Showing posts with label Faculty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faculty. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What Does it Take to Meet Student Expectations?

snapshot of EvoLLution web page featuring story.  Image of young student smiling at camera.  Text: Scaling Personalization: What It Takes To Meet The Expectations of Today’s Students.  Rachelle Clarke | Dean of Enrollment Services, Rio Salado —With Shannon McCarty | Dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs, Rio Salado Community College.  Caption under studnt photo: By leveraging technological tools and taking strides in understanding and grouping students, institutions can deliver the highly personalized experience learners expect at scale.
Rio Salado Dean of Enrollment Services Rachelle Clarke joined Dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs Shannon McCarty to share insights and perspectives with The EvoLLLution team about the use of technology in meeting the expectations, demands and needs of today's students.

In this interview, Clarke and McCarty focus on the importance of personalization and customization of services-- and how technology can help educational institutions improve their student services, experiences and successes.

Read the full interview now

Your thoughts? Engage in the dialogue!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Innovating Language Education

Snapshot of NMC web header, two, multi-national students engaged in conversation

The New Media Consortium (NMC) recently published a report called Innovating Language Education: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, which provides insights about language education trends, challenges and opportunities to improve student proficiencies and cultural awareness through the use of new technologies.

Angela Felix photo
Among the NMC editorial board members contributing to the 2016 report was Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Languages Angela Felix, who addressed matters of personalized learning strategies.

"Done well, personalized learning can serve to celebrate and validate what heritage speakers already know, which can increase their academic confidence and foster a willingness to spend more time on what needs improvement," said Felix. "Adopting a curriculum that adapts to these learners' needs means that they are not sitting idly by while their classmates struggle with vocabulary and pronunciation that the heritage speakers learned growing up; they can focus on honing the language skills they will need to be successful in academic and professional settings.”

image of a medical professional conversing with a patientThe report also addresses the importance of educational institutions creating partnerships with government and industry to advance the field of language education. Included as a proof of concept is Rio Salado’s online Spanish Medical Interpreting curriculum, which was developed in partnership with Phoenix Children's Hospital in response to the urgent need for qualified interpreters in healthcare settings. Content from the two online classes has earned national accreditation from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.

Students who complete the classes can apply for a 40-hour externship, which provides opportunities for real-life interpreting experiences at hospitals, clinics, and organizations. See related story and Rio Salado’s Spanish for Medical Interpretation web page for additional details.

image of report cover
The full report, which is available online, was commissioned by the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC) at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

The New Media Consortium is a community of hundreds of leading universities, colleges, museums, and research centers. The NMC stimulates and furthers the exploration and use of new media and technologies for learning and creative expression.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Rio Visits Wilson Elementary Bearing Gifts

Image of Wilson Elementary students and teachers alongside Rio Salado College staff at front entrance of school.  Donations are in gift bags in front.

Rio Salado staff visited Wilson Elementary School in Phoenix to drop off book and supply donations that were collected during the college's 2015 Valley of the Sun United Way Giving Campaign!

The group, which included Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. LeRodrick Terry, staff from the Teacher Education department and members of Rio Salado's United Way committee, met with 4th-8th grade teachers and students on Friday, Dec. 11 to share the donations.

Image of Rio staff with Wilson teachers and students after presentation.

 “As educators, we have a responsibility to serve our communities," said Dr. Terry. "Interacting with people from the community reminds me of why we do what we do. Our purpose as an institution and as people are made clearer when we take the time to serve.”
A big thank you to Rio Salado staff, students and members of our community who dropped off book donations and monetary gifts during our fall campaign.

Visit our Facebook page for additional photos.

United Way poster: Give. Advocate. Volunteer.  Live United.  Montage of images featuring volunteers and people who benefit from UW services.

To learn about ways you can give, advocate and volunteer with the Valley of the Sun United Way, visit

Monday, December 7, 2015

MCCCD Chancellor Announces Retirement

After nearly 13 years as Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges, Rufus Glasper, Ph.D. will retire to accept a position as President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College (League).

Dr. Glasper has served The Maricopa Community Colleges, one of the nation’s largest community college systems, for more than 29 years in a variety of roles from director of finance, CFO and Vice Chancellor. He was named Chancellor in 2003.

