Compiled from a PCC press release
Pima Community College has hired Lee D. Lambert as chancellor.
At a special meeting on May 17, the PCC governing board voted unanimously to enter into a three-year contract with Lambert.
Since 2006, Lambert has been president of Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Wash.
“I am honored and pleased to be selected as chancellor. Pima Community College is a place committed to student access and success,” Lambert said. “Together I will work with any and all groups to advance the mission of the college.”
Lambert’s contract will start on July 1. His annual base pay will be $290,000.
Before being named president at Shoreline, Lambert served as the Seattle-area institution’s vice president for human resources and legal affairs.
He earned a law degree from Seattle University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
Lambert’s selection followed a fact-finding trip to Shoreline by a six-member PCC team.
Team members shared observations and insights with the board and the community during the May 17 meeting.
They were unanimous in their support of Lambert as “the right person to lead us to a brighter tomorrow,” according to board member Sylvia Lee.
“I had hoped I would find reasons to say no,” Lee said. Instead, “I found numerous reasons to say yes.”
Lee was one of several team members who noted that Lambert led Shoreline out of a fiscal crisis brought on by Washington state legislature budget cuts.
Partnerships with area industries have rejuvenated many of the school’s programs, such as Machine Tool Technology and Automotive Technology, Lee said.
The team found Lambert to be a leader of integrity who has made Shoreline a place of “collegiality, vision and respect,” said Terra Benson, PCC director of admissions and registrar.
“He’s a CEO, not a micromanager,” said PCC Foundation member Norm Rebenstorf.
He called Lambert’s managerial style clear, strategic and inclusive, and said Lambert expects his administrators to have “eight or nine irons in the fire, always properly heated.”
Rebenstorf, who also served on the independent citizens’ search committee that initially vetted numerous chancellor candidates, praised Lambert’s inclusive leadership style and hands-on approach to management.
“He will take this college to another level,” Rebenstorf said.
History instructor Kimlisa Salazar Duchicela noted that Shoreline was a welcoming and diverse institution with a multicultural center, a women’s center and “academic vibrancy.”
Shoreline is “a place where one wanted to be,” she said. “I believe strongly an institution reflects its leadership.”
Like Lee, Salazar Duchicela said she “looked under every rock, crevice and azalea … but couldn’t find the [red] flags I was looking for” to disqualify Lambert.
West Campus President Lou Albert described Lambert as a man of high integrity who keeps “the big picture in mind.”
“I am confident he can make the college one of the best in the country,” Albert said. “We all need to rally around this man.”
He visited PCC on April 29-30 to take part in employee and public forums, visit the college’s six campuses, and meet administrators, the PCC Foundation and the governing board.
Lambert is the sixth person since 1992 to occupy the position of PCC chancellor, including two who served on an interim basis. Before 1992, PCC was led by presidents.
Zelema Harris has served as interim chancellor since April 16. Her last day at PCC will be June 30.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College’s governing board has named a front-runner for taking over the chancellor position on a permanent basis, despite calls from many groups to halt or postpone the search.
The Board of Governors expressed interest during a special May 10 governing board meeting in having Lee Lambert, current president of Shoreline Community College, take over as Pima’s leader .
During the meeting, board chair Brenda Even said Lambert was “the candidate that seemed to rise to the top,” according to a statement released by the college.
Lambert toured the college campuses in late April, where he met students, faculty and board members and answered questions regarding how he would successfully lead Pima through probation.
At the May 10 meeting, the board voted unanimously to send a team of board members and administrators to Shoreline, Wash., to conduct a site visit at Lambert’s current college.
The team visited the Seattle-area college May 13-14 and interviewed students, administrators, trustees and faculty, and conducted a tour of the campus.
Lambert has held the top position at Shoreline CC since 2006. He has previous experience dealing with sexual harassment issues, which some feel could prove invaluable following the wake of former chancellor Roy Flores.
Flores retired in June 2012 after multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him came to light, and Pima has been searching for his replacement ever since.
Many groups, including Faculty Senate, Staff Council and several others, believe the same board members that hired Flores and failed to provide oversight should not be the ones to appoint a new leader.
“The faculty has voted no-confidence in this board. They shouldn’t be the ones hiring the new chancellor,” Faculty Senate president Joe Labuda said following an April board meeting.
Pima’s handling of the sexual harassment allegations and lack of board oversight are among the reasons the college is now on probation, according to a report from the Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting body.
Flores’ interim replacement, Suzanne Miles, resigned after criticism from the HLC, including claims she was not truthful with a team sent to investigate the sexual harassment claims and other issues reported at the college.
Following Miles’ resignation, Pima hired Zelema Harris, a retired St. Louis Community College chancellor, to head the college on an interim basis, while continuing the search for a permanent replacement. Harris’s contract runs through June 30, with a possibility to extend to Aug. 23.
The college now seems poised to appoint Lee to fill the position. The board held an executive session on May 15 to discuss contract negotiations with Lambert, according to an agenda posted on Pima’s website.
A board meeting is scheduled for May 17 at 11 a.m. to “select a successful finalist for chancellor position.” Lambert has been the only finalist named by the college.
However, not everyone involved in the chancellor search believes Lambert should take over PCC.
A group of representatives from Pima’s faculty, staff and administrators released a statement expressing a lack of faith in any of the candidates for the position.
“We do not wish to have a full-time chancellor who has lesser credentials than the current interim chancellor,” the statement said, referring to Harris.
Unlike Harris, Lambert does not have experience handling large multi-campus institutions such as Pima, nor does he have experience dealing accreditation issues. But Harris has said she has no desire to stay at Pima beyond August.
“While we regret this situation and appreciate the good-faith participation of these candidates in this process, we cannot recommend a candidate,” the statement concluded.
Much of the feedback from faculty, staff and administrators for Lambert was positive, with many citing “success working at previous institutions with major challenges” as one of his leading strengths, according to survey results posted online.
But not everyone agreed.
