Showing posts with label RSCAwards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RSCAwards. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Record 64 High School Student Grads in 2016

Image from 2015 commencement ceremony

They are being called trailblazers, overachievers and highflyers.

Bring on the accolades-- these 64 Valley high school students are garnering attention for all the right reasons. They are dual enrollment students who are on track to graduate from Rio Salado College this month before earning their high school diplomas.

President Bustamante
“It is very rewarding to see so many high school students take advantage of early college options and achieve this great accomplishment,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “Their success is our success and I am confident that they will continue to achieve their academic goals in the future. It takes support from high school partners, parents and the dual enrollment team at Rio to realize what can be possible.”

No other college in the state has this many college graduates among their dual enrollment students.

“Not only is this a huge achievement to graduate from high school and college simultaneously, but starting college with two years under your belt saves students an enormous amount of time and money,” said EJ Anderson, director of Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program.

2015 Dual Enrollment Graduates
Dual enrollment students earn both high school and college credit at the same time. Classes are taught by certified instructors at the many area high schools that partner with Rio Salado College.

Sullivan Dupre is a senior at Mountain Pointe High School and overachiever extraordinaire.

He is earning both an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science degree at Rio Salado’s commencement ceremony this evening, May 11, 2016 at the Orpheum Theater.  He will be one of 50 dual enrollment graduates attending tonight's event.

“The biggest benefit I see in dual enrollment is that it saves time and money,” said Dupre. “Because I took dual enrollment, I will already have the credits that usually take around two years to complete in college.”

Dupre is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for 2-year colleges. He said students considering dual enrollment should get involved as soon as possible.

“Enroll to get as many credits as possible,” Dupre said. “Even if you think you won't need a certain class for your major, having that extra credit will allow you to be more flexible in the future.”

2014 Westwood High School dual enrollment students
Another advantage of Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program is location.

“The biggest benefit of dual enrollment is being given the opportunity to complete a college degree without having to leave your own high school,” said Krystal Rebhun, a student at Corona Del Sol graduating who is graduating with an Associate in Arts. “You also get the same credits that you would at a university at a much smaller cost.”

Rio Salado dual enrollment team
Robert Brown works as a success coach in the dual enrollment department at Rio Salado College. He assists high school students and their parents in developing career and education pathways.

“Dual enrollment gives high school students the flexibility to finish a bachelor’s degree sooner, pursue a double-major, or take fewer credits at a time in college,” Brown said.

He added that parents get excited when they see the benefits of dual enrollment for their kids.

“One very selective university called her a trailblazer, and noted that they had not seen an incoming freshman with this type of achievement before,” said Laurie Mariani, whose daughter Mia is earning an Associate in Arts. “We are certain her opportunities will be endless having achieved this extra academic success while in high school.”

Rio Salado College – 2016 Dual Enrollment Graduates
  • Boulder Creek: Kimberly Klein
  • Brophy College Prep: James Stickell
  • Corona del Sol: Jeffery Wilcox, Karl Willette (2014), Krystal Rebhun, Tyler Le Duc
  • Deer Valley: Alec Medrano, Evan Mekenney, Madison Banbury (2015), Matthew Briody, Reese Tanner, Ryanne Karlson, Alexander Mills
  • Desert Vista: Alexandra Ferrara , Aradhana Kumar , Daniel Gulden , Gail Watterson , Marcela Delgado, Matthew Hart, Natalie Schatton, Neeku Navabi, Samuel Rosenberg, Wyatt Langs
  • Heritage: Erica Durham, Ethan Berglund, Sarah Taylor (2015), Triston Kosloske
  • Horizon: Connor Little, Matthew Thomas, Peter Godfrey
  • Marcos de Niza: Briana Estrella, Dominic Martinez, Joy Jimenez
  • Mountain Pointe: Emily Harmsen, Gen Ito, Jacob Peters, Jasmin Jackson, Jason Damp, Jordan Wachter, Lauren Rein, Meredith Grula, Sullivan Dupre
  • Xavier College Prep: Ainsley Ramsey, Andrea Gray, Ariana Salazar, Ashlynn Holloway, Bailey Stalcup, Brianna Siegle, Brie Harriel, Brielle Januszewski, Claudia Lucca, Danielle Favata, Fiona Lobo, Hailey Schwab, Hannah Cooper, Isabella Patterson, Isabella Serrano, Jessica Daniels, Julia Teeter, Leslie Zaragoza, Lisbet Maldonado, Madison Williams, Mia Mariani, Michaela Wuycheck, Miranda Albo, Monique Hasbun, Olivia Iacono, Rebeca Gardner, Royal Shoen, Sara Skornik, Sophia Deyden, Spenser Rosner, Stephanie Ashkuri, Therese Knapp, Tiffany Meyer

For more details about Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, including scholarship opportunities, visit www.riosalado.edu/programs/dual or call 480-517-8080.