The League, based in Chandler, Ariz., is an international nonprofit organization that provides strategic insights and undertakes policy work for the more than 800 institutions holding memberships in its League Alliance. The Maricopa Community Colleges is a member of the League.

“This decision was not an easy one,” Dr. Glasper wrote in a memo to Maricopa employees today. “I believe that the many organizational and academic initiatives that are now in motion throughout the Maricopa Community Colleges are well on their way to enhancing the District’s position as a leader among community colleges nationally.”

“As I have had the privilege to provide vision for initiatives impacting student success and innovation for our colleges, I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to now provide leadership in the community college arena on a national scale,” Dr. Glasper added.

Learn more in this official press release.

We join our community in thanking Chancellor Glasper for his years of service and leadership. We wish you well on your new educational journey.

Rosalynn Carter Meet on Mental Health Policy

Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program Kirk Bowden attended the 31st Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, Nov 12-13, 2015. The Symposium, which was titled Help Wanted: Reshaping the Behavioral Health Workforce, was chaired by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter at the Carter Center and Presidential Library in Atlanta, Georgia.

Watch the archived webcast of the 2015 symposium.
“I was amazed by the dedication that the Carters have to improving the lives of people who suffer from mental illness,” said Bowden. “The Carters have had a huge impact on improving mental health care not only in the United States but internationally.
Attendance at the symposium was by personal invitation only. Bowden was among approximately 70 of the nation's leading mental health experts in attendance.

“Rosalynn Carter attended the entire conference and chaired most sessions. Her friendliness, openness and dedication to serving others was evident-- and an inspiration,” said Bowden.

History of the symposium
In 1985, former first lady Rosalynn Carter initiated the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy to bring together national leaders in mental health to focus and coordinate their efforts on an issue of common concern.

The symposia provide a unique opportunity for the attendees to hear remarks from a variety of individuals with expertise on a selected topic; discuss diverse viewpoints in an open forum; identify areas of consensus and potential collaborations as well as points of divergence; and to recommend action steps for symposium participants to move an agenda forward.

Image of Rosalynn Carter and photo from symposia panel discussion.

Held each November, the symposia have examined such issues as mental illness and the elderly, child and adolescent illness, family coping, financing mental health services and research, treating mental illness in the primary care setting, and stigma and mental illness.

In addition to the symposium, the Mental Health Program hosts another annual meeting to tackle pressing issues in mental health policy, the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum, held each May since 1995 for state mental health organizations.

For more details about the Carter Center Mental Health Programs, visit this web page

Bowden, PhD, MAC, NCC, LPC, has been serving as President of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals since Oct. 2014. He also serves on the Editorial Advisory Committee for NAADAC’s Advances in Addiction & Recovery magazine. While serving in many capacities for NAADAC through the years, Kirk has also served as Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program, Director of the Department of Professional Counseling and Addiction Studies at Grand Canyon University, President of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (IN CASE), and as a steering committee member for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Partners for Recovery, and the Higher Education Accreditation and Competencies expert panel for SAMHSA/CSAT.

Bowden was recognized by the Arizona Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors as Advocate of the Year for 2010, and by the American Counseling Association for the Counselor Educator Advocacy Award in 2013, the Fellow Award in 2014, and most recently for the Outstanding Addiction/Offender Professional Award in 2015.

logo for Ariazona Board of Behavioral Health
The Arizona Board of Behavioral Health recently appointed Bowden to a three year term as one of three members of the Substance Abuse Academic Review Committee (ARC), which elected him to serve as chair. The ARC is a crucial part of the board's licensing process and will be responsible for reviewing applications from individuals applying for licensure in Arizona. The ARC will also review applications from regionally accredited colleges and universities for approval of their addiction counseling degree programs.

image of Rio Salado headquarters.
Rio Salado College is one of Arizona’s top educators of addictions counseling professionals, offering online classes, certificates and an associate degree in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders. 

Bowden leads a team of faculty who are experts in the field. 

“We are here to provide quality instruction to students and leadership in the industry.” Said Bowden. 

For information about Rio Salado’s Behavioral Health/Addictions and Substance Use Disorders program, visit or call on our Academic Advisement team at 480-517-8580.

Photo 1: Bowden with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Executive Director of NAADAC Cynthia Moreno Tuohy.

