Friday, March 29, 2013

Early Registration Underway at RSC

Classes are available for Summer and Fall Terms!
Submitted by Advisement Initiatives Liason Michael Murphy

Early registration is now open at Rio Salado College. Student can register for classes with start dates as early as next Monday and all the way through spring 2014.

Online summer classes do not interfere with travel plans or work schedules, and can help students lighten their course load over the remainder of the year.

There are eight semester block start dates during the summer term. A variety of à la carte options are also available to students who are not pursuing an academic program at Rio Salado College.

Recent changes to the academic calendar could impact program-seeking students who wish to take Summer 2013 classes. Students are encouraged to contact an advisor by phone, online or in-person to discuss their options.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Financial Aid Widgets and Calculators

Paying for College: Widgets and Calculators

The Rio Salado College Financial Aid Department offers several automated tools that can help students find the information they need. Here's the run down:
  • Financial Aid Calculator - Find an estimated monthly student loan payment by entering the loan amount, annual interest rate and loan duration.
  • Net Price Calculator - Estimate the total annual cost of attending Rio Salado College including things like books, transportation and housing.
  • Block Calendar Calculator - Determine the student's next available start date.
  • Disbursement Calculator - Estimate the arrival of the student's financial aid refund. (Note: this tool provides an estimate only and does not provide a guaranteed disbursement date.) 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Paying for College: Words of Wisdom

Monday starts and Block Calendar scheduling can be unfamiliar concepts for new students and can create confusion for those who aren't familiar with the terminology. The following list of words and phrases are unique to Rio Salado College and will help new students navigate the registration and financial aid processes.

Academic Program – A prescribed series of classes designed for a specific degree, certificate, or other credential.
  • Program Seeker –Students who have declared a Rio Salado certificate, degree or transfer program in, ESF (Electronic Student File), or by talking to an advisor. 
  • Non-Program Seekers – Students who have not declared a Rio Salado certificate, degree or transfer program. Students who take a la carte classes for transfer to another college or university program are NOT classified as program seekers at Rio Salado College. 
  • Excluded Program – Declared programs that are excluded from the program seeker qualification. Examples include: Dual enrollment, educational service partnerships, and non-credit programs. 
Note: Federal regulations require students to commit to an eligible academic program to qualify for financial aid. 

Block Calendar System – exclusive to Rio Salado College, the block calendar system uses semester blocks to provide students with flexibility in class scheduling.

  • Academic Term – Academic Terms are similar to semesters at other colleges. Rio Salado has a Fall, Spring and Summer term. 
  • Semester Block –Each term is broken into semester blocks. Each semester block has a start date and a corresponding end date. Students choose from the available semester blocks to customize when their semester will start and end. 
  • Term Block – Semester blocks are sometimes referred to as term blocks. 
  • Semester Block Start Date – The date on which a semester block starts. 
  • Semester Block End Date – The designated end date of a semester block. 
  • Class Start Date- The designated start date listed for the class (typically a Monday). Students may choose multiple course start dates within their selected semester block. 
  • Monday Starts - Refers to multiple start dates available in the Block Calendar System. 
  • Course End Date – The last day on which course materials may be submitted. 
  • Out of Block – Classes that do not start AND end within the timeframe of the selected semester block. Classes for the next term that are scheduled to start before the student’s current semester block is scheduled to end are also considered Out of Block. 

Note: Semester blocks may not overlap from one term to the next. Students may find their next available block using the Block Calendar Widget.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Strategic Planning Promotes College Success

A balanced schedule can have a huge impact on the college experience. Planning ahead can help students avoid feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Members of the advisement staff at Rio Salado College offer the following tips. 

Use the online planning tool. 
Academic Advisor Charles Colbert discusses options
 with Rio Salado College student Kasey Wemyss.
Taking a little time to review the student’s requirements upfront can help lay out a workable school schedule semester by semester. With the help of an advisor, students can figure out how to balance their courses with their time each semester so the workload is not unmanageable. RSC students have access to an online planning tool that can help with this step.

--Director of Advisement Services David Hall

Take ENG101 First Year Composition and CPD150 Strategies for College Success in the first semester.
CPD150 is especially important for students who haven’t yet declared a major. It can help them explore career paths, develop study skills and really take ownership of their education. And of course, ENG101 is crucial for all students. It teaches the research and writing skills necessary for taking all other college level courses.

-- Student Services Specialist Roxie Holmes 

Customize the experience. 
Explore core and elective options thoroughly to find classes that meet program requirements and engage the student’s interests. A class like ASB222 Buried Cities and Lost Tribes of the Old World can not only satisfy several degree requirements, but the subject matter is fascinating.

– Advisement Initiatives Liaison Michael Murphy 

Call or see an advisor early on.
It’s good for students to understand the degree program they are pursuing and have a clear understanding of the different educational designations. Talking to an advisor can also help students determine if their prior education will apply and ensure the transferability of the classes they wish to take.

–Academic Advisor Kirsten Joan

Find Balance.
Some classes will be harder than others based on the individual strengths and interests of each student. Pairing a fun elective with a difficult or less than interesting program requirement will provide balance and prevent students from losing focus or feeling stressed out.

– Academic Advisor Mike Ross 

Include a variety of topics each semester.
I advise students to vary the subject matter each semester. For example, I would advise against taking reading, English and humanities in the same semester due to the substantial amount of reading and writing that is likely to be involved in each area.

