Tag Archives: partnerships

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.

Outcomes

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 pima.edu 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.

Conclusion

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.

 

Trip to Israel

Members of the Ethiopian National Project

Members of the Ethiopian National Project

I recently returned from a community leadership mission to Israel coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and led by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. My primary focus was to learn more about the State of Israel’s human development system and potential partnerships that might be available to Pima Community College.  Important aspects of this visit included addressing challenges associated with Israel’s youth, immigrant communities, and diversity.

At the Western Wall with a delegation including Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

At the Western Wall with a delegation including Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

I learned that the talent development system in Israel is grounded in a larger commitment to social justice with broad participation from employers, educators, community organizations, and concerned individuals from Israel and the USA. This commitment is an important counterbalance to a public education system that appears overwhelmed by large class sizes (up to 40 students per teacher), and limited state investment compared to their defense industry.

My first exposure was with Liliyot Restaurant, a leading culinary institution.  One aspect of their uniqueness centers on their work with at-risk youth.  As noted on their web site, liliyot.co.il, “Every year Liliyot Restaurant trains and employs 15 high school drop-outs, who receive instruction, supervision, and employment for a period of up to a year and half.”  Some of the keys to success of this initiative include partnerships between the ELEM-Israel organization (http://www.elem.org.il/english/) and the Liliyot Group, including the involvement of a full-time social worker and a caring, committed team of professionals at the Liliyot Restaurant.

We visited the Tel Nof Air Force Base where we met the elite Rescue Training Unit 669, an airborne combat search-and-rescue team of the Israelis Defense Forces (idfblog.com). The training of this elite unit takes about 18 months.  This unit has a special connection to Tucson, because the unit has participated in joint training exercises with similar units here in our community.  Some members of this unit will be returning to Tucson in the future.  It is my hope to connect members of PCC’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute with this elite group.

We met with the program staff, faculty and students of the Ethiopian National Project (ENP).  This project “unites global Jewry, the Government of Israel, and the Ethiopian-Israeli community in its mission to advance the integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society” (enp.org.il). We had an opportunity to interact with the students in a small group setting.  I was deeply inspired by their passion and commitment to learning.

We heard student testimonials about the positive impact the ENP is having on their lives.  One of the stories that stood out for me was of a male student who was not taking his studies seriously. He was known for not participating in class and other school activities, and sometimes would skip school.  Thanks to the coordinator of the ENP’s Scholastic Assistance Program checking in with the student’s teachers, an intervention strategy was developed.  This included the coordinator going out to the student’s neighborhood to find out was going on with him.  Thanks to the care, commitment and passion of the coordinator taking the time understand the familial dynamics, the student is back on a path to success.

We also learned about Israeli and Arab challenges from the founders of Alpha Omega, an Arab start-up company (alphaomega-eng.com).  The co-founders attended a well-regarded Israeli university, but following graduation, still had difficulty finding meaningful work.  Eventually they decided to start up what eventually became a highly successful medical device company focused on neurology and degenerative disease.  Another aspect of their story that struck me was their commitment to their employees and community. They encourage their employees to start their own businesses.  They are very involved with community organizations.

We had a fascinating visit with the BioBee Biological Systems in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu (www.BioBee.com).  They are the world’s leading experts on mass production and implementation of beneficial insects and mites as an alternative to chemical pesticides used in agriculture  They run a very sophisticated operation that attracts leading experts to their kibbutz.  Additionally, they invest heavily in the training and development of their front-line team.

I left Israel feeling inspired and affirmed in my decision to work in higher education.  The U.S. and Israel have much that they can learn from each other, but one thing is common to both countries:  Student success happens when educators and community members care enough to develop personal relationships with students.

Training that saves lives

Ceremony

I recently had the privilege of attending the graduation of 21 new paramedics from the U.S. Air Force. The diverse group is the third cohort to have completed four months of six-day-a-week training at our Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute.

Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally

Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard

So far, PCC has trained 71 airmen and airwomen to become paramedics under the five-year training contract the College received from the U.S. Air Force last year. I related to the new graduates that the Air Force recently recognized one of the graduates of the first cohort for saving a life of a comrade-in-arms.