Photo 2: Bowden and Moreno Tuohy with former United States Surgeon General Dr David Sacher.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Working to Resolve RioLearn Access

Dear students, we are working to resolve technical issues with RioLearn that are posing problems with submitting assignments and exams. 

If you have an assignment or exam due today and need an extension, please refer to our Instructional Helpdesk “request an extension" link at:  

Go directly to the instruction form now:  

We will keep you posted on our progress.

We appreciate your patience.

Monday, November 9, 2015

New Scholarship Oppty for Insurance Studies!

Poster for scholarship.  Image of three peopel gathered around a table.  Text: Ensure Your Future.  New Scholarship Available!

Ready to jump-start your career in the insurance industry?

Here's a new ‪scholarship‬ opportunity for you to begin Rio Salado's new ‪Insurance‬ Studies program! 

Apply now.

The Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Insurance Studies focuses on general knowledge of the insurance industry, and touches on property and liability insurance, personal insurance and commercial insurance.

Students who complete the certificate can transfer to a variety of business programs offered at Arizona's public universities.

Rio Salado College collaborated with Glendale and Mesa Community Colleges, the Maricopa Community College District  and 35 insurance professionals from 20 different insurance companies to develop the program. Learn more about the development and purpose of this program in this blog post.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Live United: Connecting with our Communities

Montage of images from United Way Project Connect day.  Text: Give. Advocate. Volunteer.  Live United.  United Way.

Rio Salado College embraces community outreach and service. Each year, the college participates in the annual United Way campaign in a variety of efforts including book drives, fundraising activities and community service. 

Image of Dr. Terry registering to volunteer

Last week, Rio Salado’s Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. LeRodrick Terry participated in a United Way Project Connect event in Tempe to benefit the homeless.

Project Connect helps those in need on their journey to health, financial stability, and housing by bringing over 50 service providers to one location.

image of someone getting a hair cut.

This event allows individuals and families to receive numerous services in one day that could normally take days, weeks, or months on their own.

“I believe as educators, we have a responsibility to serve our communities,” Terry said. “Just as teaching and learning surpass the walls of traditional educational settings, the same is true in regards to the impact created through community service and outreach.”

back of a volunteer.  T-shirt reads: "...because we are all connected."

Terry said participating in the Project Connect event was enlightening on many levels.

“Interacting with people from the community reminds me of why we do what we do,” Terry said. Our purpose as an institution and as people are made clearer when we take the time to serve.”

He recounted this memorable interaction:

Image of Dr. Terry talking to another volunteer as his companion Carol shops.

“As I went around from one resource to another, I got to know my participant. Her name was Carol. She shared her testimony. She was adamant that she didn’t come for a hand out. She did not want charity. She wanted access and information to assist her in taking advantage of available resources. Even though she was enduring intolerable hardships, her dignity was still intact. Our conversation and interaction was inspirational. In sharing her story, she exemplified the strength of the human spirit.”

In addition to Project Connect, the United Way offers many ways for people to get involved in their communities.
Image of Dr. Terry shaking hands with another volunteer

“You can volunteer a few hours of your time and/or commit to a modest financial donation,” Terry said. “In this act, you have the ability to become a change agent, and the opportunity to make a difference.”

Additional volunteer opportunities with the Valley of the Sun United Way include WeekEnd Hunger backpack assembly, Generation United kids care, Make a Difference Day, literacy fairs, serving Thanksgiving dinner at community centers and shelters, and more. Visit to learn more about the Valley of the Sun United Way and how you can make a difference all year long.

For more information about Rio Salado United Way initiatives and how you can get involved, visit this blog.   

Check out this Facebook album for additional photos.

By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Renewed Commitment to ‪#‎ClimateLeadership!

Image of MCCCD Executive Council signing sustainability commitment

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Chancellor Rufus Glasper and his Executive Council reaffirmed the Maricopa Community Colleges' commitment to sustainability. Each member signed the 2015 Climate Leadership Network (formerly ACUPCC) Integrated Climate Leadership Commitment.

Rio Salado College is proud to join MCCCD and the Network in their commitment to building a sustainable global future and to renew our pledge to develop innovative, sustainable solutions as a college!

At Rio Salado, sustainability is more than just "thinking green," it's a way of life! 