Photos of tonight's ceremony and participating dual enrollment graduates will be available for download via www.facebook.com/RioSaladoCollege.

Check back with RioNews for more stories about Rio Salado 2016 graduates in the coming days.

Contributing writer Alyssa DeMember has served Rio Salado's Academic Advisement team since 2014. She is one of several academic advisors available to help you along your educational journey.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Rio President Bustamante Appointed to ACE Board

Image of Dr. Bustamante

Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante was recently appointed to the board of the American Council on Education (ACE).

"The landscape in higher education is changing," said Bustamante." I am honored to be invited to serve on the ACE Board with other university and college presidents from throughout the nation to be a voice and advocate for higher education. This is a critical time when we are all re-examining how to best serve 21st Century students and prepare them to succeed in higher education and beyond."

ACE is a national organization that aims to tackle the toughest higher education challenges, with a focus on improving access and preparing every student to succeed. More than 1,700 institutions are ACE members, including accredited, degree-granting two- and four-year colleges, private and public universities, and nonprofit and for-profit entities.

Because of its advocacy role, ACE is a key point of contact on higher education matters for congressional staff and members of the executive branch, and is frequently cited in the national media on higher education issues.

By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rio Salado PTK Team 2016 Regional Awards

photo of PTK team members holding up awards
Rio Salado's Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Theta Omicron chapter participated in and co-hosted the 2016 PTK Regional Convention at Mesa Community College March 4-5, 2016 and took home several awards and recognitions.

Rio Salado students Vanessa Williams, Theresa Maheux, Evea Morrow, Oliva Mendez, Daniel Mott, Joy Georgette Jimenez, Dulce Penalosa, and Rodney Falberg attended the event with Rio Salado advisors Melanie Abts and John Bastian.

Awards and recognitions:
· Arizona Distinguished Chapter Award
· Outstanding College Project Award
· An Honors in Action Award
· Apex Award for membership growth
· Outstanding Chapter Officer - Theresa Maheux


As part of their 2015 student project, the chapter produced a video focusing on why working adults are returning to school and the obstacles they have overcome. We encourage you to watch this inspiration video.


 


PTK actively promotes scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. To learn more about PTK and other student life initiatives, visit this Rio Salado Student Life web page or contact John Bastian at john.bastian@riosalado.edu and 480-517-8656.




Photo above, left to right: Dulce Penalosa, Joy Georgette Jimenez, Vanessa Williams, Evea Morrow, Melanie Abts and Theresa Maheux.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Meet Rio Salado 2016 All-AZ Honorees

Image of Vanessa Williams and Shawna Daniels standing in front of ALL-AZ banner.

Among the 25 extraordinary Maricopa Community College students honored for their distinguished achievements and leadership at the 2016 All-Arizona (ALL-AZ) Academic Awards Luncheon on March 3, 2016, were Rio Salado scholars Shawna Daniels and Vanessa Williams.

Each year, participating colleges nominate two of their most distinguished students to receive the ALL-AZ honor, which includes tuition to one of Arizona’s three state universities and a cash scholarship.

Daniels and Williams were selected as Rio’s 2016 honorees for their academic excellence, community leadership and personal determination.


Shawna Daniels is a working mom who lives in Payson, Arizona, with her husband and their children.

“Being a busy mom of three, I would never have thought I would have the time to complete my college degree and help my community in the ways that I have this year,” said Daniels.

Parenthood came with more challenges than the young couple expected. After getting through the early childhood years, Daniels realized it was time to invest in herself to create the financial future she wanted for her family.

“I chose Rio Salado because of the convenient online classes and staggered start dates,” Daniels said. “With Rio Salado’s amazing technology and student support, I can properly plan and stay dedicated to my studies.”

Daniels with her grandmother Marlene
and husband Mark.
In addition to being a member of Rio Salado’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, Daniels engaged in several community service projects including volunteer work for the Rotary Club of Payson and Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. She also organized a charity golf tournament that raised approximately $7,500 for Payson charities.

Daniels plans to attend Northern Arizona University (NAU) with the ALL-AZ scholarship and is working toward becoming a certified public accountant.

“I would not likely be able to attend NAU without this scholarship,” said Daniels. “Being awarded full tuition to a university is priceless and has changed my entire life.”


Vanessa Williams also knows a thing or two about life changing events. The Rio Salado student is both honored and humbled to be recognized at the ALL-AZ awards.

