By NICK MEYERS
Pima Community College has overcome a huge challenge in working to get the college off probation from the Higher Learning Commission.
In addition to a new chancellor, self-study reports and a higher level of scrutiny of operations, the college has hired an abundance of administrators to oversee various facets of college operations.
However, this focus has come at a cost.
One of Pima’s new mandates is a focus on customer service. Chancellor Lee Lambert has said that he wants to make Pima a global, premiere college.
If that’s the case, we need to bring the focus back to the students.
Recent restrictions on students’ choices at the college are not the way to attract prospective students.
Pima has stopped offering winter courses and outsourced our food at the expense of students.
At a board meeting last month, there was mention of the possibility of closing campuses during the summer.
Additionally, students’ ability to receive credit for courses is hindered by the new restrictions on registration and continued participation by being labeled “registered but not attending.”
These restrictions of freedom and funds are not attractive to prospective students.
Pima does have to comply with HLC regulations, which is the reason for many of the restrictions, but there must be better ways than putting limitations on students.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the responsibility to meet these regulations relies solely on the college.
Students must be held accountable too, but that’s where communication comes into play.
Many students at Pima care about the college and their education and have a lot to say about changes being made. Unfortunately, we aren’t all in on the conversation.
We have the ability to reach out and speak up, but few students are both willing and have the time and effort to focus on building foundations for student involvement. However, engagement is one of the biggest responsibilities for college employees.
Pima has problems that will require all of us to work together and communicate our wants and needs in a meaningful way.
On Page 5, you’ll find a story on the Meet and Confer process in which employee groups are able to have constructive conversations with the administration to reach equitable goals and policies.
Why doesn’t something similar exist for students?
If it did, would students participate?
As a member of the Aztec Press for three semesters now, I believe they would. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from fellow students or fellow employees about something they believe should be addressed at the college.
Pima has recently announced the end of HLC probation. Now that it is in the rear-view mirror, we need to bring the focus back to the goals of the college.
Those goals should be to provide a comfortable and productive place to learn and grow.