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children ~ Native American Proverb 

To learn more about our commitment to sustainability, visit

#‎ClimateLeadership #‎ClimateChange‬ ‪#‎HigherEd‬ ‪#‎Sustainability‬ ‪#‎ActOnClimate‬

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rio Gets 2.6 Million First in the World Grant!

monument of rio wave logo

Rio Salado College is one of 17 schools nationwide to be awarded a First in the World (FITW) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The $2.6 million grant will be dispersed over the next four years and will be used to support innovation and improve student outcomes.

President Bustamante with 2015 workplace training graduates.
“I am excited about the opportunities this funding brings to the college and the support it will provide to our students,” said Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “This recognition validates our innovative practices and reflects our commitment to help underserved students achieve their educational goals.”

Michael Medlock photosAccording to Michael Medlock, interim dean of instructional technology at Rio Salado, the grant award will be used to design and implement an innovative model to improve teaching and learning for at-need students.

“The grant will allow Rio Salado College to pursue new research-supported initiatives that will help students by using three strategies: creating a clear course pathway, personalizing the learning, and providing a success coach to meet student needs along the way,” Medlock said.
Shannon McCarty photo
Shannon McCarty, dean of instruction and academic affairs at Rio Salado, said the target population will be new students pursuing an associate degree or transferring to a four-year institution.

“Rio Salado is known for being an innovator in higher education,” McCarty said. “We look forward to continuing that tradition and redesigning the college experience for our students.”

image of three female students working at computers.
The new model joins other notable student success initiatives at Rio Salado College: RioCompass, a completion portal that allows students to monitor progress toward degree completion, and RioPACE, a predictive analytics system that tracks student login frequency, site engagement, and course progress to increase student awareness and accountability.

Image of a Rio instructor offering guidance to students in a student lab About FITW grant and program
The FITW grant program was created in 2014 by the Obama Administration to drive innovation and keep a higher education within reach for all Americans. Of the Rio Salado College grant award, 100% of the $2.6M project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education - Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

The FITW program is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions and evidence for what works in addressing persistent and widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not persisting in and completing postsecondary programs, including, but not limited to, adult learners, working students, part-time students, students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, students with disabilities, and first-generation students.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rio Introduces New Insurance Studies Program

Summit banner: Rio Salado Arizona 2015 Insurance Summit

Rio Salado College hosted the Arizona 2015 Insurance Summit to introduce a new Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Insurance Studies and to discuss the program’s importance and potential economic impact on the state with community leaders and insurance industry experts on September 23 at the Rio Salado Conference Center in Tempe.

The CCL, which is the first of its kind in Arizona and for community colleges, was created in direct response to industry need—to help local employees prepare for a career in the fast-growing insurance industry, while helping the industry fill current positions and projected employment shortfalls with qualified candidates.

otis white photo

“There were no programs like this in Maricopa County to prepare graduates for jobs in the insurance industry, which has a significant presence in Arizona,” said Otis White, Rio Salado’s faculty chair for business programs, who played a key role in the development of the program. “So we consulted with local industry professionals to design a certificate that addresses those needs.”

Rio Salado College collaborated with Glendale (GCC) and Mesa (MCC) Community Colleges, the Maricopa Community College District (MCCCD) and 35 insurance professionals from 20 different insurance companies to develop the program.

poster: ensure your future

As a result, an 18-credit certificate was created that focuses on general knowledge of the insurance industry, and touches on property and liability insurance, personal insurance and commercial insurance. Students have the option of taking online classes at Rio Salado, which offers flexible Monday start dates, and in-person classes at GCC and MCC. Students who complete the certificate can transfer in to a variety of business programs offered at the three public Arizona universities.

“The collaboration between Rio, MCC, and GCC, and the insurance industry demonstrates our responsiveness to the needs of businesses and residents in our community,” said Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante, who provided opening remarks during the summit. "This new certificate will help create a work-ready, knowledgeable workforce to meet the demands of an industry that currently has unfilled jobs for qualified residents.”

The summit included open remarks by and a panel discussion with MCCCD Associate Vice Chancellor Workforce Development Randy Kimmens; Arizona Insurance Council President, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company Rick Jones; The Institutes Director of Education Connor Harrison; and Arizona House Majority Whip and Representative for LD22 David Livingston. Otis White also served as a panelist and emcee at the event.