“My life has been one of perseverance,” Williams said. “I was diagnosed with severe depression at the age of 13. I began to use drugs in my twenties. I spent more than thirteen years of my life homeless and destitute, lacking the ability to see any hope in my future.”

But everything changed six years ago when Williams took a training class to become a peer support specialist.

“A peer support specialist assists people who are recovering with mental illness or drug addiction,” Williams said. After working part time for a year at Warm Line, a peer-run support line, Williams was promoted to supervisor.

“I then made the second best decision of my life which was to return to school and get a degree,” Williams said. “As a mother and a grandmother, it was important to return to college to set a good example for my family. Returning to school was also a vital part of my recovery.”

Williams chose to attend Rio Salado College, and quickly found an aptitude for leadership and service.

Williams with husband Joe
As president of Rio Salado’s PTK chapter, and vice-president of the National Society of Leadership and Success chapter, Williams invested her time to champion behavioral health issues and to advocate for people who are homeless.

“I love being of service to others,” Williams said. “I also like seeing people succeed when they didn’t believe that they could. Continuing my education will allow me the ability to help others discover their own unique leadership skills.”

Williams plans on attending NAU this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Her dream is to start a non-profit organization that assists in the professional development of people who have been diagnosed with behavioral health issues.

“I feel like anything is possible when you put your mind to it,” Williams said. “I am grateful to Rio Salado College for all they have done to help me to achieve my dreams.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The 2016 ITC Outstanding eLearning Student is...

Photo of Williams

Congratulations to Rio Salado College student Vanessa Williams who received the Outstanding eLearning Student award at the national Instructional Technology Council (ITC) eLearning conference held in Scottsdale Feb. 15-17, 2016.
Williams with Rio Salado President Bustamante
“I have achieved what I thought to be impossible ten years ago,” Williams said of her award. “This honor means that I have exceeded my own expectations of balancing home, work and school, and being successful in doing so.”

Williams is currently the president of Rio Salado’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) student honor society chapter, and vice president of the college’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She was nominated for the eLearning award by Dr. Melanie Abts and John Bastian, PTK chapter advisors.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving for this award than Vanessa,” Bastian said. “She is a reliable student leader now and shows great potential to do great things for our communities in the future.”

Williams credits Rio Salado’s online classes with her academic success.

“Online learning has been very beneficial to me,” Williams said. “It has allowed me the opportunity to go to school full-time while working full-time, and has taught me to manage my time more effectively.”

image of panelists
Panel with Rio Salado Communications Faculty Chair Corey Pruitt

At the conference, Williams participated in a student panel with other Rio Salado students to discuss the online learning experience.

“Online courses also helped me to stay on track and achieve my goal of obtaining an associate degree,” Williams said. “And thank you to Rio Salado College, for going out of your way to support the students and their dreams.”

Photo of Rio Salado team with Dr. Bustamante and Faculty Chair Pruitt

“When we listen to our students and try to meet their needs, we are all more successful in our roles as higher education leaders,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College.

Williams plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in management. In the future, she hopes to create a non-profit organization to assist peer support specialists in behavior health. When she is not working or with her family, she is an advocate for the homeless.

image of event web banner

Rio Salado College served as the host college for the ITC conference. The ITC is affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges. Its mission is to provide leadership and professional development in higher education by advocating, collaborating and sharing innovative practices in educational technologies.

