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JADE retreat empowers Pima students

JADE retreat empowers Pima students

By NICK MEYERS

Nearly 40 Pima Community College students and employees attended a weekend retreat Nov. 14-16 to discuss social justice issues based on race, gender and socioeconomic status.

The JADE retreat, which stands for justice, advocacy, dialogue and empowerment, is held at YMCA’s Triangle Y Ranch in Oracle and run through Pima’s Student Life offices.

JADE is part of Pima’s Leadership Institute, a series of programs that help students examine perspectives and develop leadership skills.

Daisy Rodriguez Pitel and Jennifer Wellborn are two of the Student Life program coordinators who develop curriculum.

“I really believe that a college experience should be all encompassing,” Rodriguez Pitel said.

“When students leave Pima, I would hope that they leave with a better understanding of social justice, how to foster and develop intercultural relationships, and have a greater sense of their role in improving society,” she added.

The retreat focuses on justice, advocacy, dialogue and empowerment, with a goal of creating a forum in which people can discuss social issues and possible actions to address the issues.

“Social justice is an important part of being a leader,” Wellborn said. “As people and as leaders, we are faced with all sorts of different issues and so thinking critically about social justice is a big part of life.”

Rodriguez Pitel said leaders must understand that everyone has different struggles, and work to remedy the struggles or injustices.

“Leaders shouldn’t be self-serving,” she said. “They should be thinking broadly and globally about how they can impact positive change and really improve policy, practices, structures that better serve all people and not just one small group of people.”

Students spent time in a series of discussions and activities that highlighted cultural discrepancies such as income inequality, gender bias and racism.

The retreat consisted of about 30 students and nine facilitators. Shawn Graham, a Student Life program coordinator, has attended five social justice retreats since 2009 and acted as a facilitator at this year’s retreat.

“I always learn, even though I’m a facilitator, and I’m always learning from the students as well,” he said.

 

Participants were asked to identify with various social groups, to bring attention to the problems different types of people face every day.

Part of the retreat involved presentations to educate others about an identity that the presenters felt is underrepresented and misunderstood.

“Hopefully, everyone that participates is getting something out of it, even if it’s just a little nugget of something that might change the way they view things or view other people,” Graham said. “That’s all I hope for, is for everyone to take a little piece away.”

Many of this year’s participants were Bécalos exchange students who contributed a unique perspective by informing others about the positives and negatives of Mexican culture.

“I would like to help more in my community when I go back to Mexico,” said Sergio Sandoval, a student from Aguascalientes. “I hope I can take whatever I learn from here to apply it there.”

Pima Leadership Institute has existed in various iterations for roughly a decade.

“We don’t keep it the same; we don’t let it get stale,” Wellborn said. “As things change in the world, we try to keep adding on to it. We constantly look at it and go, ‘OK, what went well, what do we want to improve, what do we want to add or take away from it?’”

Other elements include the Emerging Leaders program, which allows students to foster skills for success, academics and their career, and the Aztec Gold program, in which students implement experience gained from previous programs to institute social change.

The JADE retreat is offered every fall semester.

Student Life will post fliers early next semester for the Emerging Leaders program. It usually takes place over the course of one or two days, and is free to attend.

“We try to keep things to either free or very low cost,” Wellborn said. “Most of our programs we just ask students to sign up in advance.”

Aztec Gold spans several weeks. It will accept applications for the spring semester.

“This past JADE I thought was particularly significant because we had so many different facilitators that represented different areas of the college,” Rodriguez Pitel said. “It’s a testament and a reflection that social justice and diversity is valued throughout the college.”

For more info, visit pima.edu/current-students/get-involved/pima-leadership-institute.

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‘On-time’ registration awaits

‘On-time’ registration awaits

By ANDREW PAXTON

Students at Pima Community College face changes to registration procedures as the college works to improve success rates.

Amended rules regarding registration will require those seeking to attend PCC to have their classes decided before the new semester begins on Jan. 20.

In the past, students have been allowed to register for classes up to the drop deadline, typically a week or two into the semester, without approval from the course instructor or college administration.

The new deadline for the spring semester will be Jan. 19, the day before classes begin.

