; Mobile Applications; Civic Participation Solutions; Education: College or University; Video Programming; and Geo-Location Solutions. The IAAIS team competed with eleven other organizations to receive the top honor in the category of Consumer Empowerment Information.

“This collaboration is proof that the private and public sector can work hand and hand to create positive change,” said Bill Pasco, who has served as Sun Sounds’ Director for the last 16 years. “The award also serves as a symbol of what we strive to do at Sun Sounds every day. The debut of The Narrator at the 35th Annual IAAIS Conference in Houston was truly a great step forward in the accessibility of consumer products.”

Sun Sounds of Arizona 
Sun Sounds of Arizona, established in 1979, is a radio reading and information access service for people who cannot read print due to a disability. It is a community service of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, which also includes 89.5 KBAQ and 91.5 KJZZ. 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 systems, telephone and the Internet. For more information, visit

Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, was recently recognized as the fastest growing community college in the nation serving nearly 70,000 students annually. In addition to providing high-quality instruction for 100+ degree and certificate pathways, Rio Salado is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable access through; adult basic education, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Paying for College: Completing The To-Do List

The student center to-do list is the key to avoiding financial aid delays. The to-do list is on the right-hand side of the student center and can be expanded by clicking the green triangle.

The to-do list should be considered a high priority, because financial aid cannot be processed until everything in the to-do list has been completed.

Items in the to-do list will vary depending on each student’s situation. The most common to-do list items involve:
  • Admissions 
  • Program eligibility 
  • Verification of dependent or independent status 
  • Master Promissory Note (MPN) 
  • Missing or incomplete documentation
If all of the to-do list items have been completed, students can monitor the status of their financial aid application by clicking the Account Inquiry link in the Finances section of the student center (see image below).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3+1 Bachelor of Education Program Approved

Arizona State Board of Education Grants Approval for the 
Northcentral University/Rio Salado College 3+1 Professional Preparation Program

Northcentral University and Rio Salado College today announced approval from the Arizona State Board of Education for its Professional Preparation Program for the Rio Salado College/Northcentral University Bachelor of Education partnership programs in Elementary Education, Secondary Education and Cross-Categorical Special Education. The online 3+1 Bachelor of Education program is the first of its kind to receive approval from the Arizona State Board of Education and is fully accredited.
Students save money on tuition by taking the first three years of General Education core classes and teacher preparation training at Rio Salado College and then transferring to Northcentral to take one year of coursework to complete a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.). 

This program has a strong emphasis in undergraduate student mastery of content and professional knowledge and continuous engagement in field experience to include student teaching.

“This innovative program offers a seamless transition for students from Rio Salado College to Northcentral University,” said Northcentral Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Scott Burrus

Coursework at both Rio Salado and Northcentral weave real-world experiences into the program through hands-on, in-person field experiences in K-12 schools. Faculty and staff and both institutions are prepared to ensure a smooth transition and a successful educational experience for students taking advantage of this unique program.

“Rio Salado was the first college to provide an online post-baccalaureate teacher prep program and has provided teacher education in Arizona since 2001. We are thrilled to continue offering high quality instruction to the next generation of teachers,” said Rio Salado College Faculty Chair of Education, Dr. Janet Johnson.

The goal of the Teacher Preparation Partnership is to help develop effective and highly qualified teachers by discovering their abilities and developing their leadership in the classroom. Completion of this program results in eligibility for Arizona State Department of Education Teacher Certification.

“We are sending a message that educational institutions are working together in the community to deliver high quality degree programs that benefit students and their educational and professional goals,” stated Dr. Cindy Guillaume, Dean for the Northcentral University School of Education.

To learn more about this Bachelor of Education pathway please visit: .

Monday, January 7, 2013

Advisement News: New Student Orientation

Rio Salado College has created a new online orientation class to prepare new students for higher learning.

New Student Orientation (NSO101) is a free, non-credit class that students can complete in less than 2 hours.

The class helps students become familiar with RSC's programs, services, and processes. The last of three short lessons in the class acquaints students with RioLearn, the online classroom environment used at RSC.

New and continuing Rio Salado students as well as those who are coming to RSC from another college, are encouraged to take NSO 101.

Make the most of your RSC experience and learn the inside scoop on your college. Learn more about NSO101 by visiting

Submitted by Advisement Initiatives Liaison Michael Murphy

Saturday, January 5, 2013

RISE Serves Two Generations of Lifelong Learners

Written by Rio Salado College intern Erica White

The Rio Institute for Senior Education(RISE) is a fast growing center where older adults are continuing their education, making friends and having fun. RISE has members of all ages and interests taking a variety of available classes. 