Images of students.  Alt text: Instructional Technology Council (ITC) eLearning Conference, Feb. 14-17, 2016 Rio Salado College Student Panel Bios    Ashley (Dani) Cross took her first class at Rio Salado College in the spring of 2011 and currently works as a part-time peer mentor there. She is on the waiting list for the nursing program through Maricopa Community College District. She plans to continue on with her education and earn a Master of Science in Nursing while working as a nurse. As single mother of her 7-year-old son, Eli, she finds e-learning to be a convenient way to complete her coursework while at the same time juggling life’s responsibilities.  Nathan Errington is a Rio Salado College student and an active duty member of the United States Air Force assigned to Luke AFB. He graduated with his Associate in Applied Science in Computer Technology, Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Web Design, and CCL in Computer Usage and Applications through Rio Salado in spring 2015. Nathan is currently pursuing an Arizona General Education Curriculum associate degree. He is scheduled to spend a year at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea for his next assignment and then a follow-on assignment to Misawa AB, Japan. He plans to continue his studies with Rio Salado College while being deployed overseas.  Samra Hausey started as a student at Rio Salado College in fall 2011 and became a part-time peer mentor in the Advisement department in 2014.  E-learning is a better fit for her than a traditional campus setting with flexible scheduling and delivery methods that meet her learning style. She currently is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with the goal to teach 4th grade and earn master’s degree through Arizona State University.  Samantha Hill is studying healthcare innovation at Arizona State University (ASU) and is on the waiting list for the medical radiography program at Gateway Community College. Before going to ASU, she took e-learning classes at Rio Salado to earn college credits while deciding upon her educational and career goals. She is employed at Rio Salado College as a peer mentor and volunteers at the Maricopa Integrated Health System in the radiology department. In the future, she hopes study radiography and work at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital or the Mayo Clinic.  Daniel Mott is a student at Rio Salado College and member of its Phi Theta Kappa. He is the father of two boys, a small insurance business owner and part-time student. He started taking classes with Rio Salado in spring 2014 and is working on an Associate in Arts. He sees his mother as an inspiration to complete his education and finds e-learning convenient for his schedule. He appreciates that he can take classes in topics he can apply to all areas of his life. Daniel plans to transfer to an Arizona university to pursue a bachelor degree in marketing or communications.  Vanessa Williams started with Rio Salado College in fall 2013. She is Rio Salado College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter president and vice president of the college’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Vanessa works as a supervisor at Warm Line, a non-emergency peer-supported telephone hotline through the non-profit Crisis Response Network. She plans to earn an associate degree and transfer to Northern Arizona University to pursue a bachelor degree in management. In the future, she hopes to create a non-profit organization to assist peer support specialists in behavior health. When she is not working or with her family, she is an advocate for the homeless.Meet the ITC Panel
We appreciate the time and effort of the Rio Salado students who volunteered their time to take part in the ITC panel. Their input is invaluable. Learn more about who they are in this bio sheet.




By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rio Faculty Chair Leads Addiction Profession

Kirk Bowdend photo
Congratulations to Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program Kirk Bowden for his leadership role in the behavioral health profession!

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. This is a new position created in response to a SB 1374 mandate.


The ARC committee 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.

2015 NAADAC conference graphic.

Bowden also took part in NAADAC, the Association of Addiction Professionals 2015 National Conference in Washington D.C. earlier this month.

The conference included a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders and to advocate for the addiction profession. As NAADAC's current President, Bowden served as the chair for the conference.

Bowden has been instrumental in developing Rio Salado’s Addictions and Substance Use Disorders program, which is one of Arizona’s top educational programs for addictions counseling professionals. 

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

cover of Advances in Addiction Recovery fall issue
Bowden’s latest published work is entitled Key Terms Important to Moving Forward the Addiction Counseling Licensing Effort, which is featured in the fall 2015 edition of Advances in Addiction & Recovery, a professional journal published by NAADAC.

Friday, October 16, 2015

White House Names Rio a “Bright Spot”

web header for White House initiative

Rio Salado College has received two recognitions from the White House for its dedication to serving Hispanic students.

The college is one of more than 100 Commitments to Action named yesterday by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Organizations that participate in the commitment pledge to increase educational opportunities, improve educational outcomes, and deliver a complete and competitive education for all students, including Hispanics.

“We are honored to be recognized by the White House for our efforts to reach out to underserved populations,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “Educational opportunity has never mattered more than it does today. Regardless of where a student is on their educational journey, Rio Salado College is here to help prepare them for the jobs of the future.”

students studying at a Rio Salado location

As part of its action plan, Rio Salado is increasing efforts to reach local schools with large Hispanic student populations, assess their education needs and increase awareness of college programs.

“Rio Salado College already has many offerings from GED® test preparation to post-baccalaureate master’s degree partnerships,” said Dr. Jennifer Gresko, faculty chair for teacher education. “By identifying the school’s needs, our staff members can start conversations about enrolling in the many different programs, whether within educator preparation or in other fields.”

AACE graduate holding up her certificate of completion

Last month, the Initiative named Rio Salado College’s Adults Achieving a College Education (Adult ACE) program as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education as part of its 25th Anniversary of Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Bright Spot organizations are recognized for using data-driven approaches, promising practices, and effective partnerships resulting in increased educational completion opportunities for the Hispanic community.

“This nation has set a goal for citizens to achieve at least some post-secondary education to be competitive in the job market,” said Dr. Jo Jorgenson, dean of instruction and community development at Rio Salado. “Yet, more than 40 million Americans lack either a high school or equivalency diploma.”

Rio Salado’s Adult ACE program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, helps bridge that gap by providing an educational pathway for minority, first-generation college students.

Adult ACE students are simultaneously enrolled in Rio Salado’s college classes and in classes to help them prepare for the GED® test. Students are also provided with personalized academic advising and support services to ease the transition.

“The primary objective of Adult ACE is to help students become more confident, improve their college and workplace skills, and lay the foundation for a better future,” Jorgenson said.