Students seeking to join a course after the first day of class must get the instructor’s consent.

“You will no longer be able to add classes through MyPima after the start of the semester without faculty permission,” reads a registration FAQ posted on the college’s website.

The reason for the new rules, according to the faculty group that spearheaded the change, is to increase student success rates.

“By being able to confer with the student on an individual basis, the instructor will be able to better recommend a course to the student, given the student’s particular aptitude,” the On-Time Registration Faculty Senate work group wrote in an Aztec Press guest commentary in May.

PCC and Faculty Senate have cited studies suggesting that students who join a class after the first week have lower chances of earning credit for the course.

According to the college, an increased number of late-start classes, including 5-week, 8-week and 14-week courses, will be offered next semester.

The courses are designed to help ensure students are able to enroll in their desired classes.

“Late-start options allow students the flexibility of registering into courses later, when needed, but without the downside of missing initial lessons in the course–lessons that are most often crucial to student success,” the faculty group said.

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JobPath cuts away obstacles

JobPath cuts away obstacles

By DAVID J. DEL GRANDE

The obstacles students face while pursing career goals often require extra support. Programs such as JobPath provide the Tucson community with a chance to create success stories.

JobPath is a nonprofit workforce development organization that sponsors low-income, underemployed adults who are enrolled in a two-year educational program.

Fawn Vega’s path toward independence began when she earned an associate degree in nursing from Pima Community College in May.

She subsequently passed her state board certification and is now a registered nurse working at Tucson Medical Center.

Vega enrolled in the JobPath program in 2012, and said she was honored to be one of the graduation commencement speakers.

Her husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and while caring for her ailing partner she slowly began her course work at PCC and at Rio Salado College in Phoenix.

“It was another eye-opener like, ‘hey you’re meant to do this,’” she said. “That’s when I started taking classes.”

In April 2012, Vega attended a JobPath open enrollment orientation before enrolling full time in the fall.

“JobPath was there and I got in with them as soon as I could,” she said. “I knew I was going to struggle, I knew it was going to be hard and I don’t have a lot of family support.

“But, I didn’t realize how much financially they were going to help me, and how much of a personal relationship I would get with them too,” she added.

Herminia L. Cubillos, JobPath’s executive director, said the program was spearheaded by the Pima County Interfaith Council, along with other Tucson community leaders, and was officially launched in 1998. Research gathered by the business community found that Tucson was lacking a highly-skilled workforce, and the PCIC successfully lobbied Pima County to fund JobPath.

Recruitment for students was originally based through local churches involved with the PCIC or county-run adult education programs, Cubillos explained.

JobPath was subsequently set to work in conjunction with PCC because the college provides the appropriate means for community members to achieve their career goals, Cubillos said.

“Pima’s the heart for what we believe are the jobs and careers that exist in this community,” she said.

The support JobPath provided Vega certainly assured her success at PCC.

During her first year within the program, she received gift cards for groceries and gas.

The program also occasionally paid her utility bills, plus financed multiple car repairs.

JobPath also sponsored Vega’s family for the 2012 holiday season, so she received presents and multiple gift-cards which financed their joyful celebration.

“My kids weren’t going to have a Christmas,” Vega said.

“My friend actually bought us a tree and then with the Fry’s card, we got to have a special family dinner. So, they really want you to succeed and they want you to be happy,” she added.

Patricia Trainor, JobPath’s director of program operations, said the organization focuses on providing its students the training they need for the most prevalent professions in Tucson.

Professional training is a practical mission, but the relationships she builds with students enrolled in JobPath is most rewarding, Trainor explained.

“We want to work with programs that are training people where there’s a high demand in jobs,” she said.

“But, what we do really is exciting and we get to know the most wonderful, hardworking and amazing students.”

Trainor said JobPath’s impression is far-reaching.

“We impact not only the students, but their families and the community,” she said.

For more information on JobPath opportunities, call 324-0402 or visit jobpath.net.

