Saturday, November 16, 2013

RSC Southern Location Now Open

Rio Salado College has opened a new location in Tempe to better serve students and residents in the East Valley. The location, RSC Southern, located at Southern Avenue and the 101, officially opened its doors at this week during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

“What was once an empty shopping plaza now stands as a beacon to residents to improve their lives through the power of education,” said Dr. Jo Jorgenson, Rio Salado College’s dean of instruction and community development.

Open since June, RSC Southern has served more than 400 students through its College Bridge Pathways programs that include adult basic education, GED prep and English Language Acquisition for Adults classes.

The location also offers a testing center, academic advising, counseling, tutoring and other college support services, and is the future home of the East Valley Veterans Education Center.

"The new RSC Southern location provides expanded access to student services for our online students as well as educational opportunities for College Bridge Pathways students,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College.

One of those College Bridge Pathway students is Tempe resident Vincent Smalley, a student who recently earned his GED after taking prep classes at RSC Southern.

“I was homeschooled for a majority of my life,” Smalley said. “If it weren’t for Rio Salado and its passionate commitment to the success of their students, I’d still be the same old me.”

Smalley credits Rio with more than just giving him an education.

“Everything I did in class not only improved my learning capabilities, but also changed the way I felt about myself,” Smalley said. “It gave me a sense of accomplishment and proved that I have what it takes to succeed.”

RSC Southern also benefits the East Valley by partnering with local community organizations.

“This location responds to a Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) initiative that calls for the creation of educational empowerment zones,” Bustamante said. “These regional zones bring together cities, social service agencies, businesses and educational institutions to strengthen the surrounding communities.”

MCCCD Chancellor Rufus Glasper echoed the importance of community involvement.

“Imagine an empowerment zone in your community – bringing all those minds together with inclusiveness, engagement and respect,” Glasper said. “When we think of our future, it will be through partnerships, not by operating in individual silos.”

Rio Salado College is the largest online public community college in the nation serving more than 65,000 students annually with more than 40,000 students on line. The college enrolls more than 2,300 Tempe residents annually.

RSC Southern is located at 3320 S. Price Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282. It is open Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday – Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This story can also be read in the November 15 edition of The Tempe Republic.