Rick Jones of CopperPoint
Summit panelists discussed how the insurance certificate will help fill a projected employment void in the industry due to many employees rapidly reaching retirement age and more Baby Boomers buying health and long-term care insurance and pension products.

According to a recent survey by the Arizona Insurance Workforce Initiative, hiring needs will grow moderately to significantly over the next two years.

Several insurance companies, such as Scottsdale Insurance, Nautilus and CopperPoint are based in Arizona. Other insurance companies such as USAA, State Farm, MetLife, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, GEICO and Farm Bureau have large regional operations in Maricopa County. State Farm in particular is currently expanding its operations in Tempe and will be hiring many new candidates in the coming years.

Among the industry leaders who expressed the importance for the CCL was Chair of Student Engagement for the Arizona Insurance Institute and Arizona CPCU Society Chapter Lamont D. Boyd.

“As the property and casualty insurance industry continues to view Arizona as a growth opportunity for regional office placement and expansion, we need to continue our work with Arizona’s education community to assure that the ‘best and brightest’ students fully understand the value of, and are fully prepared for, an insurance career,’ said Boyd, who also contributed to the development of this certificate.

“The Insurance Certification program now being offered by Rio Salado College, Mesa College and Glendale College has taken a great deal of collaborative effort in development, but efforts that will reward the students, the industry, and Arizona for years to come,” said Boyd.”

Program requirements and additional details are currently available at and Information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attend this program will be available at, and

Major support for this program is made possible by Rio Salado in partnership with GCC, MCC, MCCCD, Arizona Insurance Council, Copper Point, State Farm, MetLife and Arizona Insurance Workforce. Funding is made possible in part by The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and Surplus Line Association of Arizona Foundation.

The Maricopa Community Colleges are EEO/AA Institutions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Review of Addiction Counseling Requirements

Photo of Kirk Bowden

Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program Kirk Bowden published an editorial called My Big Concern for the Addiction Counseling Profession (Part II) for the summer edition of Advances in Addiction & Recovery, a professional journal published by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.

This is a follow up to a spring 2015 editorial published by Bowden about the same subject.

image of fall Advances in Addicition and Recovery magazine

Bowden calls on state behavioral health regulatory/licensing boards to implement a requirement that behavioral health professionals have addiction-specific education and experience before practicing addiction counseling independently. Most states do not have this requirement.

Rio Salado College is one of Arizona’s top educators of addictions counseling professionals, offering online classes, certificates and an associate degree in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders.

“We have a lot of highly-qualified faculty who are experts in the field,” Bowden said. “For example, one adjunct is the author of a textbook that is used nationally and another works as a policy writer for President Obama.”

Bowden himself is well known in the field.

In addition to serving as NAADAC’s President since October 2014, Bowden, PhD, MAC, NCC, LPC, serves on the Editorial Advisory Committee for NAADAC’s Advances in Addiction & Recovery magazine. While serving in many capacities for NAADAC through the years, Kirk has also served as Chair of the Chemical Dependency Counseling Rio Salado College, Director of the Department of Professional Counseling and Addiction Studies at Grand Canyon University, President of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (IN CASE), and as a steering committee member for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Partners for Recovery, and the Higher Education Accreditation and Competencies expert panel for SAMHSA/CSAT.

Bowden was recognized by the Arizona Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors as Advocate of the Year for 2010, and by the American Counseling Association for the Counselor Educator Advocacy Award in 2013, the Fellow Award in 2014, and most recently for the Outstanding Addiction/Offender Professional Award in 2015.

For additional information about Rio Salado’s Behavioral Health/Addictions and Substance Use Disorders program, visit or call Academic Advisement at 480-517-8580.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Free Admission to Phoenix Art Museum!

image of Phoenix Art Museum gallery

The Phoenix Art Museum is offering free general admission to all Maricopa Community Colleges students, faculty and staff from now until June 30, 2016.  

All you have to do is show a current MCC identification.

The Phoenix Art Museum believes that one of its primary functions is to make art accessible to everyone in our community.  The museum offers a variety of programs including tours, a full art research library, and unique programs in conjunction with their exhibitions.

If you're a faculty member interested in leading a group of students on a tour, please contact the school tour line at (602) 257- 4356 at least two weeks prior to the visit date.

This special admission offer does not include family members or specially ticketed events.