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Registered nurse Fawn Vega began her studies through JobPath. (David J. Del Grande/Aztec Press)

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Therapy dogs offer ‘study paws’

Therapy dogs offer ‘study paws’

Students looking for a break from studying for exams and finishing final papers can visit a therapy dog at the West Campus Library.

Therapy dogs of all sizes and breeds, along with their handlers, will be in the foyer area outside the library from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Dec. 10-11 and Dec.15-16.

The West Campus library is located on the third floor of the Santa Catalina Building.

For more information, call librarian Rosanne Couston at 206-6821.

-By Katie Stewart

Students gather around to pet  Baxter, a therapy dog, during a past "study paws" event. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

Students gather around to pet Baxter, a therapy dog, during a past “study paws” event. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

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TV channels broadcasting ‘Talk the Beat’ forum

TV channels broadcasting ‘Talk the Beat’ forum

TV broadcasts of a Nov. 6 forum held at East Campus, “Talking the Beat: Approaches to Policing, Ancient and Modern,” will be aired in December.

The round-table discussion explored the history of policing, from ancient times to modern-day tactics.

PCC-TV taped the forum, and will air programs at 6 p.m. on COX 121 and Comcast 97 channels. Remaining dates are Dec. 6, 13, 16, 23 and 30.

Mike Stack, East Campus arts and humanities department chair, said the forum was an informative event with three dynamic speakers and heartfelt questions from the audience.

“In light of recent and tragic events, each speaker separately and cumulatively gave us a perspective on policing that is more needed today than ever before,” Stack said.

 

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College withholds HLC report

College withholds HLC report

By ANDREW PAXTON

Pima Community College has decided to keep a draft report concerning the status of the college under wraps as it prepares its response.

The Higher Learning Commission, PCC’s accrediting body, released the report on Nov. 20 following a site visit in September to assess the status of the college.

A fact-finding team consisting of education administrators from across the country spent several days interviewing students and employees to assess Pima’s climate in preparation of their report.

College officials said the decision not to release the team’s initial findings was in line with HLC guidelines.

“Institutions should refrain from publicly disclosing oral comments or recommendations until final commission action has taken place,” reads a statement on the HLC website cited by Pima Chancellor Lee Lambert in an email to employees.

The college has been working since last April to remedy issues found by the commission, including numerous leadership failures and a negative culture among employees and administration.

When the HLC released previous draft reports to Pima, the college made them available to the public almost immediately.

As an institution receiving taxpayer funding, PCC is required by Arizona law to make all records public and available to inspection, although some exceptions do exist, including if withholding records is in the state’s best interest.

College spokesman C.J. Karamargin explained the college’s reasoning in a telephone interview.

“One of the reasons Pima was placed on probation in the first place was not following the guidelines of the HLC,” he said.

“We would argue that Pima retaining its accreditation is in the best interest of the state. We all know what happened before when the college failed to follow the guidelines.”

Pima has created several fast action teams that will review the draft report and prepare a response, which must be submitted to the HLC by Dec. 8.

“I remain confident that our work will be positively rewarded,” Lambert wrote.

The HLC will decide next February whether Pima has made sufficient changes to have sanctions removed. The commission could decide to fully lift probation, remove sanctions but continue monitoring, or strip PCC of accreditation if concerns have not been adequately met.

Pima provost Erica Holmes echoed Lambert’s expectations for a positive outcome in an email to students.

“After reviewing the draft report, we are very encouraged,” she said.

Karamargin said it’s natural to speculate about the report, but urged people to listen to the positive feedback from college officials and others who have worked on PCC’s response to the sanctions. He also stressed that the report is only a draft.

Lambert said the final report would be released following the commission’s verdict.

 

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Healthcare sign-up now open, offers new help

Healthcare sign-up now open, offers new help

By MARIANA CEJA

Pima Community College is pitching in to spread the word about the importance of getting insurance and where to go to get help signing up.

Pima hosted a resource event at Downtown Campus on Nov. 18 alongside members of the Department of Health and Human Resources as well as the Cover Arizona Coalition and Arizona Public Interest Research groups.

“I am proud to be able to say that Pima is doing its part to make sure that we educate students about their options under the new health care law,” said PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert.

The event focused on informing students of new options as well as where to get financial aid.

