I am happy to report that the Aztec Press, our student newspaper, is doing award-winning work. The paper finished second in a nationwide journalism competition for college publications. The Aztec Press finished second in the College Media Association’s Two-Year Less-Than-Weekly Newspaper of the Year category, announced Nov. 1.
In September, the Aztec Press won second place in its size category for “Journalistic Achievement/Community Service” in the Arizona Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
Congratulations are in order for the student journalists at the Aztec Press, and its advisor, Cynthia Lancaster. This semester’s student editors include Editor in Chief Andrew Paxton, News Editor David Del Grande, Insight Editor Jamie Verwys, Arts and Entertainment Editor Katie Stewart, Sport Editor Beto Hoyos, Photo Editor Nick Meyers and Multimedia Editor Sebastian Barajas.
I’m proud to see that our student-journalists are making excellent use of their First Amendment rights. I think it’s appropriate to note that the same freedoms that make a robust press possible also are the basis of quality education. Teaching and learning cannot occur without the right to come together to share ideas freely. Free speech truly is the foundation of our society.
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.