About the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
The Initiative was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic community. To learn more visit www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative.

By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich.

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.

Friday, September 4, 2015

RSC President Lumina Foundation Champion

snapshot of Strategy Labs web page with quote from Dr. B: “  We have to continue to provide clear pathways [to credentials] that are affordable and accessible for students. We need to be bold and take risks in terms of coming up with solutions that really work for our students…The changing environment around our students and [institutions] really task us with adapting higher education to our students’ needs, rather than our needs. ”


The Lumina Foundation recently featured Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante as its newest Strategy Labs Champion.

Here is a video profile produced by Strategy Labs, which features Dr Bustamante addressing questions about Rio Salado's leadership, dual enrollment program, efforts to develop lower-cost pathway credentials and how we're fulfilling our vision to "reinvent the learning experience to change lives."

http://strategylabs.luminafoundation.org/champion/dr-chris-bustamante/


About Strategy Labs and the Lumina Foundation
Strategy Labs are an open platform for leaders and influencers in all 50 states to come together to share research, data and professional experiences to advance Goal 2025. That goal is to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. The Strategy Labs enable Lumina Foundation to connect and collaborate with state and system-level policymakers and higher education leaders to advance the State Policy Agenda and to focus on increased educational attainment.

Friday, April 24, 2015

In the Spotlight: Rio Salado PTK

image of PTK pin. established 1918

Rio Salado's Alpha Theta Omicron chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society had a lot to celebrate this spring.

group shot of Rio Salado PTK advisors and members accepting chapter award

The PTK chapter attended the Arizona Regional Convention hosted by Paradise Valley Community College, March 27-28 and came home with several awards.

Chapter awards:
•    Five Star Level (highest level possible)
•    A Distinguished Arizona Chapter
•    Honors-in-Action Project Award
•    Honors-in-Action Award for Ideas and Ideologies as Frontiers
 
Individual Awards:
•    John Field - For serving as Arizona Region PTK President
•    Roberta Albinda  - Named an Outstanding Chapter Officer
•    Bethany Kartchner - Named an Outstanding Chapter Member
•    Melanie Abts - Outstanding Chapter Advisor

group shot from induction ceremony.  Above on screen is a quote: "Never stop looking for opportunities for personal and professional development, and pass on the wisidom you've learned.

On April 10, the PTK chapter hosted a reception and induction ceremony for 34 new students. Student President Lori Beasley presented open remarks and a program overview and then joined student leaders John Field and Jake Denison to induct the new members. You can view, upload and tag photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Image of Melanie Abts at podium.

Rio Salado Counseling Faculty Chair and PTK Advisor Dr. Melanie Abts was among 30 PTK advisors honored with a Paragon Award for New Advisors during the April 2015 NerdNation convention in San Antonio, Texas. The award recognizes advisors who have served less than four years and have made significant contributions to the growth of their chapter members.


On a side note, Arizona Regional PTK President John Field was chosen to serve as Rio Salado's 2015 Commencement student speaker on May 5

There are many benefits to joining PTK. It's a great way to engage in activities that will help you become more successful in the classroom and in life-- while you help others through service.

For additional details visit our PTK web page or contact PTK Advisor John Bastian at John.Bastian@riosalado.edu or 480-517-8656.


2014-15 Officers
  • President – Lori Beasley
  • Chair of Administration and Hallmarks – John Williams
  • Chair of College Project - Vanessa Williams
  • Chair of Honors in Action – Roberta Albinda
  • Officer at Large – John Field

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rio Salado Honors 2015 ALL-AZ Scholars

Photo: Rex Moore, Rio Salado President Dr. Chris Bustamante and John Field (l-r) pose after Moore and Field were honored as the schoolÕs top scholars at Rio Salado College.

Rio Salado College presented Rex Moore and John Field as its 2015 scholars at the 20th annual All-Arizona Academic Awards Luncheon on Feb. 18 to honor students for outstanding academic achievement, community involvement and leadership. 

Moore and Field were among 26 Maricopa Community Colleges students recognized at the luncheon and awarded full tuition to an Arizona state university of their choice, along with cash awards ranging from $500 to $1,000 dollars.

Learn more about Moore and Field in this azcentral.com story.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rio Salado - Great College to Work For®

The Chronicle of Higher Education included Rio Salado College in its 2014 list of Great Colleges to Work For®.

Now in its seventh year, the Great Colleges program recognizes small groups of colleges for specific best practices and policies and has become one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.

The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received Great Colleges recognition was the employee feedback.