Some felt that Lambert’s lack of experience with large institutions or an elected board, a failure to grasp the severity Pima’s probation, and a “ sizable ego” were reasons why he should not be the one to lead the college.
By ANDREW PAXTON
When the Higher Learning Commission’s liaison spoke to Pima Community College’s governing board on May 3, her message was very clear.
“We expect our institutions to provide information and be transparent with information being provided to the student body and constituents,” Karen Solomon, a vice president with the HLC, told the board.
This is coming straight from the college’s accrediting body, the same organization that has placed Pima on probation. The HLC will also determine if Pima will be allowed to keep its accreditation after February 2015, based on how the college responds to the sanction.
However, less than a week after Solomon’s clear statement that the HLC wants more information available to students, the board decided to hold a special meeting on May 10. It barely cleared the legally required 24-hour public notice.
Notice of the meeting was not sent to the Aztec Press despite an explicit request for “press releases and any other official releases from the college.”
There was no notification sent to the student body or most constituents of the college, despite Solomon explicitly telling the college to provide information to these groups.
Instead, the information was posted on Pima’s website. The notice was not posted on the college’s homepage for easy access, but was tucked away on the governing board’s meeting calendar. The only way to know the notice was there was to search for it.
Does that sound like transparency of information?
It would not have been difficult to inform the community and students, because hundreds of them were in attendance at a May 8 board meeting.
It is difficult to imagine that the board was unaware on May 8 that they would be meeting again in 36 hours.
Board members are only allowed to discuss matters such as planning meetings during an executive session.
The board held an executive session just before the May 8 meeting, while students, faculty and members of the community rallied outside PCC’s district office and demanded resignations from the four board members who served while Roy Flores was chancellor.
Was the board afraid or unwilling to disclose their upcoming May 10 meeting when faced with hundreds of angry members of the college and the community?
Even if the decision wasn’t made until May 9 to hold the special meeting, an email could have easily been sent to all students and other interested parties to meet the HLC’s desire for information to be disseminated.
During the May 8 meeting, Brenda Even, Marty Cortez, David Longoria and Scott Stewart all offered apologies for Pima being placed on probation, but said they will not resign and will not make the same mistakes again.
The problem is, they are still making the same mistakes that got Pima placed on probation in the first place.
Solomon made it clear that the HLC expects the board to act with integrity, display ethical and responsible conduct, disclose policies, listen to internal and external groups and practice transparency.
So far, the four board members facing calls for resignation have refused to listen to internal groups such as Faculty Senate and Staff Council, as well as outside groups including Pima Open Admissions Coalition and Coalition for Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility.
Longoria has said he will not resign, no matter what the situation or circumstances. He feels he was elected to do his job, and will serve until forcibly removed or his term ends.
“I know this will be misconstrued or portrayed by many as defiant. But I would challenge anyone to think of an instance in which one’s expressed desire to carry out and perform the duties of their job was such a display,” Longoria said at the May 8 board meeting.
Challenge accepted, Mr. Longoria.
On June 25, 1876, Gen. Armstrong Custer had a strong desire to do his job, which was to round up the Lakota and drive them to a reservation. Heavily outnumbered, Custer disobeyed orders and engaged Sitting Bull’s tribe, sparking the Battle of Little Bighorn.
It is reported that shortly before being killed, Custer proclaimed “Hurrah, boys, we’ve got them!”
We all know how that turned out.
Having a strong desire to do a job isn’t enough. A true leader must know when to listen to others, when to compromise and when someone else may be more fit or better equipped for the job.
These four board members have two choices.
One choice would be to start making real, tangible reforms right now to display that they are serious about rebuilding trust, moving forward and restoring faith in the college’s leadership.
If the board members are incapable or unwilling to make genuine changes instead of hollow promises, then they must make the second choice and resign for the good of the college, students, employees and the entire Tucson community.
The ability to make a decision that is best for the college is what the HLC expects and everyone who cares about Pima demands.
Paxton is the incoming editor-in-chief for the Aztec Press and hopes everyone can work together to do what is best for Pima.
By ANDREW PAXTON
More than 150 students, faculty, staff and members of the community held a solidarity rally and then marched to show support for Pima Community College and a desire for change.
The rally began at 5:30 p.m. at Burns Park on May 8, the same day as a scheduled Board of Governors’ meeting.
The rally was a response to Pima being placed on probation by the Higher Learning Commission, the college’s accrediting body, after a team of investigators discovered a “culture of fear” and numerous other institutional failings during a visit in January.
Organizers detailed to the audience the findings of the HLC report, including that the board failed to act with integrity and demonstrate good leadership during the tenure of former chancellor Roy Flores, who retired amid a sexual harassment scandal involving several women.
Many groups, including organizations representing the faculty, staff and employees of Pima, as well as students and members of the media, including Aztec Press, have asked for members of the board to step down.
The four board members who served during the former chancellor’s tenure, Brenda Even, Scott Stewart, David Longoria and Marty Cortez, have also faced resolutions of no confidence from many of the same groups following the release of the HLC’s findings.
The only board member who has not faced calls for resignation or votes of no confidence is Sylvia Lee, who was elected to the board last year after retiring as a campus president from Pima. Lee was one of the first to call for resignations from other members of the board.
Speakers at the rally included student leader Joe McGrath, local businessman Cort Chalfant and Joe Labuda, president of the faculty senate.
“This board has been much more stubborn than we ever thought,” said Labuda. “I guess it has a lot to do with all the mistakes they made, they’re still counting them,” he said.
“Regardless of the board, we have a culture to change, we have policies and procedures to change, and a lot of things that are affecting a lot of people in our community that we need to change,” McGrath told the crowd.
“Pima deserves a functional Board of Governors, and the greater Tucson community demands it,” Chalfant said.
Labuda also stated there have been attempts to intimidate faculty and staff for speaking out.
“The hell with that,” Labuda said.
“We have First Amendment rights. This isn’t a political issue. This has to do with our school, and those people need to go. There is one reason why we are on probation, and it’s those four people over there,” he said, referring to the Flores-era board members.