For information on current exhibitions, please visit the Phoenix Art Museum at

For additional details, please contact Don Jensen-Bobadilla at or by phone at (480) 731 - 8296.

Thank you Phoenix Art Museum!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rio Salado a Top 30 Online Community College

360 Career named Rio Salado as a top 30 online community college for 2014-15!

We are pleased to share this recognition with Mesa Community College and the Maricopa Community Colleges. Together, we're making education affordable and accessible to a greater number of people.

Thank you for the recognition.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Heartfelt Thanks to Commencement Attendees!

We would like to thank our guests, volunteers, faculty, staff and the graduates who joined us for the 2015 Commencement Ceremony! And congratulations once again to this year's graduates. You truly inspire us.

Stay in touch! We will post high resolution photos on our Facebook account in the next few days that you can upload, tag and share. As you will see, it was a magical evening. We look forward to sharing them with you.

We will also be sharing more stories about the outstanding achievements of the Class of 2015. We encourage you to share your photos and stories with us by sending them to

You will have an opportunity to purchase individual grad photos from GradImages at in the next few weeks. We'll keep you posted on the details.

You can order a DVD of the ceremony for $20 by email request to until May 25. Orders take 6-8 weeks to process

Pictured above, Rio Salado President Dr. Chris Bustamante and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the Maricopa Community College District Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Rio Salado Honors Outstanding Educators

Image of Holly Harper and Kishia Brock.

"When work becomes play, and play becomes your work, your life unfolds." 

That Robert Frost quote rings true for Scottsdale resident Holly Harper and Phoenix resident Kishia Brock. As recipients of the 2014-15 John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards, these educators prove that when you love what you do for a living, it is easy to make a difference in the lives of others.

The national award is given to community college educators who demonstrate excellence in community college teaching and leadership. What makes it even more special is that recipients are nominated by their colleagues.

Harper is the faculty chair of Rio Salado’s dental programs. Among her duties is managing the college dental clinic, which provides discounted preventive dental hygiene services to the public.

Harper at Rio Salado Dental Clinic with volunteer instructors
“What I love most about my job is working with the students in the dental clinic and interacting with patients,” Harper said. “I am also proud to see the students graduate and realize their dreams.”

Harper can relate to her students on another level. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health science 26 years after receiving her associate degree in dental hygiene.

“I know first-hand what it is like to return to school as an adult learner working full-time,” said Harper. “So, to be nationally recognized for teaching excellence leaves me at a loss for words.”

Rio Salado Faculty Senate President Kerrie Specker said Harper was instrumental during the college’s recent successful re-accreditation process of both the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs.

“Holly has a focus on student success, which is evidenced by the success of the dental program,” Specker said. “Last year, both graduating classes had a 100% pass rate on the national and clinical board exams.”

Fellow honoree Brock serves as the newly-appointed vice president of strategy and compliance at the Maricopa County Community College District.

She accepted the post after 17 years at Rio Salado College, where she started her career as a bilingual academic advisor and worked her way up to vice president of student affairs.

“One thing I am most proud of is the development and implementation of Rio’s electronic student file advisement tool,” Brock said. “This system is the backbone for ‘RioCompass,’ which is an online platform for tracking a student’s degree progress.”

RioCompass enables students to set academic and career goals, and mark their progress toward these goals, and instructors to monitor their progress.

“I am also very proud of the online student success helpdesk, which assists 1,000 students each year in pursuing their educational goals,” said Brock.

Both of Brock’s initiatives have received national recognition as effective student success models.

Kishia Brock, left of Bill Gates, during Nov. 2015 visit.
(c) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Mark Makela
“It is an incredible honor to be nominated by my colleagues and wonderful to be recognized for doing work that I absolutely love and feel so fortunate to be involved in every day,” Brock said.
The John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards are made possible by the League for Innovation in the Community College. Visit for more details.

This story can also be found in the April 4, 2015 edition of the Tempe Republic.  By Rio Salado staff writers Annette Flores and Mira Radovich.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Personalized Learning Trumps All

March/April 2015 cover of eCampus News

The March/April 2015 edition of @ecampusnews features a column called, College Presidents Predict New Institutional Models, which includes perspectives from Rio Salado President Dr. Chris Bustamante. 