Rio Salado employees recognized the college for providing outstanding:
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Diversity
  • Facilities, Workspace and Security
  • Professional/Career-Development Programs
  • Teaching Environment
  • Work/Life Balance
Surveys were contributed by 278 participating institutions and completed by 43,516 administrators, faculty members and professional staff.

Rio Salado has been a long-time leader in online learning because our greatest asset is the dedicated, caring, and innovative faculty and staff. The college integrates the principles of inclusion, diversity, and respect throughout the organization and Rio Salado employees show a deep understanding of how the work they do supports the college mission.

We hope you will consider sharing your skills and passion for education as a member of our team. Please visit our jobs page http://www.riosalado.edu/jobs for details about faculty, staff and part-time opportunities.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Rio Salado Top Company to Work for in AZ

Interim Dean of Enrollment Mgmt & Student Affairs
Kevin Bilder accepts award on behalf of Rio Salado.
Rio Salado College earned a spot in the 2014 CareerBuilder Top Companies to Work for in Arizona list. Employers were evaluated and selected based on a combination of overall satisfaction scores from an employee engagement survey and evaluation from an employer questionnaire covering topics related to HR programs, benefits and workplace culture.

Rio Salado is proud to be recognized as one of Arizona’s “Top Companies to Work for” and we encourage employment seekers to consider a career on our winning team. For details about current job opportunities with our organization, visit: http://tinyurl.com/lrexks4


CareerBuilder and Republic Media made the announcement during a breakfast reception on Friday, June 27 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

A complete list of the 75 Top Companies and related stories can be found at TopCompanies.azcentral.com.

Friday, March 21, 2014

RSC's John Jensen Recognized For Excellence

Rio Salado College would like to congratulate John Jensen, faculty chair of mathematics for being recognized with a 2014 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.

The award celebrates outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. Jensen was presented the award by the League for Innovation in the Community College at the organization's Innovations Conference held March 2-5 in Anaheim, California.

“John Jensen is a constant advocate for his students and community leader in math education,” said Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante. “As Rio Salado’s faculty chair for mathematics, he is forward thinking and innovative in the technologies and instructional theory included in his online math courses. His community advocacy, trainings and guest lectures about the importance of mathematics and instruction are unsurpassed.”

Jensen said he felt particularly honored because the award requires the nomination of his peers.

“The John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation holds special significance for me because it is a recognition that comes from my college and my colleagues,” Jensen said. “In an institution like Rio Salado, where innovation and ingenuity are hallmarks, there are scores of employees who work every day to make education more accessible and more affordable to students.”

Jensen, who served as an adjunct faculty member in Rio Salado’s inaugural year, is proud of the history he shares with the college.

“My first acquaintance with Rio Salado College was in 1978, when I was hired as an adjunct faculty member. I taught mathematics at some of the college’s Phoenix locations for about 5 years. I returned to Rio in 2002 as a residential faculty member. By that time, I had already had over 30 years’ experience in public education.”

Jensen said he believes his success as an educator can be credited to the culture of innovation and collaboration with co-workers at Rio Salado College.

“As a faculty member at Rio Salado, I was struck by two things early in my employment,” Jensen said. “The first was that the entire institution operated with a collaborative spirit. You could depend on other departments within the college to help with a project or a task. The second – and more important – was that every project, initiative and program was evaluated by how well it served the interests of students.”

Jensen, who is reluctant to boast his own accomplishments, instead shares the recognition with the entire Rio Salado organization.

“When I accept this honor, I do so in the name of all of us who strive to make Rio Salado a special place for learners.”

This story can also be found in the March 21 edition of the Tempe Republic.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

SPOT127 Project Wins 2013 Student Production Emmy



SPOT127, KJZZ's youth media center in Maryvale has been awarded the 2013 Student Production Emmy by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Rocky Mountain Chapter covers all of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and El Centro California.

The winning project, "Teenagers Coming Out" was created by Jessica Garcia and Melissa Mancio who joined SPOT 127 last year. Both students attended Maryvale High School and neither had produced an audio or video project prior to their involvement in the SPOT 127 program. Garcia and Mancio both graduated from high school last May and are now attending college.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station licensed to the Maricopa Community College District. It is a community service of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, featuring a mix of local, national and international news, jazz and blues — serving more than 306,000 weekly listeners.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rio Salado College Test Center Earns National Recognition

With millions of educational, certification, and licensure tests administered in the US. every year, the need for secure testing environments and trained testing staff has never been greater. The Testing and Assessment Center at Rio Salado College sets the bar high and achieved national status as a leader in excellent testing practices.

The center was recently awarded Test Center Certification by the National College Testing Association (NCTA). Criteria for certification are rigorous and are based on the NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines, which were developed to guide post-secondary test centers in the delivery of quality testing programs.

