A big start to the new year

The past few days have been busy and productive as the College made progress in two important areas: state government engagement, and accreditation.

On Monday, I attended the opening session of the Arizona Legislature in Phoenix. Sen. David Bradley, District 10, invited a PCC team to the session, where we met briefly with Sen. Steve Farley, District 9. Sen. Bradley’s other guests included Daniel Ranieri, President/CEO for La Frontera Arizona, and H.T. Sanchez, Superintendent of TUSD. We discussed the importance of continued funding for education on all levels, including community colleges and universities, and our interest in Gov. Ducey’s proposed budget. I also met Senate President Andy Biggs and Rep.Vince Leach, District 11, Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

On Tuesday, I led a PCC team at a hearing of the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee in Chicago. The hearing was held to review the report of the HLC evaluation team that visited PCC in September. As I have written, the College last month received the good news that the team recommended we be taken off probation.

I believe the hearing went extremely well and the atmosphere was positive. I asked that the Hearing Committee accepts the recommendation of the site evaluation team.

The hearing was significant because it was the last chance for us to describe, person to person, to the HLC the many improvements that are taking place at PCC and make our case to be removed from probation. The Hearing Committee asked a variety of questions covering a number of areas, such as integrated planning and budgeting, program review, board governance, leadership transition, and diversity.

The meeting reinforced my belief that the HLC Board of Trustees’ final decision, due in late February or early March, will be a positive one for the College.

To top off the last few days, before Wednesday’s PCC Governing Board meeting a new member of the Board, Mark Hanna, was sworn to begin his six-year term. Mark, a former chair of the PCC Alumni Association and a former member of the PCC Foundation, replaces Dr. Brenda Even, who chose not to run for re-election after ably serving on the Board since 2001.

Clearly, a lot of good things are happening at PCC as we learn, change and improve in order to better serve students and the community.

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