“We offer over 300 classes in noncredit courses from September to May and we have a modified summer program,” said RISE member and Facilitator Mike Dubin.

These classes are already offered to the institute’s 1,000 members who attend regularly and the number of members only continues to grow.

“Five years ago we wondered if we would have enough classes for the space. Well now were running out of space,” said Dubin. “That’s an example of how we’ve grown and continue to attract more and more people.”

The number of RISE members is at an all-time high as baby boomers are now entering retirement. Meeting the needs of two generations has been a delicate balancing act.

“We’re now facing something we didn’t face before which is really two very different generations and their expectations are different,” said Brenda Friedman who is the RISE coordinator. “Our boomers, who are just now beginning to retire, are looking for very different types of classes than our veteran members who are perhaps in their 80’s and 90’s and have been around for a while.”

The classes offered range from Hula Dancing, Card Making, Thai Chi, Beading and French but the most popular courses, regardless of generations, are those that deal with spirituality.

“At the age that a lot of our members are they’re coming to an end of their life versus the beginning, said Friedman “They’re looking for something or seeking, if you will, what’s out there.”

The various classes are taught by instructors who are all volunteers.

“We do not pay our instructors and we have probably about 200, 250 instructors, that’s pretty sizeable for someone who’s not being paid to come out here,” said Friedman.

RISE is a grass roots organization, which means it was started by volunteers and is run by volunteers who do it out of love and out of interest.

“What were’ dealing with is passion,” said Friedman “People with a passion for their subject, people who truly love teaching, and love being around other people and that’s what RISE is built on and that’s why it’s such a wonderful place.”

RISE started in 1994 as a partnership with Rio Salado College. Although, itcaters to the needs of people in Sun City, Surprise, and other northwest valley communities, membership is open to anyone Maricopa County.

RISE members pay a one-time membership fee and are able to take as many classes as they want without worrying about grades or prerequisites.

“This is for people who want to continue learning just for the sake of it. They just come to enjoy the class. We don’t bother them with prerequisites or grades or tests. ,” said Dubin. “That’s also why our instructors come. To do the same thing… they come to enjoy.”

This story can also be found in the January 5 edition of The Tempe Republic. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Susan Yonker Awarded for Excellence

Congratulations to Susan Yonker of Willis Junior High School in Chandler, Arizona for winning the 99.9 FM KEZ Excellence in Education Award for December 2012.

Yonker, was nominated by students Alexandra Chavez and Rachael Mehrara.

In Mehrara's nomination letter, she said, "Most teachers are good teachers but Mrs. Yonker sticks in your mind and she makes everyone feel like they have a voice." She continued to explain that Yonker knows how to engage her students and keep them interested in learning while she continually enables students to set and achieve goals.

Mehrara, who has been a student of Yonker for the past two years, wrote,"I can honestly say Mrs. Yonker has changed my life and the goals I have for myself. I want her to know that I am beyond thankful for that."

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.

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.

Paying For College: Financial Aid Notifications

Financial Aid information is communicated exclusively through the Message Center in Emails are used only to alert students that information is available in the Message Center. These emails do not contain detailed information, they will only direct students to visit their Message Center.

Students sometimes mistake these notifications for spam or phishing because they do not contain specific information. While students should be wary of phishing and other malicious email, ignoring notifications from the financial aid department could result in missed deadlines and other delays in the processing of financial aid.

Here are some quick tips to help students identify official notifications.

  • Financial Aid will ONLY send email notifications to the official student Gmail account. 
  • They are sent from a Maricopa County Community College District email address
  • They will NOT contain account specific details. 
  • They will NOT ask for personal information. 
  • They will ONLY direct students to information in the Message Center. 

Students who are uncertain about a potentially malicious email, you may simply delete the email and check the Message Center in for new or updated information.

Students who suspect they have received a phishing email, should report it to the technology helpdesk and forward the email to Phishing emails should also be reported to

Note: Students may receive an email from Citi Prepaid encouraging them to sign up for a personalized Visa prepaid debit card through the Maricopa Student Refund Program (MSRP). This is not a malicious email.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, 
and that's your own self.” 

-Aldous Huxley

It's time for New Year's Resolutions! What will YOU do better in 2013?

Improve Yourself:
Learn CPR
Exercise more
Continue your education

Improve your Community:
Volunteer your time
Help raise funds for charity
Commit to buying local.

Try Something New:
Learn a new recipe
Make a new friend
Start a new business

Search #DoBetter on Twitter.