The impressive list of speakers included U.S. Rep. Martha McSally;  keynote speaker Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D., Mobilization Assistant to the Director of the Defense Health Headquarters; and PSESI Medical Director Dr. Andrea Herbert.  Among their key messages: never stop learning. Completion of coursework at PCC gives the paramedics the foundation for future stackable credentials earned during their professional career.

Like many fields of study offered at PCC, paramedicine is changing rapidly and requires constant training to stay atop the profession.

Rep. McSally called the connection between PCC and the Air Force a “cutting-edge partnership,” which is especially apt given our special relationship with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Congratulations are in order for our Shane Clark, Sharon Hollingsworth and the team at PSESI for organizing an excellent ceremony. I look forward to attending graduations of future classes of these great young airwomen and airmen for years to come.

Visit to Korea, China

I have just returned from a visit to the Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China, where we continue to consolidate our partnerships. I was honored to be invited by the Mayor of the Korean island of Ulleungdo to sign an International Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU), which was presented in an official ceremony with local authorities and media. I was accompanied by Ms. Ann Klocko from the Korea Arizona Trade Office (KATO) in Tucson, and Pima Community College’s Acting Vice President for International Development, Ricardo Castro-Salazar.

Korea 1 Korea Klocko maybe JCD

Ulleung-gun

While there, we had the opportunity to visit a local high school, where I addressed the students and talked to them about PCC. We were officially received and sent off by the Mayor. We also met with partners of KATO in Seoul and discussed collaboration possibilities with PCC.

Korea students

Korea classIn China, we met with authorities of Foshan City (picture below) and signed an International Memorandum of Understanding with Bao Qi (Paul Jin) and Guangdong JIRONG Capital & Development Co. (JCD). The IMOU opens possibilities for PCC to develop workforce training, online education, short-term programs, and summer camps for students from Foshan and other areas.

Foshan 2

We also traveled to the city of Zhuhai, where we were hosted by President Liu Huaqiang of Zhuhai City Polytechnic College. We discussed our IMOU and signed an addendum establishing that both institutions will work on the development of international educational exchange programs in business and hospitality management. An even exchange program, where Pima and Zhuhai College students could benefit, was also discussed.

In Zhuhai, we also met with Helen Hu, from the China Youth Center for International Exchange, to discuss collaboration opportunities. We talked about the possibility of developing hybrid models for international students, where online offerings could make our programs more competitive.

Zhuhai 3Zhuhai 2

Upon our return, on June 6 we hosted President Liu Huaqiang, who came to Tucson as part of a visit to the U.S. He took the opportunity to see Tucson and PCC campuses and expressed that he was very impressed with the College and our desert beauty.

PCC, ITSON renew friendship, sign agreement

ITSON 2On Tuesday, Rector Isidro Roberto Cruz of the Technological Institute of Sonora (ITSON) and I signed an agreement of cooperation between our two institutions. ITSON (www.itson.mx) is a prestigious public institution of higher education in northwest Mexico and an important player in its regional economy. Among many projects in southern Sonora, ITSON has a business incubator, a software development center (NOVUTEK), an International District for Agribusinesses, a University Center for Community Development, and a Research Center for Biotechnology, Agricultural and Environmental Innovation.

ITSON 4

This summer, 15 ITSON professors from different fields will spend four weeks at Pima improving their English and exploring pedagogical methods for the delivery of classes in English. The PCC-ITSON agreement will also allow for PCC students and faculty members to do studies, research and professional development at ITSON. West Campus President Lou Albert and I received an invitation from Rector Cruz to visit his institution to continue developing bi-national partnerships. Agreements such as this strengthen global education at PCC and have benefits that extend across national borders.

ITSON 7

ITSON 6

ITSON 5

ITSON 8

Building Community 2015

From left: Edmund Marquez, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Chancellor Lee D. Lambert, Building Community emcee Dan Marries.

From left: PCC Foundation Board of Directors Member Edmund Marquez, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Chancellor Lee D. Lambert, Building Community emcee Dan Marries.

I had the privilege of delivering keynote remarks at the Pima Community College Foundation’s Building Community luncheon Feb. 6 at the Westin La Paloma resort. The more than 400 leaders of education, business and industry, government and community organizations who attended learned more about how PCC works with its partners to improve individual lives and spark economic development in the region.

