Friday, August 29, 2014

PBS NewsHour Twitter Chat with J. McGrath.

Rio Salado’s Vice President of Academic Affairs Jennifer McGrath engaged in a lively online discussion about entrepreneurship in higher education during the PBS NewsHour Twitter chat, "Should Colleges be Run Like Business?"
McGrath, an invited participant, tweeted answers to questions posed by PBS NewsHour Audience Engagement Specialist Nora Daly.

Participants of the chat included David Attis, the senior director of academic research with the Education Advisory Board, The Hechinger Report, Northern Arizona University and others.

Topics discussed included:
  • Is it beneficial to have a CEO with managerial and administrative background, rather than a dean who rose up through the ranks of academia?
  • Would students gain if they were thought of as “customers?"
  • What are the potential drawbacks?

Sparking this conversation was an article by Jon Marcus of The Hechinger Report on recent innovations at Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community College District. The article and Twitter chat were part of a week-long PBS NewsHour series on various innovations and initiatives aimed at making college more accessible and affordable.

Missed the chat? Here's a transcript of the conversation.

5 Tips for Book Advances

Need funds to purchase books? Take a look at Rio Salado’s Book Advance Program to see if you are eligible. Each semester, Rio Salado College initiates a one-time only book advance that eligible students can use to purchase text books and supplies for upcoming classes.
Here are five tips to follow if you opt to receive a book advance:
  1. Review the financial aid terms and conditions to ensure you qualify to receive a book advance.
  2. Use the Maricopa Student Refund Program for the fastest way to have book advance and financial aid funds delivered.
  3. Monitor your Gmail account for notification. Enrollment instructions for MSRP will be sent through the student center.
  4. Use caution when purchasing course materials from a third party. Advance funds are not restricted to the Rio Salado College bookstore, but investigate the options.
  5. Know that book advance funds may not be an appropriate option if you prefer to purchase books prior to the first day of class.
Here's a look at the typical Book Advance timeline:

  • Funds are posted to the Rio Salado College account 6-9 days prior to the start of class.
  • Funds can take 4-6 business days to be received by City Prepaid Services.
  • Funds that are deposited on a holiday or weekend may take even longer.
  • Remaining financial aid funds will not be available until two weeks after the start of class.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Join in on PBS Twitter Chat

On Thursday Aug. 28, Rio Salado’s vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Jennifer McGrath, will be a participant in a PBS NewsHour Twitter chat on "Rethinking College."
Courtesy PBS NewsHour
Follow the conversation and join in by using the hashtag #NewsHourChats on Twitter from 10-11 a.m. Arizona time, 1-2 p.m. EDT.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AZ Military/Veteran Women's Fair

Today, there are thousands of women on Active Duty who enlisted from or are stationed in the State of Arizona. In addition, more than 59,000 women veterans now live in Arizona.

The increase in the number of women serving in the military over the past few years has increased the need for supportive and specialized services for military and veteran women.

To help meet the needs of these women, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, in partnership with the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, will team up to hold the Arizona Military/Veteran Women’s Health & Knowledge Fair.

The fair is designed as a family-friendly event and offered in both Phoenix and Tucson at the VA Hospital on Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. The fair will focus on health services, skill building, benefits and resources.

"As the Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, it’s important to make sure that all of Arizona’s veterans are served," said Ted Vogt in his message on the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services website.

For more information and to register for the Tucson Health & Knowledge Fair please click here.

Rio Salado College is committed to helping active duty service members, veterans and their families through its Veterans Affairs office and the East Valley Veterans Education Center – by providing educational outreach, college advisement and other specialized services-- at no cost.

Visit or call 480-517-8153 for more details about Rio Salado’s Veteran’s Affairs office. Visit or call 480-384-9850 for more details about the EVVEC.

Labor Day Closure Sept. 1

Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community Colleges will be closed Monday, Sept. 1, in observance of Labor Day.

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Titles at the Rio Salado Library

Here is what’s new in the Rio Salado College Library!

This list is updated throughout the month as new books arrive. To view
the complete list of new titles from previous months, please see the
Library New Titles Archive.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Early Childcare Workshops for EV Parents

Victoria Diforte and Cindy Radebaugh, Shining Stars owners.
Work is like play for Victoria Diforte. She can’t think of a better profession.