At the conclusion of the rally, the group began marching, making their way to PCC’s district office, where a Board of Governors’ meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m.
The group chanted “One, two, three, four, time for B-O-G to go,” and “What do we want? Change. When do we want it? Now.” Many of the marchers held signs asking the board members to resign and demanding improvements for the college.
Once at the district office, many of the demonstrators proceeded inside to the meeting and prepared to address the board during public comments.
However, members of the board began the meeting by speaking directly to the audience about many of the concerns that led to hundreds attending the meeting.
“I am confident that Pima will successfully address these issues and we will get off the probationary status,” Even, governing board chairperson, told the assembly.
Even also acknowledged that many in the crowd were in attendance to see if any board members planned on resigning.
“I don’t plan to resign,” she said after apologizing for any role she may have played in the HLC placing Pima on probation.
She also expressed desire to work with everyone to rebuild trust and move forward through the probationary period together with faculty, students and the community.
Next to address the audience was Longoria, who said he felt “compelled” to speak after the issues were raised at previous board meetings.
“Let me say first, unequivocally, that I have no intention of resigning my post,” Longoria said.
“I am more resolved than ever to remain, work with the HLC, and help take the necessary and recommended measures for a corrective course of action that leads to the removal of probation.”
Cortez was the next to speak to the gathering and was the only one of the four who left open the possibility of resigning.
“At this point, I would like to continue to serve Pima,” Cortez said. “Resigning is always an option, I think, for any elected official, in any point in time.”
She went on to apologize and take responsibility for her “lack of oversight which contributed to tremendous hurt to many.” Cortez also “pledged to ensure nothing like this happens again,” on her watch.
Stewart was the last of the four embattled board members to speak, and began his dialogue much like Longoria.
“I, too, will not be resigning,” he said. He also apologized for whatever role he may have played in Pima being placed on probation.
Lee then addressed her fellow board members, and suggested that Even step down as chairperson, calling her tenure in the position a “lightening rod.” She suggested that Cortez take over as chairperson.
During public comments, many members of the audience rejected the apologies from most of the board members and reiterated their demands for resignation.
“Mr. Longoria, the tone of your message, your body language, and the message itself, from my perspective, is arrogant,” Chalfant said. “Dr. Even, your apology was one of the most hollow apologies I have ever heard, it was disingenuous, and I reject it,” he said.
However, Chalfant believed Cortez was honest and sincere during her comments.
“Ms. Cortez, I know you hurt inside. Thank you for your apology. I accept it,” Chalfant said. But he did not rescind his demand that they resign.
“Each of the four of you really do need to step down for the good of the college.”
“You do not represent us, you are not representing us, and you have not represented us,” McGrath added. “That’s why we are asking you to step down.”
McGrath told the board he has no intention of going anywhere either, and would do whatever it takes to remove them from power, including initiating a recall election. He told them about the hardships he faced growing up and put his current challenge in perspective.
“Hard for me was going to the poorest inner-city schools in Phoenix. Signing my life away for four years to the Army was hard. Going to war, not knowing if I would see my family again, that was hard. Getting back in the truck after we had been blown up, that was hard,” he said.
“Getting rid of you will not be hard,” McGrath told the board. “I promise you.”
By STEVE CHOICE
Pima Community College’s track and field teams closed out a successful campaign at the NJCAA national outdoor meet on May 18. The three-day competition was held at Gowans Stadium, the home track of Hutchinson Community College (Kan.).
The women came in 16th out of 29 teams, scoring 19 points. The men tallied nine points to claim 22nd out of 36 squads.
Freshmen Brianna Rodriguez and Nikki Regalado earned All-American honors for Pima. Rodriguez soared to a third-place finish in the long jump, going 18-7 on the final day of the meet. Regalado placed fifth in the 10,000-meter run on day one, clocking 18 minutes, 46.72 seconds.
“Although we came up short on the team placing at the national meet this weekend, we achieved all of our goals,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “All in all, I think we should be very proud of our Aztec track and field squad for all their accomplishments.”
Freshman Kathy Fisher crossed the finish line in sixth position in the finals of the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:03.29. Fisher broke the school record for the event on day two, running 1:02.77.
Sophomores Esther Estrada and Lucia Hernandez also competed in the 10,000. Estrada placed 13th in 42:17.37 and Hernandez claimed 15th with a time of 43:01.85.
On the men’s side, freshman Alejandro Valencia took fifth place in the 3,000 steeplechase, completing the circuit in 9:33.40.
Freshman Eddie Wilcox leapt to seventh in the high jump, clearing 6-9 3/4.
In the 1,500, sophomore Lucas Ruiz placed seventh in 3:59.76, while fellow sophomore Luis Gonzalez was one spot behind him, crossing in 4:01.40.
At the regional meet, held in Mesa on successive weekends in late April and early May, the Aztecs totaled nine champions for the four-day event.
The men’s team finished second with 178 points behind front-runner Central Arizona College. The women also came in second, scoring 187 points, with Central again as champion.
For the men, Ruiz won the 1,500 for the second straight year, clocking 3:54.79.
Freshman Deante Gaines claimed the triple jump title with a leap of 47-4 7/8. He also placed first in the long jump.
Wilcox cleared 6-9 7/8 to win the high jump, while sophomore Aaron Orduno took the crown in the hammer throw with a heave of 160-11 1/8.
The men’s 4×400 relay team of sophomores Ruben Canastillo, Lance Ross and Labriel Leach and freshman Alfonso Mejia posted a nationals-qualifying mark, finishing third in 3:17.01.
Regalado broke the tape in the 5,000 in 18:59.87. Sophomore Aly Haskell took top honors in the 400 with a 56.88 effort, and freshman Marlee Sherwood won the triple jump by soaring 37-9 7/8.
On day three in Mesa, Rodriguez leapt to a first-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 18-8 5/8.
The ACCAC released its all-conference teams on May 8. Below are the Pima athletes who made the first and second teams, respectively.
