By TANISHA KNUTZEN
New Desert Vista Campus President Morgan A. Phillips places a strong emphasis on the importance of creating a community that is involved in all aspects of the college.
“Get individuals to share,” Phillips said. “Get them to try and contribute to the process of helping Pima Community College improve. Get them to understand that Pima Community College is all of ours.”
Phillips, a community college graduate, has more than two decades of experience in higher education. He started work at PCC in August.
He anticipates that the strengths he brings to Pima will help with the continual growth and expansion of the college and the multiple programs offered to students.
Phillips said the growth of his students and individuals he has worked with have been an important aspect of his career.
“The involvement of individuals at the community college changed my life,” Phillips said. “It really put me on a path to be somewhere where it’s a benefit for me; it’s a benefit for my family.”
He understands the importance of a community college and the role it plays, not only for students but for the people who build the community that surrounds campus walls.
Ava Rose is the coordinator for TRIO, a program that helps fund low-income and first-generation students throughout their college experience. Rose said Phillip’s attitude about PCC set him apart from others seeking the position.
“When he came to visit, he seemed like the best candidate,” Rose said. “He’s passionate about working closely with students and staff and was even excited about the TRIO program.”
Phillips holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Florida, plus master’s and bachelor’s degrees in science from the University of Central Florida.
He earned associate degrees from Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., and Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va.
Phillips most recently worked for two years at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C., as the vice president of academic and student affairs. He was responsible for academic programs, student development functions, technology operations and accreditation efforts.
He previously served as Southeastern’s vice president of curriculum instruction for six years.
His other experience in higher education includes serving as a faculty member, department chair and academic dean at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla.
Chancellor Lee Lambert cited Phillips’ strong educational and career background in a press release announcing his hiring.
“Morgan comes to PCC with extensive experience in accreditation, strategic planning and forging partnerships with business and industry,” Lambert said.
“His familiarity with efforts to improve educational outcomes and the use of online technology to enhance student learning will make him a welcome addition to our leadership team,” he added.
Phillips said a campus president is just one part of the larger community.
“The president is someone that represents and supports the campus; the president is not the campus,” he said.
“The other individuals that are here working all make up Desert Vista campus. The students are what make up Pima Community College.”