“I don’t think there are any other jobs where you get to be hugged and kissed and play all day,” said Diforte—a parent, owner and director of Shining Stars Learning Center in Queen Creek, Arizona, who will share her passion for and expertise in early childhood education during a community workshop series at the Communiversity at Queen Creek, Aug. 27, 2014 through June 23, 2015.

The free monthly classes are based on a training program developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning at Vanderbilt University, which promotes the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and school readiness by the age of five.

“So much change happens in the first few years and you can have a great impact,” said Diforte, who will also impart some of her 17 years of experience as an early childhood education specialist. Diforte has a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction, with an early education endorsement from ASU. She is also a certified K-8 teacher.

The workshop will include information on how infants and toddlers develop, parenting techniques, teaching skills and where to find community resources and services.

Diforte, who recently joined Rio Salado’s adjunct faculty team, is collaborating with the college to make early childhood education accessible to parents and professionals alike.

“I’ve worked with Rio on other community projects and I think it’s great that they’re here in Queen Creek and placing an emphasis on early childhood education,” said Diforte. “There aren’t a whole lot of educational options close by and to provide these educational opportunities is exciting.”

“We’re offering these non-credit classes as a community service for parents, foster parents, and early childhood professionals—who can in-turn learn some tips on how to work with parents,” said Rene Manning, Rio Salado’s Senior Manager of Corporate and Government Partnerships for the Early Childhood and Human Development Undergraduate Program.

“There are approximately 100 childcare providers in the Town of Queen Creek and surrounding communities—including homecare providers, child care centers, school districts, and head start programs— so there is an obvious need for this kind of instruction,” said Manning.

Participants will earn a two-hour training certificate upon completion of each class. The classes meet Arizona’s Children Association and A Place to Call Home training requirements.

Workshops are FREE and take place 6-8 p.m.

  • Aug.27– Making a Connection
  • Sept. 24– Making it Happen
  • Oct. 21 – Why Do Children Do What They Do? 
  • Nov. 18 – Recognizing and dealing with Childhood Trauma 
  • Dec. 16 – Teach Me What to Do! 
  • Jan. 20, 2015 – Facing the Challenge, Pt. 1 
  • Feb. 18 – Facing the Challenge, Pt. 2 
  • Mar. 24 – Infant/Toddler development 
  • April 21 – Kindergarten Readiness 
  • May 19 – Health and Safety June 23 – Community Resources and Services
Child care available through Shining Star for $20. Scholarships are available.

Register online at or call (480) 888-9545.

Child care provided by Shining Stars Learning Center, 21805 S. Ellsworth Road, Suite B101, across the street from the Communiversity at QC, 21740 S. Ellsworth Road.

By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.

Friday, August 22, 2014

SIS Down for Maintenance Aug. 24

The Maricopa Community College District’s Information Technology department will perform maintenance on the SIS system on Sunday, August 24, from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Services impacted and unavailable during maintenance include:

  • Login to Student and Faculty Centers
  • Find a Class and Catalog Search
  • Password Reset Tools
  • Student Self Service Payment Processing (via TouchNet service)
RioLearn should not be affected, but it may cause a delay in seeing classes.

Thank you for your patience as the ITS division performs this maintenance.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

EVVEC Outreach Events for Vets

The East Valley Veterans Education Center (EVVEC) is on the move! Representatives will be visiting campuses throughout the fall months to provide college advisement services to veterans and their family members at no cost. It's a "one-stop-shop" to get information about community and educational resources.

Campus Visits

All visits will take place from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the following locations:
Gateway Community College – 8/26 and 10/28
Scottsdale Community College – 09/02 and 11/04
Mesa Community College – 9/16 and 11/12
South Mountain Community College – 9/30 and 11/18
Chandler-Gilbert Community College – 10/14 and 12/2


Need to refresh basic skills? EVVEC will be offering ongoing developmental courses in English, math and computer literacy beginning Sept. 2. Classes are 60 days in length, open-enter/open-exit (start on any date), and run Mon.-Thurs. from 2 -5 p.m. at EVVEC.

Beginning Oct. 20, an eight-week veteran-themed cohort of CPD150 and PSY101 will be offered. Please contact the EVVEC for more details.