Leach — 400 hurdles
Caleb Herrera (SO) — 5,000
Canastillo — 4×100 relay
Gaines — 4×100 relay, long jump
Orduno — hammer throw, discus, shot put
Ross — 4×100 relay
Ruiz — 1,500
Khalil Hakim (FR) — 4×100 relay
Stuart Landis (FR) — javelin
Jose Rojas (SO) — 3,000 steeplechase
Regalado — 1,500
Sherwood — triple jump
Estrada — 5,000
Haskell — 4×100 relay, 400
Fisher — 400 hurdles, 4×100 relay
Diona Johnson (FR) — 4×100 relay
Makaela Pratt (FR) — 4×100 relay
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The past 18 months have been a blur for Pima Community College golfer Joseph Courtney. The sophomore has gone from a cattle ranch in Montana to being NJCAA regional golf champion.
For the youngest of six siblings, life can sometimes be difficult so far away from home.
“It sucks. I mean, I love it where I am at, but you get homesick, and I am ready to go home right now,” Courtney said. “I mean, I talk to my parents a bunch on the phone and my brothers.”
Courtney currently lives with two roommates, Daniel Harms and Trevor Martin. Harms works for Microsoft, and is working on the Windows 8 project. Martin is a journalism major.
“I live in a house full of brainiacs,” Courtney said.
Courtney recently switched his major to languages, and hopes to become a translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Between countless hours of studying and more than 40 hours a week spent practicing on his golf game, Courtney has little time for a social life.
“What I was told when I first came down here was that college has three aspects for an athlete: golf, school and social life,” Courtney said. “And you only have time to be great at two of those things.
“My first semester was really tough. It was the first time I had to manage a sport and school at the same time.”
His time practicing on the range has clearly paid off. The defending regional champion has improved every aspect of his game. Division I schools such as New Mexico State and Kansas State took notice and contacted him.
However, Courtney has decided to stay in Tucson and continue his education at the University of Arizona. He verbally committed to the program on April 26. If all his paperwork goes through, he will soon be a Wildcat.
For Courtney, one of the perks of being a collegiate golfer is getting to play on amazing courses. The toughest one he has played is the Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain in Tucson.
“I have played it about six or seven times, and my lowest round out there from the back tees — which are the championship tees — was a 73,” Courtney said. “It felt like I a shot a 61! It was brutal.”
If everything goes well with the UA, he will soon get a chance to play on his dream course. The Wildcats open next season in California playing at Pebble Beach Golf Course. Courtney has dreamed of playing at Pebble Beach ever since he picked up clubs.
Assistant coach Rick Price has seen major improvement in Courtney’s game over the past year.
“He has the pure ability and sheer determination to get the ball in the hole,” Price said.
For now, Courtney will keep pursuing his goals.
“Being a pro golfer is all I want to do. I’m just going to continue to chase my dream,” Courtney said.
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College softball team (50-19) capped off a stellar season with a deep run in the NJCAA playoffs in St. George, Utah, on May 18.
The Aztecs fell 8-5 in 12 innings to eventual runner-up Salt Lake Community College, assuring them of a third-place finish in the tourney.
Salt Lake scored a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to go up 3-1, but Pima wasn’t ready to go back to Arizona. With runners on second and third, sophomore Cynthia Pelayo hit a sacrifice fly to plate one.
The Salt Lake catcher misplayed the throw on the play, and freshman pinch-runner Corrie Ward hustled around to make it 3-3.
Salt Lake again struck with a run in the 11th, and again PCC responded. Sophomore Aubre Carpenter drove in fellow sophomore Alejandra Ortiz with a sac fly to knot it at four apiece.
The coup de grace came for PCC in the 12th, when Salt Lake’s Malia Campos hit a bases-loaded, inside-the-park home run to make it 8-4. The Aztecs managed a run in their half of the frame, but it wasn’t enough.
“The girls gave blood, heart and soul,” head coach Armando Quiroz said after the game.
Quiroz pointed to sophomore pitcher Yvette Alvarez as one reason the Aztecs advanced as far as they did.
Alvarez pitched 35 of the 38 innings PCC played at the tournament, going 4-2 with a shutout and 26 Ks. On offense, she was 7 for 17 and tied the NJCAA national-tournament record with four homers and nine RBIs.
The Indiana State-bound ace was recently named a first-team All-American.
Alvarez and Ortiz were also named to the All-Tournament team. Ortiz went 9 for 22 with two homers, seven RBIs and five runs scored.
Freshman Victoria Mariscal also had an excellent tournament, finishing 7 for 19 with a homer, three doubles and seven RBIs.
If the Aztecs had defeated Salt Lake, they would’ve then needed to beat eventual champion Wallace State Community College (Ala.) twice for the crown.
On May 17, the Aztecs played three contests, going 2-1.
PCC began the day by falling 8-6 to Wallace State, as the Lions struck for six runs in the fifth inning.
Pima bounced back with a 13-3 pasting of Lake Land College (Ill.) in its second game. Sophomore Shawna Comeaux went 3 for 4 with two runs scored.
In its final contest of the day, PCC dropped Butler Community College (Kan.) 6-3. Alvarez went the distance on the mound and also hit a two-run round-tripper. Freshman Danielle Stensby added an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Pima defeated Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 4-0 on May 16. The Aztecs opened the tournament by defeating Paris Junior College (Texas) 6-4 on May 15.
The Aztecs punched their ticket to nationals by twice defeating host and No. 1 seed Central Arizona College on May 4.
The regionals title was the second in a row for a PCC squad that had won 19 of its last 20.
Alvarez, who went 29-12 in the regular season, also did something for the second year in a row, which was win the Most Valuable Player award for the tournament. The Sahuarita High product went 3-0 on the mound, including two complete-game shutouts.
“It felt good to win it again,” Alvarez said. “I felt more relaxed.”
Alvarez struck out ACCAC Player of the Year Jessica Loiacano in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the 6-5 victory, sending Pima to nationals.