This was the second Building Community luncheon, and in one major respect, much has changed since last year’s inaugural event. I told the audience that, thanks to the efforts of some 300 employees, students and community members, PCC is now well-positioned to successfully emerge from probation, a sanction placed on the College by our accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, in April 2013. Final word on our status comes later this month, and I have every reason to believe that the College has done the work to successfully comply with HLC standards and regain its fullest degree of confidence.

I explained to the audience the initiatives the College is undertaking to bridge that gaps that pose major challenges to the success of higher education institutions across the U.S.: gaps in student achievement, skills, technology, sustainability and global awareness. However, the  powerful collaborations that yield tangible successes for our students formed the most memorable part of the event. I want to relate just a few stories.

Dean West, 27, grew up in Longview, Wash., a small town where the paper mill was the major employer. After getting his GED, he immediately joined the Army, and worked in weapons maintenance. Dean moved to Tucson to be with family. An acquaintance told him about PCC. He is graduating with a degree in Computer Aided Drafting Design. While at PCC, he connected with his current employer, a manufacturer. “I was blessed to have instructors who have high standards and a highly structured environment,” he says, adding that his military experience set him up for academic success at Pima. “I have my dream job,” he says, and he plans to attend UA on the G.I. Bill.

Alec Moreno is a Tucson High School graduate. He has four siblings, and his family is of modest means. He was worried about finding the money for college after the Great Recession took a severe toll on the family’s finances. But PCC Foundation scholarships (about $1,400 he says) have made a big difference. “Pima’s tuition is very affordable, but coming from a large family, every dollar counts.” He plans to study engineering at UA, and hopes to get a master’s in education to give back to the community. When he graduates UA, he will be first member of his family to get a bachelor’s degree. He will tell his story while in Washington, D.C., this week to meet federal legislators and officials.

Ashley Rodriguez is a Sunnyside High School graduate who joined the military. Following her service she attended other colleges and still had a hard time finding a career. Then one day by chance she saw a piece of paper on the floor. She picked it up and learned about Pima’s Aviation Technology program. The road through the rigorous program had its twists and turns, but now she is working for Bombardier.

Similar stories were told by Gloria Bloomer, chair of the PCC Foundation Board of Directors. A video segment produced by PCCTV showed the close relationship between the College and employers Suddath Relocation Systems and Radiology Ltd. Gloria introduced David Lee, who graduated from our Radiologic Technology program and works for Radiology Ltd. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild put our contributions into perspective when he described how PCC plays a key role his “Five T’s” program of development by preparing Tucsonans for the middle class jobs that will provide the backbone of our community.

Renowned educator Marian Wright Edelman said, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” Working together with our partners in Tucson, Arizona and across the nation, we can achieve that goal, and propel Tucson to new era of economic development.

Facilities Best Practices Symposium

Our Facilities Department recently held a Best Practices Symposium for southern Arizona K-12 and community college district facilities operations and maintenance personnel. More than 50 people attended to discuss best practices, efficiencies and lessons learned. Topics discussed included effectively managing risk, campus safety and enhanced energy storage.

Vice Chancellor of Facilities Bill Ward and his team joined forces with Trane, the maker of heating and air conditioning systems, to hold the event at our Downtown Campus. Below, Bill explains the purpose and goals of the symposium:

 

My remarks at the symposium focused on how  PCC can partner with industry for the benefit of our students in our occupational programs. In this scenario, both business and students are our customers. We partner with industry for several reasons: to align our curriculum with cutting-edge practices, and to obtain the equipment and resources so that students graduate  ready to successfully transition to real-world jobs. The College needs to provide faculty with training so that they can stay up-to-date with increasingly sophisticated industry practices and machinery. We also need to assure quality by consistently benchmarking our programs against our community college peers and industry standards.

All partners need to agree upon clearly defined objectives and share a vision that will sustain them through the inevitable rocky times. In that sense, the partnership is kind of like a marriage:

 

I want to thank Bill and Richard Mills of Trane for making the inaugural Best Practices Symposium a success. Bringing together a group of facilities professionals with wide-ranging expertise and diverse perspectives helps the local facilities and operations community share knowledge and effectively address common issues.