Special onsite workshops at EVVEC will begin Sept. 23, with topics that include Financial Literacy, Job Readiness and VA Information Presentations. More details to follow.

For more information on any of these services, contact The East Valley Veterans Education Center, 3320 S. Price Rd., Tempe. Phone: 480-384-9850 or visit EVVEC Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Are You Prepared for the Elections?

Your vote counts! Exercise your rights and engage in the dialogue to make your voice heard. Here are some ways for you to participate this election season. 

Important Dates

  • Primary Election: 8/26
  • National Voter Registration Day: 9/23
  • Registration Deadline for General: 10/6
  • General Election: 11/4

Elections Resources Project VoteSmart is a nonpartisan, privately funded organization “working hard to strengthen the most component of democracy – access to information."

Maricopa County Recorder: The recorder’s office will have information about upcoming elections deadlines as well as links for people to register to vote, including sign-up for the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL).

Arizona Capitol Times: The Arizona Capitol Times has a splash page covering the latest developments in local and statewide races.

Arizona Republic/AZCentral: The My Ballot guide on azcentral gives voters a place to peruse information specific to their locality by providing their zip code.

iSideWith: For those who are undecided, and need help cutting through the noise and hype to the heart of the issues, iSideWith provides an inventory of multiple questions related to political typology and public policy issues, and returns a report of which candidates and parties one “sides with."

Center For Civic Participation: If you require assistance with your voter registration/education drives in the form of materials or trainings, simply put in a request for service.

National Voter Registration Day: Single day, coordinated efforts at voter registration.

MCCCD Governing Board Forums  

Employees, students, and community members are strongly encouraged to attend the candidate forums for MCCCD Governing Board elections and to submit questions to be posed to the candidates.

All forums are from 6 - 8 p.m.

District 3
9/3/14 Paradise Valley Community College East KSC‐1000B
9/4/14 Phoenix College Dome Conference Room

District 4
9/10/14 Estrella Mountain Community College Estrella Conference Center
9/12/14 Glendale Community College Student Union—Palm Court

District 5
9/17/14 South Mountain Community College Library Community Room

At Large
9/26/14 Rio Salado Community College RIO Conference Center
9/24/14 Scottsdale Community College Student Center

Want to get more involved? Check out Rio Salado's Student Life and Leadership groups for more engagement opportunities. Read more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sign Up for SPOT 127 Program

KJZZ's award-winning youth media center, SPOT 127, is now accepting applications for its free after-school program.

This program provides instruction and mentoring in digital photography, audio production, video production and journalism to Valley high school students. Participants create original content while learning from professional journalists and industry experts.

Students attend two days per week from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the entire semester at SPOT 127’s state-of-the-art facility in West Phoenix. All equipment, including computers, software, cameras and audio recorders, is provided.

Last year, two students won a National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Student Production Award for one of their video projects. Neither teenager had any video experience before joining SPOT 127.

Classes begin Sept. 8 and Sept. 9. Space is limited to 60 students, and spots are filling up fast! To apply or get more information, please visit

KJZZ and Spot 127 are a community service of Rio Salado College.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The College Within Everyone's Reach

Rio Salado grad Kristi Houston
If you’re a new student or helping someone begin a college career and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process—you’re not alone. Here’s a look at some of the most common challenges new students face and solutions Rio Salado can provide to help you succeed.

Time is an issue for just about everyone. For Kristi Houston of Springerville, Arizona, time and accessibility were major challenges. “Being able to take classes online, on my schedule, is what made it all possible,” said Houston, who earned an associate degree from Rio Salado in computer technology in May 2014.

Rio Salado opened its doors to the public in 1978 as “the college within everyone’s reach,” with the mission of making education accessible to anyone with a passion for learning. Along the way it has become a pioneer and innovative leader in online learning. Today, Rio Salado’s flexible Monday start dates, 600+ online classes, evening, in-person and hybrid classes give full-time workers, parents and other busy individuals the flexibility to learn on their time and terms.

Without a doubt, cost and affordability weigh heavy on students’ minds. Two-thirds of respondents in a 2014 College Savings Foundation survey said their obligation to support family was the primary reason they were not continuing their education.