-- Academic Advisor Kimberley Wagner-Hemmes 

Don’t be afraid of English and reading classes.
The online learning environment is primarily reading-based. Students who struggle with reading synthesis and speed, will also struggle with online classes. Writing is also critical for online students who must convey their thoughts and express ideas in an organized and concise manner. Taking the necessary reading and English classes up front will have an impact on every other class the student takes.

-- Academic Advisor Theodore Bland 

Take advantage of all available resources. 
Every student will encounter obstacles while in college. Utilizing student services such as academic advising, tutoring, helpdesks, counseling, and financial aid can really help students persist and overcome those obstacles.

– Academic Advisor Elena Matus McDonald

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jacob Giger Honored for Excellence in Education

Congratulations to Jacob  Giger for receiving the Excellence in Education Award for March 2013! He is a physical education teacher and coach at Sunset Ridge Elementary School in Phoenix.

Mr. Giger teaches students from the first grade to eighth grade and knows each one of them by name. On any given day he can be found teaching up to 90 students at a time. He oversees all sports activities related to the school and makes sure things are running smoothly. When he is not teaching P.E. or coaching, he is tutoring students. His dedication to students’ learning has led to gains in student achievement. 
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.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tempe Student Named Youth of the Year

Anissia Woods receives a scholarship from
 Rio Salado College Associate Dean Ruby Miller
Recently, the East Valley Boys and Girls Club honored eight teens with a Youth of the Year award. The award is based on service and leadership in three areas; school, the Boys and Girls Club, and the community.

Anissia Woods, a native of Tempe and a senior at Tempe High School, was chosen as this year’s recipient from Tempe’s Ladmo Branch of the Boys and Girls Club. She was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend Rio Salado College and has bright plans for her future. She has also been accepted at Texas Southern University where she will seek to earn a degree in business administration.

“I’m excited, I never had an opportunity like this,” she said.

Woods has been going to the Boys and Girls Club since she was only five years old, and says the club has given her a support group through some difficult times in her life.

“When friends at school weren’t there for me, my friends at the club were,” she said.

She said that the Boys and Girls Club provides opportunities to teach and prepare youth for the future.

“I love how there are programs that teach you about life and what to look forward to,” she said. “It keeps you out of unnecessary drama.”

Woods has been active in her community through the Boys and Girls Club, the Keystone Club and her church. She also participates in school programs like basketball, dance, and as the president of the Black Student Union.

Even though she is the youngest of three children, she has often taken a leadership role with her siblings. She hopes that her work ethic will be an example to her friends and family.

“I want to be that person to look up to for my younger cousins,” she said.

Woods recognizes that being active in school and in her community has given her opportunities to shape her dreams and aspirations of owning her own dance studio someday.

“I had the opportunity to meet people that do what I want to do,” she explained.

It is those opportunities that make Woods grateful for her experiences of giving service.

“It may seem like a lot of work but it pays off in the end,” she said.

Woods even has some advice for those who might be thinking about getting more involved in their community.

“Just get involved and don’t hold back.”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Get Your Science On

Last week, geeks and nerds alike congregated in downtown Tempe to celebrate all things cool (read: science).

“Geeks Night Out” featured interactive exhibits to promote everything from science to science fiction to the business of science.

As an ardent supporter of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, Rio Salado College co-hosted a booth to extoll the wonders of nanotechnology.


Yup. In case you didn’t know it, nanotechnology is all around us. It’s in cosmetics and clothes and lasers and airplane coatings.

To help explain nanotechnology concepts, visitors to Rio Salado’s booth could witness demonstrations of nanotechnology in everyday products.

They were also invited to test a million-dollar microscope located at the Nanotechnology Applications Career Knowledge Center at Penn State University.

Visitors used a regular computer with a 4G cell phone link to control every aspect of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), including focusing and magnifying. Samples loaded included a spider, fly, DVD, and copper nanowires. Testers were also able to print high-resolution images of their samples to keep as souvenirs.

“I was pleased that the Nanotechnology booth was very popular,” said Rick Vaughn, Rio Salado College STEM Faculty Chair. “Students and parents lined up to control the microscope, examine a twelve inch silicon wafer, play with polymers, and write their name in binary code.”

Geeks Night Out was just one of many activities taking place during February and March as part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which aims to “bring out the curiosity within.”

“Although not fully developed, a student’s aptitude for math and science is determined at a relatively early age,” Vaughn said. “If we can encourage the youth of today to pursue STEM skills, especially in the crucial middle school years, we can build the pipeline of high-tech workers necessary for Arizona to compete in a global marketplace.”

Other Rio Salado STEM initiatives include 2-year degree and certificate programs in Engineering Technology, Pre-Engineering programs, and the SMILE Noyce Scholars program for STEM professionals transitioning into teaching careers.

Rio Salado’s second event celebrating the Arizona SciTech Festival and STEM education is a Digital Technology and Journalism panel discussion on March 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. Students from KJZZ’s SPOT 127 youth media initiative and local experts, including KJZZ’s Digital Media Editor Tracy Greer and KJZZ’s IT Manager Rick Gould, will discuss reaching the digital generation with news and information.  The event takes place at the Conference Center @ Rio, 2323 W. 14th Street in Tempe.