New VP of Instruction, West Campus

Here is a message I sent to the College community regarding PCC’s new Vice President of Instruction at our West Campus:

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Gregory T. Busch is the College’s new Vice President of Instruction at West Campus.

Head Shot - G Busch

Dr. Gregg Busch

Gregg, who fills a vacant position at West Campus, has more than 16 years’ community college experience as an adjunct faculty member, assistant professor, program coordinator, director, honors college dean, and as a member of  the West Virginia University at Parkersburg board of trustees.

Most recently, Gregg has served as Dean of Academic Affairs: Liberal Arts at North Central State College, a two-year college in Mansfield, Ohio. As Dean, he has led college-wide initiatives in articulation and transfer, diversity and social justice, international education, and has built relationships that encourage college-going with high schools.  He also served as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Washington State Community College, located in Marietta, Ohio where he also led extensive program and curriculum development.

Gregg also has experience elsewhere in the public and private sectors, having served 21 years as a certified forensic and death investigator for the Wirt County, W.Va., Medical Examiner, and as president and chief executive officer of the Busch Professional Group, an organization of several small businesses.

Gregg’s postsecondary education began at Parkersburg, W.Va., Community College. He has a Doctorate of Education – Higher Education Administration and Leadership focusing on community colleges from West Virginia University, a Master of Science – Community Medicine from West Virginia University, School of Medicine, and a bachelor’s degree in Mortuary Science from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science at Xavier University.  He has additional graduate work in clinical psychology and sociology from Marshall University, Graduate College.

I want to thank the members of the search committee for their work. Also, Trina Felty should be commended for her leadership in the position in an interim capacity.

Gregg’s first day at the College will be Sept. 12. He reports to Dr. Morgan Phillips, President of the West and Desert Vista campuses. Please join me in welcoming Gregg to the College.


New VP of Instruction, Downtown Campus

Here is a message I sent to the College community regarding PCC’s new Vice President of Instruction at our Downtown Campus:

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Lamata D. Mitchell is the College’s new Vice President of Instruction for Downtown Campus.

Lamata Mitchell

Dr. Lamata Mitchell

Lamata, who fills a vacant position at Downtown Campus, has served for nearly 20 years as a community college instructor and administrator. She has a strong background in mission fulfillment, accreditation, mentoring, student affairs and curriculum development.

Since January 2010, Lamata has been Dean of Communication at Rock Valley College, a two-year college in Rockford, Ill. As Dean, she is responsible for offering quality programs that align with the strategic goals and initiatives for the more than 3,300 students in Rock Valley’s Communication Division.

Lamata has 20 years’ teaching experience in English at Rock Valley, where she was instrumental in developing a course in Non-Western Literature, 1800-present. She also taught British Literature, 1800-present; Shakespeare; and other courses.

Lamata has a doctorate in English from Northern Illinois University, a master of arts in English from Andrews University in Michigan, a master of arts in Publishing and Journalism from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor of arts in English and Philosophy from Trent University in the United Kingdom.

I want to thank the members of the search committee for their work. Also, Pat Houston and Ian Roark should be commended for their leadership in the position in an interim capacity.

Lamata’s first day at the College will be Sept. 26. She reports to Dr. David Doré, President of the Downtown and Northwest campuses. Please join me in welcoming Lamata to the College.

Aviation Technology Center update


Here is a message I shared with the College community earlier today:

I am pleased to give you good news on the status of our Aviation Technology Center (ATC).

You will recall that when a college offers more than 50 percent of courses for a specific program at a location geographically separate from a main campus, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) must approve the site.  Further, colleges are prohibited by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) from disbursing federal financial aid for programs at sites that have not been HLC-approved.

We discovered that PCC had never obtained this approval for the ATC site, and self-disclosed this fact to the HLC and ED.  We immediately filed for approval with the HLC, and did not disburse financial aid to Aviation students for the summer semester.  Instead, the College and the PCC Foundation provided affected students with institutional and Foundation scholarships.

I want to emphasize that through this whole process the Aviation program itself has remained fully accredited and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the HLC.

On June 27, 2016, the HLC approved the ATC at Pima Community College as an additional location.  This means that the College is able to offer the various Aviation degrees and certificates at the ATC.  This approval also allowed the College to seek approval from ED to offer federal financial aid at this location.

We are awaiting final approval from ED, but based on our conversations with them, we are optimistic that this will occur before the fall financial aid disbursement date of September 9.  We also have learned that the Department is in the process of reviewing our Program Participation Agreement (PPA) and updating our Eligibility & Certification Approval Report (ECAR), which contains the ED list of Pima’s approved locations.  These are very positive signs.

On Thursday, August 4, 2016, Aviation leadership met with students, updated them on our progress, and discussed the College’s efforts to ensure that financial aid students remain unaffected.  The College is working to have contingency plans in place, should the ED approval be delayed past September 9.

I am encouraged by these developments, and I am proud of the staff and faculty who proactively identified this issue, and have been working to correct it.  Thanks to their efforts, this is one more example of the College’s progress toward becoming a premier institution of learning.


Accreditation update


Below is a message I shared earlier today with the College community:

I want to share a brief summary of information presented to the Governing Board by Bruce Moses, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Accreditation and Quality Improvement, at the Board’s Aug. 1 Study Session.