As a Maricopa Community College, Rio Salado offers classes at $84 a credit—a fraction of the tuition of many four-year colleges—while providing the same general education required by many universities. The college also has agreements with 40+ universities to help students seamlessly transfer their credits toward specific degree programs.

According to the Chronicle for Higher Education, nearly 60-percent of new students across the nation require some kind of remedial or developmental coursework. At Rio Salado, it’s approximately 69-percent.

Rio Salado has a variety of programs and services designed to help veterans and civilians alike meet the fundamental challenges of learning and transitioning back into the classroom through specialized remedial coursework and tutoring.

Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways also help adult learners prep for GED© exams, acquire English language skills, strengthen academic skills, build confidence and launch a college career.

Rio Salado grad Gina Boesch
“I know that the skills I learned at Rio Salado and the support I received from the staff and faculty have given me the tools and confidence I need to succeed in my career,” said 2012 Commencement speaker Gina Boesch, who was recently accepted into ASU’s Master of Education and Arizona Teacher Certification (InMAC) program.

“What Rio Salado is doing for adult students like me is life changing,” said Boesh, who encouraged her husband and friend to attend Rio Saldo, both of whom graduated with associate degrees in May 2014.”

Regardless of your starting point or challenges, Rio Salado is ready to help with personalized advisement, assistance with registration, financial aid, start-up scholarships and orientation programs to introduce you to college life and online learning.

To learn more call 480-517-8580 or visit 

This story can also be found in the Aug. 16 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Titles at Rio Salado College Library

Here is what’s new at the Rio Salado Library:




This list is updated throughout the month as new books arrive. To view the complete
list of new titles from previous months, please see the Library New Titles Archive.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rio Salado Catalog Now Online

The new 2014-15 Rio Salado College Catalog is now online at

The catalog is a comprehensive guide to Rio Salado College’s mission, academic information, areas of study, tuition, policies, and more. It includes information on Rio Salado’s student support services, registration, financial services, educational partnerships and Maricopa Community College District-wide programs.

Check it out today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Communiversity Hosts Parent Workshops

The Communiversity at Queen Creek is hosting a series of free Parent Workshops presented by Rio Salado's Early Childhood and Human Development Program and Shining Stars Learning Center.

The workshops begin August 27, 2014, and run through June 23, 2015. The classes are held at the Communiversity at Queen Creek, and take place from 5-7 p.m. These non-credit classes are a community service for parents, foster parents, and early childhood professionals.

The monthly classes are based on a training program developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning at Vanderbilt University, which promotes the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and school readiness by the age of five.

Cost per workshop is $20 and includes child care at Shining Stars Learning Center. Scholarships are available. Participants earn two-hour training certificates for each workshop.

The Communiversity at Queen Creek is located at 21740 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek. Shining Stars Learning Center is across the street at 21805 S. Ellsworth Road, Suite B101.

Register online at or call (480) 888-9545.

Workshops are FREE and take place 5-7 p.m.
August 27, Session 1 – Making a Connection
September 24, Session 2 – Making it Happen
October 21, Session 3 – Why Do Children Do What They Do?
November 18, Session 4 – Recognizing and dealing with Childhood trauma
December 16, Session 5 – Teach Me What to Do!
January 20, 2015, Session 6 – Facing the Challenge (Part 1)
February 18, Session 7 – Facing the Challenge (Part 2)
March 24, Session 8 – Infant/Toddler development
April 21, Session 9 – Kindergarten Readiness
May 19, Session 10 – Health and Safety
June 23, Session 11 – Community Resources and Services

Sun Sounds Volunteer Honored

Congratulations to Tempe Sun Sounds Volunteer Roger Ferland who was named the 2014 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year, the highest accolade from the Disabled American Veterans.

Serving as a squad leader and platoon sergeant during the war in 1968, Ferland lost both legs and sustained severe injuries to his arm.

Today, Ferland believes in giving back. After practicing law for more than 35 years, he worked with his local DAV to spearhead legal clinics run by the State Bar of Arizona where more than 300 lawyers provide pro bono legal assistance to veterans, particularly in the much-needed area of family law.

Ferland was profiled in a recent article in the Arizona Republic. Learn more about how Ferland serves his community in this video.