You can read Dr. Bustamante's article about the subject, Personalized Learning Trumps All on page 10 of the online issue.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Using Entrepreneurial Mindset to Serve Students

Cover or magazine.  Headline: The Entrepreneurial Method & PFEP in Action.  Working in the background fixing a machine.

The 2015 Winter/Spring edition of Community College Entrepreneurship features an article by Rio Salado President Chris Bustamante called, Using the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Serve Students.

You can read it now online. See page 11.

Whether an institution is public, private, not-for-profit, traditional, or non-traditional, an entrepreneurial mindset is critical as we redifine ourselves the ever-changing landscape of higher education.
                                    --Dr. Chris Bustamate

Monday, March 2, 2015

Geeks Night Out Discovers Fun Science

Don’t be fazed if you see Darth Vader, robots or strangely garbed beings descend on Tempe City Hall on Thursday, March 5. It’s not an intergalactic convention, or even a city council meeting. It’s the 4th annual Tempe Geeks Night Out.

Once again, science aficionados will gather in downtown Tempe to highlight interactive displays and sci-fi/pop culture exhibits that blend science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and more.

The event takes place from 4-7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is “Discover the Science.”

Among the many exhibitors will be Rio Salado College.

“We wanted our booth to include activities that educate and engage participants in emerging technologies,” said Rick Vaughn, faculty chair for STEM initiatives at Rio Salado College.

Booth highlights include:
  • Remote access to a scanning electron microscope that is located in Seattle. Visitors will be able to take away an actual image that they create using the microscope.
  • See a 3D printer at work! Take in the 3D printer exhibit and see how the additive manufacturing process enables the creation of 3D objects using a layered framework.
  • Infra-red camera activity where kids can see various heat signatures and how heat transfers from lights to surrounding materials. Energy systems lightbulb display. A three fixture lamp will hold one 25W incandescent bulb, one 25W CFL bulb, and one 25W LED bulb. Light meters, volt meters, ammeters, data-loggers, and temperature measuring equipment will be available to compare and contrast. Visitors can record temperature and light output.

While a light bulb display may not seem very scientific, there are many science-related concepts at work.

“The displays of the light bulb components and design of each lead into discussions of fabrication and micro/nano-technology,” said Richard Cuprak, Jr., faculty chair for Applied Technology at Rio Salado College.

Breaking down complex scientific concepts and making them understandable is one of the aims of Geeks Night Out. Another is extolling the importance of STEM as a career choice.

Vaughn cites a nationwide shortage of STEM educated workers and teachers as one reason Rio Salado College participates in events like Geeks Night Out.

“Students who are excited and engaged in STEM events early on are much more likely to select a STEM pathway throughout their education,” Vaughn said.

Another reason is the college’s reputation.

“Rio Salado College has accepted a leadership role in the state to promote STEM education through community events, career and technical pathways, emerging technology programs and professional development for teachers.”

Tempe Geeks Night Out is part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which takes place in February and March each year. Cities across Arizona host a variety of events and activities to promote STEM in local communities. You can find a full listing of events and the annual program online.

“While these events are educational, they also provide an opportunity for Rio Salado to show the public that learning is fun and can happen in many different ways,” Cuprak said.

For more information about the Energy System Technology program at Rio Salado College visit www.riosalado/energy.

Forget what you think you know about science, Geeks' Night Out is all about discovering what makes science fun!

Check out this City of Tempe video with Richard Cuprak and you'll see what we mean.

By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator for Rio Salado College. PHOTO: Rio Salado College’s Rick Vaughn and Jeanne Ratliff at the 2013 Tempe Geeks Night Out event. 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reminder: SIS Outage, Feb. 13-16

illustration of connected cogs

As a reminder, our Student Information System (SIS) is being upgraded and will not be available Friday, Feb. 13, through Monday, Feb. 16.

Please make sure you complete all time sensitive transactions before 5 p.m.

The outage will affect all student self-service and staff-assisted transactions, including:
  • Viewing your To Do List
  • Adding and dropping classes
  • Viewing your Class Schedule or Textbook Info
  • Running a Degree Progress Report
  • Viewing your Message Center
  • Viewing financial aid information
  • Making payments and setting up payment plans
  • Printing unofficial transcripts and requesting official transcripts
Please note, this will also affect book advances.

Other support systems such as email, Canvas, and RioLearn will be available for use. For additional details, tips on how to prepare and the latest updates, visit