On 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.
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.
PCC today took a major step forward as it works to improve service to students and the community. The College submitted a Monitoring Report to the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting organization.
The HLC had directed us to submit the report, which addresses HLC concerns regarding two of its Assumed Practices. The report contains numerous ways we intend to improve our processes regarding complaints and faculty oversight of curriculum.
In describing PCC’s situation, I’ve said on several occasions that the wheels on the bus have fallen off. The metaphor remains apt. Assumed Practices are shared by institutions of higher education in the United States. They are foundational, minimal requirements that colleges and universities must meet in order to function. In resolving the HLC’s concerns about Assumed Practices, I believe that we are putting the wheels back on the bus, and readying the College so that it can move forward in the future.
And move forward we will. I view the next 12-15 months as an excellent opportunity for review and reassessment. This period of intense self-examination of our mission and operations will yield a better Pima.
For students, this process will be virtually invisible, as I discussed in this video on accreditation and probation. They will still be able to apply for financial aid, their PCC credits will transfer to four-year colleges, and the quality of our degrees and certificates will not be diminished. For the tens of thousands of students who will be returning to our campuses next month, I’m pleased to say that it’s business as usual.