Author Archives: pimachancellor

About pimachancellor

Lee D. Lambert has been Chancellor of Pima Community College since July 1, 2013. Before coming to PCC, Chancellor Lambert was President of Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Wash., outside Seattle. He also served as Interim President, and was Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs at Shoreline from January 2005-June 2006. He also has served as Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs at Centralia College in Centralia, Wash., and as Special Assistant to the President for Civil Rights and Legal Affairs at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Chancellor Lambert is a board member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and has participated in AACC’s Vocational Education Leadership Training Program. He is board chair of the National Coalition of Certification Centers and is a founding member of the Manufacturing Institute Education Council. Chancellor Lambert received a Juris Doctor degree from the Seattle University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. He often is asked to speak at national and international conferences. He recently spoke at the International Conference on Community Colleges and at AACC’s 20th Annual Workforce Development Institute, where he presented on “The Keys to Collaboration: K-12 and Workforce Relationships.” Chancellor Lambert received the Pacific Region 2009 Chief Executive Officer Award from the Association of Community College Trustees. He contributes to and serves on the editorial board of The Source online magazine. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association. Chancellor Lambert has taught a Human Resources course at Centralia College, and has taught courses on Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice, and Employment Law at The Evergreen State College. A U.S. Army veteran, Chancellor Lambert was born in Seoul, South Korea, grew up on three continents, and graduated from high school in the Olympia, Wash., area. He likes for people to call him Lee.

Meeting K-12 needs

The College earlier this month hosted representatives of nine Tucson-area school districts and other important players in the K-12 system. We have been leading these gatherings annually since 2014. As usual, the discussion was robust and wide-ranging.

The most common need cited was for PCC to continue and intensify outreach into high school and middle school campuses, and to inform parents of their role in getting their children to attend college.

The College is committed to meeting our constituents where they live to tell our story. Our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan include major outreach initiatives.

We understand the need to start the conversation early to build strong connections with prospective students and their families. Many of our students are the first in their family to attend college, and are of modest means, making paying for school a major decision.

I thank the attendees for taking time to share insights on important topics of mutual interest, and to PCC’s Esperanza Duarte and Joi Stirrup for putting together an informative event that brings together stakeholders united in their commitment to student success.

Strengthening cross-border partnerships

The College’s connections with Mexico continue to pay dividends for students on both sides of the border. Beginning in January, PCC and the Instituto Tecnológico de Hermosillo (ITH) will share a one-year, $25,000 grant to train leaders in the fast-growing field of sustainability.

The initiative is made possible by a grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. In the Sustainable Energy Exchange Program: Benefiting Binational Communities, One Community at a Time project, PCC, ITH and community partners will teach participating students clean energy and sustainability in a global context, plus offer them work experience.

Through exchange programs students from both institutions will work in teams and gain technical skills to be more competent for the global workforce. Approximately eight PCC students will participate, starting in spring 2018. PCC expects to host eight ITH students at the same time. The grant also has a service learning component, with students educating communities on energy-saving tools and techniques.

Programs that give our students the opportunity to study abroad while bringing International students to our campuses are an excellent fit with our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, as well as Strategic Goal 6 of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan. Moreover, wind and solar energy employment is growing rapidly in the U.S., according to a 2016 Department of Energy report. This new initiative, made possible through the dedication and creativity of our Center for International Education and Global Engagement, will lead to tangible academic and career success for our students.

“One City, One County, One Community”

It was an honor to join nearly two dozen of our region’s leaders at the “One City, One County, One Community” event organized by Tucson City Council member Richard Fimbres.

Pima Community College is committed to social justice. We stand for what is right and in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. And we know that working with the community, we can make great strides in improving life for our neighbors and constituents.

Learn more about the “One City, One County, One Community” initiative.

A message of hope

Below is a message to the College community from Dr. Sofia Ramos, PCC’s Interim Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, following the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the upcoming school year and the return of our students to campus, our thoughts are with the families affected by the tragic events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia, and all of us who bear witness.

Pima Community College stands firm in embracing our rich differences in identity, religion, heritage and ability as cornerstones of excellence.  We remain committed to engaging our entire community in weaving diversity and inclusion into our institutional fabric and beyond.

While national events bring pain and threaten to divide us, with the support of Chancellor Lambert and Provost Durán-Cerda, Pima will continue to build community and encourage acceptance and understanding around civility, diversity and inclusion topics through periodic gatherings in a series called Inclusion Matters.

Every day is an opportunity to spread kindness, goodness and to honor our unique identities, cultures, traditions and history. We look forward to the start of the new year and to working together as a community to create positive change.

PCC joins the M-List

Below is an announcement released to the media regarding PCC qualifying for The Manufacturing Institute’s M-List. The designation recognizes PCC’s outstanding courses in Machine Tool Technology, Welding, Mechatronics, and Building & Construction, and is a huge accomplishment for the College.

Pima Community College is the newest member of The Manufacturing Institute’s M-List. The designation acknowledges PCC’s outstanding Machine Tool Technology, Welding, Mechatronics, and Building and Construction courses.

Enrolled students will be eligible to receive certifications from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, National Center for Construction Education & Research, and American Welding Society, as well as receive college credit.

In addition to being recognized on the M-List, PCC also participates on The Manufacturing Institute’s Education Council, representing institutions committed to delivering high-quality manufacturing education and training programs designed to meet the skill requirements of the nation’s manufacturers.

The M-List recognizes high schools, community colleges and universities that are teaching manufacturing students to industry standards. Specifically, these institutions offer students the opportunity to earn NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certifications as a standard part of their manufacturing education programs. Companies and schools interested in joining the Manufacturing Institute’s effort or learning more can visit themanufacturinginstitute.org/Skills-Certification/M-List/MList.aspx.