Sun Sounds of Arizona provides audio access to printed information for anyone with a disability that makes reading print difficult. Sun Sounds of Arizona is part of the Division of Public Service at Rio Salado College, one of the ten Maricopa County Community Colleges.

NSLS Promotes Leadership, Camaraderie

Students at Rio Salado College are primarily online, and many don’t know that there are clubs to join that offer opportunities to interact with other students while also developing important life skills.

One such club is the National Society of Leadership and Success. Rio Salado’s chapter formed last year, and already students are touting the advantages of joining.

“The best part is belonging to a group of people who have similar career goals as I do,” said business student Julie Weiss. “The society also teaches life skills, professional skills, and the importance of having a support group to encourage you along your path.”

The society promotes helping people discover and achieve their goals through networking events and live speaker presentations that are streamed at chapter locations nationwide.

Last year’s speaker lineup included rapper Common, CNBC host Jim Cramer, and CEO Carly Fiorina.

“I enjoyed having access to professional people giving lectures on what they have learned that made them successful in their chosen career path,” Weiss said. “There is a profound motivation that can be found by listening to their stories of both success and failure.”

John Bastian, Coordinator of Student Life and Leadership at Rio Salado and co-advisor of the NSLS student chapter, said students benefit from being part of the group on four different levels.

“The first benefit is connecting students with the college and with other students,” Bastian said. “The second is the development of leadership skills. The third is having students reflect on their interests and goals, and finally, formulating the steps to reach their goals.”

Weiss, who plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University after earning her associate degree, found learning to work in a group setting especially rewarding.

“The chapter’s success networking teams show the importance of accountability, the advantages of brainstorming, and the helpfulness of support to obtain personal and professional goals,” Weiss said. “You never know who might be able to help you.”

Asking for assistance and support is one of the group’s foundations.

“Especially since we are an online school, many students really value the process of connecting with and supporting other students,” Bastian said. “The success teams are a great vehicle for students to reach their goals because they provide support and accountability as students commit to taking specific steps to make progress on their goals.”

Students who join Rio Salado’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success chapter and complete the required membership activities are inducted into the national organization.

Weiss was among 40+ Rio Salado students who were inducted into the society in May.

“Being inducted gives me a great sense of accomplishment and pride because of all the steps it takes to get here,” Weiss said. “It’s also a great thing to include on your resume.”

Other Rio Salado groups students can join include the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the Student Public Policy Forum and the All-Arizona Academic Team.

For more details, contact Rio Salado Student Life and Leadership Coordinator John Bastian at or 480-517-8656.

This story can also be found in the Aug. 10 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Aug. 9 is National Book Lovers Day

To celebrate National Book Lovers Day, the Rio Salado Library would like to recommend books from the following list, originally published at Goodreads.

32 Books That Will Change Your Life:

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Push, by Sapphire
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death, by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Play It as It Lays, by Joan Didion
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
White Oleander, by Janet Fitch
Invisible Monsters, by Chuck Palahniuk
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer
Ada, or Ardor, by Vladimir Nabokov
Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Persig
A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
It, by Stephen King
Niels Lyhne, by Jens Peter Jacobsen
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron
The Beautiful and the Damned, Volume I, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Note: Any title that is not available at the Rio Salado Library can be requested. Simply click on the "Place Hold" option located in the item record to have the item routed for pick up at the community college that is most conveniently located to you. You will need your MEID and password to complete the process.

Image by Calvin YC under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

KJZZ 91.5 FM Launches New Travel Club

KJZZ 91.5 FM, a service of Rio Salado College Division of Public Service, recently launched the KJZZ Travel Club. The travel club is available to sustaining members who donate $10 a month or more to the public radio station. In addition to connecting KJZZ members with a community who shares their interest in travel, adventure and new experiences, travel club members will also have access to:
  • KJZZ-hosted trips to destinations in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Free admission to the KJZZ Travel and Discovery Expo.
  • Exclusive discounts and special offers from Travel Expo exhibitors.
  • KJZZ Travel Club Facebook Group.
  • Webinars and other informational events.
  • Annual gathering with fellow travelers celebrating the year’s adventures.
To learn more about the travel club and its upcoming trip to Ireland and Scotland visit