The topic, accreditation and the Sept. 26-27 Focus Visit by a team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), is of obvious interest to the College community. Here are the major takeaways from the session.


As you know, the College is accredited by the HLC but is on Notice, which means we are at risk of being unable to meet one or more of HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. We submitted a Notice Report to the HLC on June 29, 2016. A timeline of important upcoming HLC-related events is available on the website. A critical event will be the HLC Board of Trustees’ meeting Feb. 26-27 to determine the College’s institutional status.

HLC rules prohibit it from keeping PCC on Notice, or placing us back on Probation. These are the possible outcomes:

  • We are removed from Notice.
  • We are removed from Notice, but must submit one or more reports detailing our progress in areas in which the HLC says we need to improve. The HLC may make additional Focus Visits to the College.
  • The HLC issues an order requiring us to show causeas to why our accredited status should not be removed.


One point Bruce astutely drove home is the need for the College to keep making progress throughout the Fall semester. A PCC team will travel to Chicago in December for a hearing of the HLC’s Institutional Actions Council, which makes recommendations to the HLC Board of Trustees. At the hearing, it will be important for the PCC team to provide evidence that the College has been improving processes throughout the semester.

We are up to the challenge to continue to improve. I don’t have to tell you that we have made significant strides. Our faculty, staff, administrators and Board are responsible for the many positive changes at PCC.  Thank you for meeting the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities to improve service to our students and community.


Report to the Community

This month’s edition of PCC Spotlight, the College’s e-newsletter, contains my annual Report to the Community.
Some of the topics addressed in the Report:
  • Accreditation: We have submitted a Notice Report to the Higher Learning Commission, a key step in regaining the fullest measure of confidence from our accreditor.
  • Fiscal stewardship: I put into perspective PCC’s budget, property tax rates, and tuition for 2016-17.
  • Student success: We are making strides in improving and expanding pathways for students at the beginning of their education journey.

Aviation Technology Center update

Below is a message I sent to the College community July 1:

I have good news to share about our Aviation Technology Center (ATC).  The College was notified today that the Higher Learning Commission has approved the ATC as an instructional site.

If you’ll remember, when a college offers more than 50 percent of program instruction at a location geographically separate from a main campus (in ATC’s case, Desert Vista), the HLC must approve the site.

Today, I received a letter from HLC President Barbara Gellman-Danley notifying the College that the Institutional Actions Council of the HLC on June 27 approved our request “to open three additional locations”: the ATC, 7211 S. Park Ave.; Maintenance and Security, 6680 S. Country Club Road; and the Tucson Public Safety Academy, at 10001 S. Wilmot Road.

The letter added that the HLC, per policy, will conduct a required Additional Location Confirmation Visit to the ATC within six months.

Additionally, the HLC approved PCC’s request to open additional locations at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson, 10000 S. Wilmot Road, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Correctional Complex at 8901 S. Wilmot Road.

It should be noted that the College, while seeking HLC approval of the ATC, self-disclosed its status to the U.S. Department of Education. The DOE is conducting a focused program review of the ATC. DOE’s review potentially affects the College’s ability to disburse financial aid at the ATC because institutions must first receive approval from their regional accrediting body, i.e. the HLC, prior to disbursing federal financial aid. We are working with the DOE to seek approval to disburse financial aid to ATC students for the Fall 2016 semester.

Today’s good news represents crucial progress for the College in the areas of compliance and accountability. We continue to improve our alignment with accreditor and regulator standards and expectations. The beneficiaries are our students, who can attain their goals through a Pima Community College education.

Thank you for your dedication to doing things right, and enjoy the holiday.


College submits Notice Report to accreditor

Below is a message I sent earlier today to the College community:


The College yesterday afternoon sent our Notice Report to the Higher Learning Commission. The report can be read on the Accreditation page of our website.

In meeting the deadline for submission of the report, the College has reached another milestone as we seek to regain the full trust of our accreditor. It’s important to remember that successfully emerging from the Notice sanction is not an endpoint. It is a significant step toward our ultimate goal, providing the best possible programs and services to students and the community.

The Notice process has been marked by many changes at the College, including a re-evaluation of our Mission Fulfillment Framework, the foundation document for our efforts. Change is difficult, especially in a large, student-centered organization such as PCC, but it’s necessary, and I am proud so many employees have embraced new ways of doing things.

A project of this scope could not succeed without the teamwork of faculty, staff and administrators. Dozens of employees should be proud of their efforts, and I thank those who commented on earlier drafts of the report, or provided evidence.

As it has in past HLC-related matters, the Provost’s Office took the lead on the Notice Report and piloted the College through a long, complex process. The Subject Matter Experts team spent hours researching, writing, revising and editing the Notice Report, and deserve recognition: Dolores Durán-Cerda, Julian Easter, Carl Englander, Karrie Mitchell, Bruce Moses, Lee Nichols, Michael Parker, Nic Richmond, Carin Rubinstein, Kate Schmidt, Jeff Silvyn and Jeff Thies.

I am confident the Notice Report provides strong evidence that the College has substantially addressed the concerns raised in the HLC Notice Letter, and demonstrates we meet HLC standards. The progress made by the College over the past three years is strengthening our efforts to revitalize our community academically, economically and culturally.

Thank you for your support.

Lee D. Lambert,