The Aztecs erased an early 2-0 deficit with third-inning RBIs by Ortiz and Pelayo. The pair was just getting started, though.
Pelayo then put the Aztecs on top with a two-run triple in the fourth, and Ortiz brought her around with her second double of the contest, giving Pima a 5-2 lead.
PCC held off the Roughriders to claim the win.
Pima blanked Central 6-0 to start the day, as sophomore Noelle Medina and Mariscal each went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The second win over Central was Quiroz’s 300th in six seasons at the helm for Pima. He now stands at 304-73-1.
PCC began the tourney on May 3 by defeating Eastern Arizona College 4-0.
Next year, Pima will return eight team members off its current 16-player roster.
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College women’s tennis squad finished the five-day NJCAA national tournament in 13th place on May 9. The Aztecs had 18 points, just ahead of St. Petersburg College (Fla.).
It was the most points Pima has scored at nationals since moving up to Division I in 2004, and also its highest team finish ever.
“I’m so proud of how my team competed the entire season,” head coach Gretchen Schantz said. “They created many firsts, including being ranked in the top 10 early in the season.”
PCC was rated No. 7 at one point, which is the highest ranking the program has attained since joining Division I.
Pima’s final two entrants still alive in the tourney, sophomore Julienne Cananea and freshman Amy Beeston, fell in their quarterfinal matches on May 7.
Beeston dropped a 6-0, 6-0 decision to top-seeded Kylie Reynaud from Tyler Junior College (Texas). Cananea fell 6-2, 6-3 to fourth-seeded Kirsten Pierce of Tyler.
Cananea made the quarters by defeating sixth-seeded Jordan Chandler from North Central Texas College 6-3, 6-3 on the tournament’s second day.
“At the end of the day, I was able to mentally outsmart her,” the sophomore from Prescott Valley said after the match. “That pushed me to win, so I was really happy.
“I felt like I was able to be the more consistent player today. I just jumped on top of the opportunities she gave me and took it.”
Schantz was also feeling upbeat about her players’ performances on day two of the tournament, which was held at the Rekkfin Tennis Center in Tucson.
“I think my team’s playing really well,” she said. “I’m really excited to watch my team compete right now.
“It’s fun to watch. It’s been such a great season. I’m their biggest fan right now.”
Beeston advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Cowley’s Melissa Bassoo in No. 4 singles.
The No. 1 doubles team of sophomores Helen Altieri and Kari Emery dropped a thrilling 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 match to a pair from Meridian Community College (Miss.). The play was marked by numerous long rallies and improbable saves. Both pairings’ net players were challenged throughout.
Emery recently signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Nebraska Kearney next season.
Schantz was named the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Coach of the Year on day two of the tourney.
“I’m very humbled by the award and dedicate it to my team this year,” Schantz said.
She also won the ITA’s Region II Coach of the Year award on the same day.
On the tournament’s first day, the Aztecs jumped out quickly.
In singles competition, Altieri dominated Nicole Selvaggio of Moraine Valley Community College (Ill.) in the No. 1 match, 6-1, 6-0.
At No. 2, Emery beat up on Mallory Davis from Meridian Community College (Miss.) 6-1, 6-0.
Freshman Torie Wake crushed Carly Stuart of Jones County Junior College (Miss.) at No. 3, 6-1, 6-1.
At No. 5, Cananea downed Caitlin Renson of Jacksonville College (Texas) 6-1, 6-2, while sophomore Vivian Pierson took out Moraine Valley’s Kayla Annerino at No. 6, 6-4, 6-1.
In doubles, the No. 2 pairing of Wake and Beeston defeated Darrien Beckwith and Aspen McCann from Barton County Community College (Kan.) 6-0, 6-3.
Cananea and freshman Helena Meyer fell behind early in their No. 3 match, but quickly recovered to take a 6-1, 6-2 match against Kirby Shannon and Ashley Bryan of Seminole State College (Okla.).
The Aztecs finished the year 13-4 overall, including 6-2 in conference play.
Pima’s entire lineup received all-conference honors, as listed below. The Pima men’s team also had two second-team All-ACCAC selections in sophomores Brian Soto and Dylan Vo.
Altieri — singles
Beeston — singles, doubles
Cananea — doubles
Meyer — doubles
Pierson — singles
Wake — doubles
Altieri — doubles
Cananea — singles
Emery — singles, doubles
Wake — singles
By CHELO GRUBB
Zelema Harris, Pima Community College’s new interim chancellor, is confident Pima will have its probation lifted.
“The people want it, they’re desperate,” Harris said. “They know they have to get off of probation. This college is so entrenched in this community; there is no way we can let it lose its accreditation.
“You’re talking about really major things that will have to occur here, but they’re possible,” Harris said.
Harris, who has been very vocal about her confidence in the college’s future, compared telling the community the college will get off of probation to smokers telling friends and family they’re going to quit.
“You tell everybody,” Harris said. “It’s a declaration and it will drive you to do the right thing.”
Harris received many awards throughout her career, including the Athena Award for Outstanding Business/Professional Woman from the Champaign County Illinois Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the Year from the Association of Community College Trustees.
She got her start in community colleges in the ’70s, when she took an interest in minority students who didn’t fit into a typical university mold.
The opening line of her master’s thesis was, “College, man you must be kidding,” a quote she got from a student.
“These were the students I wanted to serve,” Harris said.
Harris is a firm believer in positive influence. When she started working on helping students with lower ACT scores, she looked at other programs around the country. Many were connected with discouraging terms, including “experimental.”
Harris opted to call her program “Supportive Educational Services,” and dubbed her students urban scholars.
She thinks the same subtle, positive attitude is important to be a successful head of the college.
“Leadership is important on the part of the board, the CEO, everyone, but it is the person in this seat that creates the environment where people can flourish and do well, or they can hide their talents,” Harris said.
The finalists in Pima’s search for a new chancellor have been announced and started making visits to the college, but Harris still intends to be active in Pima’s community.