The Rio Salado College Testing and Assessment Center is one of the few test centers in the U.S. and Canada to have completed this intensive certification process. The certification will be in place for five years.

Congratulations are extended to the entire staff of the Rio Salado College Testing and Assessment Center for maintaining high test administration standards and for providing excellent service to a wide variety of students and community members in the performance of their duties.

The National College Testing Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of professionalism and high quality service in the administration of testing programs, offers certification to college and university test centers that demonstrate exemplary practices.



Monday, July 22, 2013

RSC Named "2013 Great College to Work For"

The Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized Rio Salado College as one of the best colleges in the country to have as an employer.

The award is the result the college’s high performance in an annual survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and Modern Think LLC. The “Great Colleges to Work For” survey identifies institutions that have been successful in creating a great work environment and examines the impact of accepted best practices on the organizational culture at institutions of higher education.

"It's rewarding to be a part of an institution that really walks the talk," said Sharon Koberna, Rio Salado College dean of administration and employee services. "Rio Salado genuinely believes in creating a culture where our employees love what they do. We want our employees to feel a sense of personal pride and ownership in the success of the college. It's nice to be recognized for that."

In addition to being acknowledged as a great college to work for, Rio Salado received Honor Roll standing for rating highly across all categories.

Rio Salado received recognition, based primarily on employee feedback, regarding:
  • Collaborative governance
  • Professional and career development programs
  • Teaching environment
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Facilities
  • Workspace and security
  • Job satisfaction
  • Work/life balance
  • Confidence in senior leadership
  • Supervisor/department chair relationship
  • Respect and appreciation
The two-part assessment process included a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff as well as an audit of demographics and workplace policies at each institution. The survey was administered and analyzed by ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that conducts numerous “Best Places to Work” programs.


About Rio Salado College 

Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Rio Salado is one of the largest online public community colleges in the nation and serves more than 67,000 students annually. Rio Salado offers 100+ degree and certificate pathways and provides flexible, affordable access to education through college bridge pathways, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning.




Tuesday, July 9, 2013

RSC President to Participate in National Presidential Innovation Lab

Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante  has been named to the Presidential Innovation Lab, a groundbreaking effort by the American Council on Education (ACE) to examine possible models inspired by the disruptive potential of new educational technologies such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) to boost the number of Americans able to earn a college degree.

He is among 14 chief executive officers from a diverse group of colleges and universities who are participating in the Presidential Innovation Lab. The Lab will be an opportunity for higher education leaders to engage in proactive thinking about this new learning space and guide a national dialogue about potential new academic and financial models that can help close persistent attainment gaps, including those among low-income young adults.

The initial session will be held July 21-23 at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA, an independent, non-profit research organization that will help guide the work of the Presidential Innovation Lab. A second two-day meeting will take place in Washington, DC, in October.

“Examining next generation learning models and determining how they will best serve students is vital to the future of higher education,” Bustamante said. “The Presidential Innovation Lab will allow us to explore attainment gaps and new technologies which have the ability to expand access, retention and completion for students while at the same time increasing productivity and cost-efficiency.”

“This is an opportunity for senior higher education leaders to engage in comprehensive and critical thinking about the potential of this new learning modality to boost attainment levels, particularly among older, post-traditional students, low-income young adults and other underserved students," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.

Also participating in the Presidential Innovation Lab are:
• Joseph E. Aoun, president, Northeastern University (MA)
• Scott S. Cowen, president, Tulane University (LA)
• Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University
• John F. Ebersole, president, Excelsior College (NY)
• Renu Khator, president, University of Houston and chancellor, University of Houston System (TX)
• Paul J. LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University
• Robert W. Mendenhall, president, Western Governors University (UT)
• Mohammad H. Qayoumi, president, San Jose State University (CA)
• Vincent Price, provost, The University of Pennsylvania
• L. Rafael Reif, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Kevin P. Reilly, president, University of Wisconsin System
• Clayton Spencer, president, Bates College (ME)
• Linda M. Thor, chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District (CA)

“The work of the Presidential Innovation Lab, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will guide a national dialog about the type of academic and financial models that might grow out of the current high level of interest in MOOCs and other new technologies and learning methods,” added Cathy A. Sandeen, ACE vice president for education attainment and innovation.
Lab participants will consider questions such as how newer educational innovations could be used by students toward degree completion and the potential impact of such innovations on the fundamental design and delivery of instruction, institutions' recognition of learning, and the underlying financing models for all of higher education.

The Presidential Innovation Lab is part of a wide-ranging research and evaluation effort examining the academic potential of MOOCs announced by ACE in November 2012.