Report to the Community 2017

This is an exciting time at Pima Community College. We are moving forward with significant, wide-ranging initiatives with the potential to reshape PCC so that we can best serve our community for years — and in some cases, decades — to come.

PCC continues to reduce its budget to account for declines in enrollment and upcoming expenditure limitation realities. At the same time, the College is undergoing a strategic renewal, positioning itself to become a premier community college:

  • In May, the Pima County Community College Governing Board approved PCC’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The plan commits the College to the goal that 60 percent of Pima County residents age 25 and older have a college certificate or degree by 2030, aligning us with Gov. Doug Ducey’s Achieve60AZ initiative.
  • We are moving forward with our first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan.
  • The College has developed a conceptual Educational and Facilities Master Plan, which provides a vision for where we need to go as an organization.

On diversity

Our new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan is an important step forward. The plan commits us to help close the academic achievement gap for Hispanic/Latino Pima County residents. While the plan embraces our primary responsibility to Southern Arizonans, especially its underrepresented, marginalized communities, it also includes an initiative on global education.

I was born in South Korea and have lived on three continents, so I know first-hand the value of interacting with people from all over the world. Being aware that one is a member of a global community, and having an appreciation for other cultures, has benefits that go beyond the personal, however.

Global competencies give individuals and businesses an edge. Speaking to the Governing Board earlier this month, Caterpillar Inc.’s Brian Weller, Chief Engineer, Surface Mining & Technology, emphasized that an “open mind to diversity of thought” is critical to the success of individuals in his company. He knows, as PCC does, that when we understand and respect each other, everyone wins.


Centers of Excellence

Studies show that Arizona, like many states, suffers from a shortage of middle-skill workers, those who have attended college but haven’t received a bachelor’s degree. Key Arizona industries — aviation, advanced manufacturing and others — can’t find work-ready employees, thus hampering their ability to thrive and grow.

PCC and other community colleges offer affordable programs that can fill industry’s middle-skills gap. PCC is committed to ensuring the quality and relevance of our programs, and to creating clear curriculum pathways to student success. We work with business and industry partners so that our courses meet their current and future needs. We train people today so they can move into jobs tomorrow.

Our commitment to student success will take physical form in new Centers of Excellence. Students in our renowned occupational programs, such as Allied Health, Aviation Technology and Applied Technology, deserve to learn in modern facilities containing state-of-the-art equipment. Moreover, area employers are looking to us to provide work-ready graduates with the skill sets, curiosity and flexibility needed to be productive in an ever-changing workplace. Our goal is for the Centers to be recognized nationwide as places to gain skills needed for well-paying careers.


Accreditation in context

In past years, I have begun messages to the community with a report on our status with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an organization that accredits institutions of higher learning such as PCC. That was because since April 2013, we had been under some form of sanction by the HLC, and working to have those sanctions removed was our top priority. We are proud to report that since March, when HLC lifted our On Notice status, PCC has enjoyed the full measure of confidence from our accreditor.

For our employees and Governing Board, our good standing with the HLC is a milestone that validates their hard work. For current and future students, a degree or certificate from an accredited institution shows interested employers that our students have the education and skills to meet their standards.

Assuring our full accreditation is always an important activity for PCC, and we are preparing for the HLC’s regular visit in 2018. However, the lifting of sanctions means the accreditation warning light isn’t blinking on our institutional dashboard.  Thankfully, we can devote full attention to opportunities and challenges in front of us.

About the Report to the Community

This letter and the accompanying Report to the Community provide a concise snapshot of the state of the College in late spring 2017. It is organized around PCC’s institutional North Star of student success, community engagement and diversity. The report respects the reader’s time — it is short and hopefully jargon-free. Data is presented as a point of entry to a larger topic, and often links to reports and information sources for those readers who wish to learn more about the College.

A final word

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” PCC is an evidence-based organization, and our future activities will be informed by collection and analysis of data, as well as by insights from our community partners. We also are guided by our values: People, Integrity, Excellence, Communication, Collaboration, and Open Admissions and Open Access.

We know there will be detours and resets, as there are with all dynamic, substantial changes. Our commitment to taking the first step, to meeting challenges in order to improve the lives of our students and the community, will not diminish. We’ll always be climbing the staircase.


Lee D. Lambert, J.D.
Chancellor, Pima Community College

PCC adopts Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget

Below is information for the community and the media regarding the College’s finances:

Pima Community College’s Governing Board voted June 14 to approve the College’s fiscal year 2017-2018 budget of $246.1 million, a decrease of approximately $1.7 million, or 0.7 percent, when compared to the current year’s budget of $247.8 million.

The 2017-2018 budget reflects significant progress toward aligning the budget with the priorities of the 2017-2021 College Strategic Plan, as well as the initial stages for implementation of the College’s Educational and Facilities Master Plans. Additionally, the College’s budget takes into consideration enrollment, revenue, and anticipated expenditure limitation concerns through the reduction of more than 100 vacant staff positions, decreasing personnel expenditures by more than $6.0 million.

Since December 2016, the Governing Board has been actively engaged with College administration and the community in preparation for the development and adoption of the 2017-2018 budget. The approved budget includes a 2.5 percent increase to wages and salaries for the fiscal year, as well as an additional $0.5 million allocation for enrollment services and marketing initiatives.

The adopted primary tax levy change will increase the primary tax rate from the levy neutral rate of $1.3484 to a rate of $1.3890 per $100 of assessed valuation. The College’s primary property tax levy will result in a $4 increase to the annual tax bill for a residential home with a full cash value of $100,000. The College’s primary property tax rate continues to be well below the average of its peers.

A presentation made to the Governing Board on Truth in Taxation and Adoption of Fiscal Year 2018 Proposed Budget is available on the College’s website.