“The more I know about Pima, the more I can advocate for it,” Harris said. “I need to get out and hear from the people. What are their questions? What are their fears? What do they want this college to become?”
Harris’ contract has her at the college until the new chancellor in place, currently making her final day June 30. Should the college need more time to get a new chancellor to the college, it has the option to extend her contract through Aug. 23.
“It is not my intention to stay beyond that date,” Harris said in a recent email to all Pima employees. “I am here to get the college off to a good start. I am not here to keep the chancellor’s chair warm until a permanent successor is chosen.”
Harris thinks her temporary status gives her a slight advantage.
“I don’t have family here, I don’t have any distractions. All I do is work, and I go home and I work,” Harris said.
“It’s really nice to be focused because if I was entrenched in the community I might not be able to do the kind of work that needs to be done in this short period of time.”
By ANDREW PAXTON
When Josh Place, 20, enrolled at Pima Community College, he was only 16 years old. He had been home-schooled his entire life, going to his local high school mostly to participate on the football and track teams.
Four years later, he will be sharing his experiences with his fellow graduates as the commencement speaker, expressing what he has learned from his time in college.
“People, no matter how strange or extravagant they may seem, are all capable of incredible things,” Place said in a preview of the speech provided to Aztec Press.
Most Pima students remember the anxiety and anticipation they felt coming onto campus for the first time. For Place, it was even more intimidating.
“It was a big change,” he said. “Even for most people going from high school to college it’s a big change, but for me it was double.”
However, he wouldn’t alter the way he was educated for a chance to have a typical education at a public high school.
“I don’t see myself being able to dual-enroll at Pima if I hadn’t been home-schooled,” Place said.
He earned a 4.0 GPA his first semester at PCC and decided to keep working hard to maintain his grades. He was finished with his general education credits at the age when most people are finishing high school.
He switched his major three times before finally choosing to pursue an associate of applied science degree in integrated circuit layout design. Place credits an instructor at West Campus with helping him decide.
“He came into my class and explained the integrated circuitry program,” Place said. “I had no previous electronic classes.”
Place now hopes to transform that chance encounter into a career as an integrated layout designer, after four semesters in the program. One other student will complete the program alongside Place.
“There is a huge demand for graduates from the program,” Place said.
Pima is one of a handful of institutions in the country that offers the program, which is a partnership with Texas Instruments.
Place will also receive an associate general studies degree and a drafting advanced certificate, graduating top of his class with a 3.9 GPA.
“Pima has given me everything I need to go to work as soon as I graduate,” he said.
He may have to move to California or Texas for his career, due to larger markets and higher demand.
When Place isn’t in the classroom, he finds plenty of other activities to occupy what little free time he has. Saturdays he works for a small pottery business creating unique bowls and sculptures.
“I’m the only employee,” he said.
His boss builds metal sculptures and Place works the clay, creating a “mixed media” experience.
“We do all kinds of flowers, art stuff, bowls, and lots of other pieces,” Place said.
He also plays guitar at his church, where he was “thrown into” the leadership position.
“I didn’t know anything about guitar and was told I’m going to be leading the guitar, which was definitely a struggle,” he said. “But it gave me a great opportunity to take on a challenge.”
Place was 15 at the time, the youngest member of the group, and said the experience would prove invaluable during his time in college.
“It taught me how to deal with people, especially since I am usually always the youngest person in my class at Pima, and for some reason people want to compete with me.”
Place also owns a classic Ford Mustang that he would like to fix up, though he admits he hasn’t had much time to work on it recently with all his other commitments.
All of his experiences have led to the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be Pima’s commencement speaker.
“I am so lucky and grateful for all the opportunities Pima has given me,” Place said.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College brought in two experts to explain to students, faculty and staff exactly what probation means for the college, and what steps should be taken in the future.
The college held a series of forums May 2-3 to share insights with the community
Speakers were Karen Solomon, a vice president with the Higher Learning Commission, which is Pima’s accrediting body, and Cecilia Lopez, a retired associate chancellor for accreditation in Chicago.
The forums concluded with a governing board meeting that featured the two specialists sharing information directly with the college’s elected leaders.
The meeting began with an introduction from Mary Ann Martinez Sanchez, vice provost and accreditation liaison officer for PCC.
“This is an introduction and review for us as a college in terms of accreditation criteria, probation, timelines we are facing, and information from experts who have dealt with colleges in live circumstances,” Sanchez said.
Solomon started her presentation by introducing herself and explaining the role of the HLC and why colleges apply to be accredited members.
“This is a membership organization,” Solomon said of the HLC. “We are not a federal entity.
Our membership is the group that actually makes decisions, takes on excess policy, builds the criteria for accreditation and reviews the institutions.”
The HLC is also the organization that placed Pima on probation, following the recommendation from a review team that visited the college to investigate accusations including sexual harassment by the former chancellor, a hostile work environment, improper changes of the college’s mission statement and failings by the governing board.
After providing background information, Solomon explained the timeline Pima should follow to remove sanctions and maintain accreditation.
The college must file a monitoring report to the HLC by Aug. 1. Interim Chancellor Zelema Harris has assigned the provost’s office, led by Jerry Migler, to prepare Pima’s response to being placed on probation.
In July 2014, a self-study report is due for a comprehensive evaluation. The college must submit a report identifying how Pima meets the criteria for accreditation and provide supporting evidence.
Pima “must also submit a report identifying the issues of concern which put the college on probation, and how they have been resolved,” Solomon said.
In September of that year, the HLC will send a team to conduct a comprehensive evaluation. The team will review both the college’s monitoring report and self-study report, plus visit the different campuses and interview administrators, faculty and students to collect information.
The team will write a recommendation to be submitted to another set of reviewers, known as the Institutional Action Council, Solomon explained.
The IAC will then conduct a hearing, where representatives from Pima will have the opportunity to travel to Chicago to explain in person how the college has progressed.
The IAC hearing will be held in December 2014 or January 2015.
Solomon also explained that the college would have an opportunity to submit additional reports after each evaluation by the HLC.