About ACE
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is one of the largest online public community colleges in the nation serving more than 67,000 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. Rio Salado has prided itself on its innovative culture since its inception, as it has always been on the forefront of providing new and more effective ways to help students take the next step in their education. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rio Salado College Selected As Top Company to Work for in Arizona by Careerbuilder

PHOENIX, AZ (June 20, 2013) – CareerBuilder and Republic Media (The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com, La Voz) announced today that Rio Salado College earned a spot on the inaugural Careerbuilders Top Companies to Work for in Arizona list.

"It's very rewarding to be named one of Arizona's top companies to work for," said Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante. "Rio Salado is well-known for innovations in education, but it's the people who define this institution. Our employees are creative, enthusiastic and embrace a culture of continuous improvement.”
Companies were evaluated and selected based on a combination of overall satisfaction scores from an employee engagement survey and evaluation from an employer questionnaire covering topics related to human resource programs, benefits and workplace culture.

Winners were announced at a “Top Companies” breakfast reception June 20 and the full list and related stories appeared in a special supplement inserted in the June 23 edition of The Arizona Republic, and online at TopCompaniesAZ.azcentral.com.


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About Rio Salado College:
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is one of the largest online public community colleges in the nation serving more than 67,000 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. Rio Salado has embraced an innovative culture since its inception. The college prides itself on staying at the forefront and providing new and effective ways to help students take the next step in their education.

About Republic Media
Republic Media is a consultative media company that provides you with the means to deliver your message to the right audience in the most effective way. From online to print to direct mail, Republic Media encompasses an array of products including The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com, 12 News, and La Voz. Since 1890, The Arizona Republic continues to be Arizona's most trusted and most read newspaper. www.RepublicMedia.com

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 49 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and talent intelligence to recruitment support. More than 10,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

RSC President Named to American Association of Community Colleges Board

Dr. Bustamante to Help Guide Policy for Higher Education’s Largest Sector

Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College has been elected to the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), a national organization representing the nation’s almost 1,200 two-year colleges and their more than 13 million students.

New board members were certified during AACC’s recent annual meeting in San Francisco, Calif., and will officially take office July 1, serving a three-year term. The 32 member AACC board governs association policy and helps guide strategic direction for national advocacy and other key functions of the Washington, D.C.-based organization.

“I am honored to serve with the members and leadership of the AACC Board,” said Dr. Bustamante. “The challenge today is to provide more students with access to higher education and then see them through to completion. That means that we will have to think differently about how we deliver higher education and create innovative solutions to achieve that goal.”

Dr. Bustamante is the president of the largest of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges located in metropolitan Phoenix and one of the largest public online colleges in the nation. He is a well-known advocate for increasing access to higher education and degree completion, and for forging transformational partnerships with business, government, and other educational providers.

The selection of new board members infuses new energy into the association’s leadership and comes during a key time for community colleges, say its leaders.

“America’s community colleges represent the hope of brighter futures for millions of people today and are keeping the dream of postsecondary education affordable,” said Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, president of AACC. “Our new board members are joining us during a pivotal time, as community colleges are being asked to double the number of students completing degrees and other postsecondary credentials and to train significantly more workers to meet the needs of employers throughout the nation.”

Institutionally elected board members:
Ronnie Booth, president, Tri-County Technical College (Pendleton, S.C.)
E. Ann McGee, president, Seminole State College of Florida (Sanford, Fla.)
Dan Phelan, president, Jackson Community College (Jackson, Mich.)
Cheryl Roberts, president and CEO, Chemeketa Community College (Salem, Ore.)
Carol Spalding, president, Rowan Cabarrus Community College (Salisbury, N.C.)
Lori Sundberg, president, Carl Sandburg Community College (Galesburg, Ill.)

The Institutional At-Large representative is: Eloy Oakley, superintendent/president, Long Beach City College (Long Beach, Calif.)

The Public At-Large representative is: Carrie Billy, executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (Alexandria, Va.)

The Affiliated Council representatives are: Chris Bustamante, president, Rio Salado College (Tempe, Ariz.), and Mary Rittling, president, Davidson County Community College (Lexington, N.C.)

Twenty-four board members are elected by AACC’s institutional membership (18 institutional representatives and six affiliated council representatives). Six are elected by the board itself (three institutional at-large members and three public at-large members) and represent constituencies such as boards of trustees, business or government.


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About AACC
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Community Colleges is a national organization representing the nation’s close to 1,200 community, junior, and technical colleges and their over 13 million students. Community colleges are the largest sector of higher education, enrolling almost half of all U.S. undergraduates. For more information about AACC and community colleges, visit www.aacc.nche.edu.


About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, serves more than 67,000 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.