“Your institution will not be done evolving in July 2014,” Solomon told the board. “Many changes will continue to take place. You have the opportunity to keep inserting those changes into the record all the way up until the time the board meets,” she said.
At the end of February 2015, the HLC board will review the recommendations from the team that visits Pima and the IAC committee and make a determination on next steps for Pima.
“In a best case scenario, (Pima) would then be removed from probation,” Solomon said. Ongoing monitoring may still be required if the HLC has lingering concerns, even if probation is lifted.
The board could also decide that PCC has made some progress, but still needs to be on some sort of sanction. The HLC could then decide to place Pima on Notice or Show-Cause.
If placed on Notice, Pima must address specific areas identified by the HLC and continue being monitored and evaluated for those explicit concerns, but would not be subject to further comprehensive review.
If the college does not make the changes needed, it may be placed on Show-Cause. Solomon explained that this is the “last step” before having accreditation withdrawn by HLC, but offers the college one last chance to show they should not have accreditation removed.
The HLC board could also decide to remove the college’s accreditation immediately following their meeting.
“There are a wide range of potential outcomes here. It depends on where (Pima) is and how it evolves between now and February 2015,” Solomon said.
Solomon detailed the criteria that directly related to Pima’s governing board, and some of the expectations of the HLC for the college’s leaders.
She then turned the presentation over to Lopez, the retired accreditation expert, who explained how important collecting evidence will be when reporting to the HLC.
Lopez related a personal experience involving diversity, and how her former college confronted the issues it was facing. Conversations were initiated in every class to get students and faculty involved in the process.
“If you expose students to what you want them to learn, they will,” Lopez said. “We have the evidence for it.”
Added Solomon, “We expect our institutions to provide information and be transparent with information being provided to the student body and constituents.”
Lopez began her final statement with a simple question to the board: “Can Pima address the issues, and will it?”
She suggested that the probation period Pima is under can be viewed as an opportunity to grow and become more effective in the future.
Lopez said that trust, respect and hope need to be reintroduced at the college.
“Such a change clearly is not going to happen overnight, and it will not happen easily, but it can happen,” she said.
She urged everyone involved with the college to “collaborate, communicate, and cooperate” with respect about their different opinions, and listen to each other to move forward.
“There are thousands of current and future students who are depending on you,” Lopez said. “I would suggest that failure simply is not an option. It is not an option for your students. It is not an option for this community.”
By CHELO GRUBB
Pima Community College is accepting input from community members invested in the selection of the college’s new chancellor.
The college will be considering comments on “chancellor feedback forms.” The forms, which can be found on Pima’s website, ask commenters to identify their their perceptions of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
Pima’s search committee, made up of representatives from the college board, faculty and members of the community, has named four finalists for the position. The finalists’ visits to the college have already begun.
The board is expected to select a new chancellor in May, despite community concern that the college’s accreditor won’t lift Pima’s probation if the current controversial board members select him or her (See related story Page 1).
The chancellor search tab on Pima’s website has information about the four finalists, the consultant that helped pick the finalists and the timeline for the new chancellor to be in place.
Terrence Burgess, president since 2001 at San Diego City College, is retiring there after more than 30 years in the California higher education system.
Since 1995, Burgess has served on nine teams that evaluated colleges’ compliance with accreditation standards.
Lee Lambert has been the president of Shoreline Community College since 2006. He is a lawyer who spent several years working with human resources and overseeing detection and prevention of sexual harassment.
This experience contrasts with Pima’s recent troubles, as sexual harassment claims against the former chancellor were among the factors that led to PCC being put on probation.
Greg Smith, who has a Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from the University of Denver, is currently an accreditation reviewer.
Previously, Smith was an administrator at the Community College of Denver.
Elñora Webb earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of California-Berkeley. She has been the president of Laney College for three years. The college was placed on probation from 2010-11 due to issues that occurred before Webb took over.
However, a less serious “warning” sanction was imposed on the college in 2011 and 2012 due to inadequate assessment of financial decisions. Webb has said the problem has been fixed and the sanction should be lifted soon.
By CELESTE ORENDAIN
Two great friends who have each taught at Pima Community College for more than 35 years will both retire this month.
West Campus physics instructor Anthony “Tony” Pitucco and humanities instructor Stu Barr say it is time to move on, though they will continue to teach part-time.
“You’ve got to grow, everyone has to grow,” Pitucco said.
Pitucco started at PCC in 1971 as a temporary teaching assistant. He was hired full time in 1973 as a physics laboratory technician, and became a full-time instructor in 1978.
Barr started at Pima as a student, and was inspired to become a teacher after taking a class with Pitucco. Barr was hired as an adjunct instructor in 1978 and became full time in 1987.
Both have served as department chairs, and were active in numerous committees and programs.
The two longtime friends share similar beliefs, including a preference for teaching without technology.
“Professor means to know,” Barr said. “I don’t teach as a machine.”
They also prefer face-to-face interaction with students. Pitucco called online classes “impersonal.”
During their years as instructors, Pitucco and Barr attended conferences together and spent 10 years taking students to Europe.
They socialized off the job, as well, and weren’t above playing practical jokes.
On a trip to Canada, the two became separated while waiting in line to cross the border. Barr reached the immigration official first, and was asked whether he taught science.
His reply: “No, the guy in the back teaches science, and he has a monkey in his suitcase.”
When Pitucco approached the official, she asked about his monkey.
“What monkey?” asked an understandably confused Pitucco. When he saw Barr laughing, he added, “Oh, did you listen to that guy?”
Barr also resorted to trickery to convince Pitucco to teach a philosophy class. After Pitucco repeatedly declined, Barr used computer scheduling to assign him anyway.
When the two met to drink coffee, Barr asked Pitucco why he was there instead of teaching his class.
“I don’t have any class,” Pittuco said. When he checked his schedule, he was surprised to learn he not only had a philosophy class but that enrollment was full.
He worried he wasn’t prepared, with no syllabus and no textbook, but Barr convinced him to give it a try. Pittuco has continued to teach philosophy ever since.
Both instructors say they will miss their students.
“We see a lot of our students go on to earn their doctorates,” Pitucco said.
The two plan to donate all of their textbooks to the physics lab, but it’s doubtful anyone will want their office furnishings.
“We got all of our furniture from the halls. It was stuff the college was going to throw away,” Barr said with a laugh. “That is how we built our bookshelves and our entire offices.”
Interviews and photos by Barry Jed Richardson Jr. at Desert Vista and West Campus
“Finishing up with school, hopefully working, using the knowledge I acquired here.”
“Working and taking summer classes.”
“Basically, keep going to school and get all the classes I need for airframe certification. Maybe go visit friends.”
Major: Aviation technology
“Playing video games and traveling to Phoenix.”
Major: Culinary arts
“Going to Washington D.C. for the Young Americans for Liberty convention.”
Major: Political science
Gay and lesbian students at Pima Community College have struggled for decades to raise awareness and promote understanding. A variety of viewpoints have been printed in the Aztec Press.
A 1991 editorial expressed contempt for a recommendation to the Tucson Police Department by the Citizens Police Advisory Committee to begin “actively recruiting” homosexual officers.
“If homosexuals are to be recognized as a group whose interests merit special attention, why not grant the same status to alcoholics or necrophiliacs?” the unsigned editorial asked.
The following edition printed three letters to the editor. Two said it was a crime to be gay and therefore homosexuals had no place in law enforcement.
Tim Wernette, a PCC human sexuality instructor, wrote that the editorial stance revealed homophobia.
“Comparing homosexuality to alcoholism or necrophilia perpetuates the fear, hatred, discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians that all of us who value justice and respect for individual liberties should abhor,” Wernette said.
The next edition explained that views expressed in unsigned editorials reflect the position of the Aztec Press editorial board, and the opinion about gay police officers was no exception.
Four months later, PCC student Randy Reeves began gathering signatures to support a gay, lesbian and bisexual organization for students and staff.
“I think there are a lot of gay people who have nowhere to go,” Reeves said. “Especially if you have no support in your home life.”
Student Robin Whitmore helped Reeves lay a foundation for the group, eventually called Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Dignity, or GLAD.
“I had an instructor last semester who used to slam gay people left and right, and nobody stood up to challenge this person,” Whitmore said.
“That’s when I first started looking around, thinking, ‘Where is the gay club?’ I need a little support here if I’m going to confront this person. I need to know there are at least two or three people standing behind me, and there weren’t.”
David Gallagher, then head of the psychology and sociology department, said homosexuality was considered a form of mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973 and is still considered taboo by many in American society.
“Approximately 7-12 percent of the world population is homosexual,” Gallagher said. “That’s a significant portion of our students.”
Aztec Press published another editorial months after the initial GLAD meetings.
“The real American way is liberty and tolerance for diversity,” it read. “We don’t have to like homosexuality or atheism (or socialism or feminism, etc.) but if we are to preserve the ideals of this country, we must respect the rights of others to engage in such practices.”
The controversial editorials continued for a few more semesters. Gradually, the tone shifted from contempt to tolerance to support.
In a 1993 letter to the editor, Heather McMichael of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance wrote about the harmful effects of homophobia.
“As with racism and sexism, intolerance of our differences has no place in this world, where our very survival depends on working together,” she said.
With summer fast approaching, prevention and early detection become key in the fight against skin cancer.
Experts offer four key suggestions: avoid the most light-intensive hours of the day, apply sunscreen, cover up and don’t use indoor tanning beds.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Treatments cost Americans $1.7 billion every year.
Lisa Quale, health educator at the Skin Cancer Institute in Tucson, said many cases of skin cancer can be avoided.
“Most are caused by ultraviolet exposure from the sun and are generally seen as preventable,” she said during a phone interview.
“The best way to prevent excessive exposure is to avoid outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” Quale said. “Definitely try to get things done early in the morning or late in the afternoon.”
“Use a sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher,” she added. Read the label to confirm that it is broad spectrum, meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should also have one of the following ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or avobenzone.
In addition, check the Environmental Protection Agency’s daily UV index before heading outdoors.
“Five and under is low to moderate,” Quale said. “Six and above is high, and you really want to be covering up.”
Tucson reached an extreme UV index rating of 11 on April 21, resulting in a UV alert.
The sun is not the only source of UV exposure. Indoor tanning booths that use UV lights also concern health officials.
“Just one indoor UV tanning session increases users’ chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent,” according to a press release from the Skin Cancer Foundation. “Each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another 2 percent.”
Experts also warn that damaging UV rays are still present even when there’s no direct sunlight.
“People get UV exposure on a cloudy day because they don’t feel it and don’t think about it,” Quale said.
There are three common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are considered highly curable, while melanoma is far more dangerous.
Experts recommend that people pay attention to their skin. Conduct regular self-examinations to keep track of any changes in appearance.
Problems to note include asymmetrical abnormalities, changing borders, varying color in one spot and a mole diameter larger than a pencil eraser.
“Do a check once a month,” Quale said. “If you never look at your skin, you’ll never know what’s different.”
Dispensers provide free sun screen
As part of an ongoing Protect Your Skin program, Tucson venues have partnered with the University of Arizona Cancer Center to provide free sunscreen via dispensers.
Local venues participating include:
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- Biosphere 2
- Pima Air and Space Museum
- Reid Park Zoo
- Saguaro National Park
- Tohono Chul Park
- Tucson Botanical Gardens
- Tucson Jewish Community Center
- Tucson Presidio Trust for Historical Preservation
Details: click here.
There are three types of UV rays:
- UVA – Most common at Earth’s surface and can reach beyond the top layer of human skin.
- UVB – Absorbed by the ozone layer and not as common as UVA, but still present on surface.
- UVC – Very dangerous, but absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the surface.
Other ingredients to look for in sunscreen:
- Menthyl anthranilate
- Octyl methoxycinnamate
- Octyl salicylate