“The message today is clear, health insurance is now, it’s affordable and we are here to help,” said Diane Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG education fund.

The enrollment period for health insurance is only three months instead of six, from Nov. 15 to Feb 15, which means less time for people to get enrolled.

“We are going to be on the campuses, on the airwaves, and in the community,” said Kenneth Shapiro, interim regional director for the Health and Human Services Department.

“We are going to be accessible to all Arizonans who need to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act,” he added.

Young adults were among the largest group to sign up for insurance when the government Marketplace website opened last year.

“Out of 120,000 people who signed up for health insurance in 2013 across the state, 25,000 were in the age group 18-34, which is the prime age for Pima students,” Lambert said.

Shapiro said changes had been made for this year’s enrollment period following problems with the website last year. He said the website was smoother and faster to navigate for both new and returning members.

Some of the resources offered include one-on-one assistance in several languages, enrollment weekend events, as well as phone and online assistance.

There are different plans available covering many services, including preventive care, maternity needs, behavioral health, rehabilitative services, prescription medications, and emergency rooms.

The government wants to ensure everyone who is eligible signs up for coverage.

“There is no more discrimination based on pre-existing conditions,” Shapiro said.

Anyone under the age of 26 is also able to stay on their parent’s insurance plans.

Ultimately, the goal of the event was to make sure students realize their options and why getting insurance is important.

“Whether an individual is looking to purchase health insurance for the first time or looking to switch to a new health insurance plan, it’s important for individuals to know their options and to know their rights,” Brown said.

“Individuals should make sure that they are getting the best bank for their buck which does not always means getting the cheaper premium cost, but maybe looking at what the deductable and co-pays are and balancing that against to what they have to pay each month,” she added.

For more information or assistance getting enrolled, visit coveraz.org, 211arizona.org, unitedwaytucson.org or heathcare.gov.

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From left, Alejandro DeLuna with Pima Community Access Program, Samantha Fierro with El Rio Community Health Center and Jason Donofrio with the Arizona PIRG Education Fund staff an information table. (Mariana Ceja/Aztec Press)

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Writer to share insights

Writer to share insights

By TANISHA KNUTSEN

Pima Community College will conclude its Fall Speakers’ Series with a talk by writing instructor Kristen Hoggatt.

The free presentation will take place Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. in the PCC District Office Community Board Room, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd.

“The U.S. Poetry Academy” presentation will discuss Hoggatt’s experiences living abroad. She served with the U.S Peace Corps in Uzbekistan from 2003-2005, and also worked in Egypt.

Along with stories of personal triumphs, Hoggatt will include a reading of her poems.

Hoggatt has been an adjunct writing instructor at PCC since 2012. She received a master of fine arts in creative writing from Boston’s Emerson College.

Her chapbook, “Arab Winter,” was published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have also been appeared in The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Ledge Magazine, Nimrod International Journal and The Smart Set. She was the “Ask a Poet” advice columnist for The Smart Set from 2008-2011.

The Speakers’ Series, co-sponsored by the provost and by Faculty Senate, spotlights the expertise of PCC faculty members.

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Police give warnings after Downtown Campus assaults

Police give warnings after Downtown Campus assaults

BY ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College recently issued a pair of warnings after assault incidents on or near Downtown Campus.

According to PCC police, a man approached a student in the campus parking lot Nov. 13 and asked the student if his vehicle had any weapons, money or food.

When the student retreated to his vehicle, the man followed and attempted to gain entry into the student’s vehicle, the warning said. The man then continued through the parking lot and at one point threw rocks at three family members.

The man, identified by police as Kurt Wagner, was arrested, but made comments about returning to campus and hurting the victims in the case, according to the warning. Police said Wagner appeared impaired.

The next day, a PCC officer on foot patrol noticed a man who appeared to be in distress walking across the campus’ east parking lot with another male and a female who were assisting him.

The man told the officer he had been stabbed in the chest near the Circle K at 130 E. Speedway Blvd., across the street from Downtown Campus.

The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He told police he had been stabbed by an unknown person over an alcoholic beverage.

 

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Downtown Campus hosts party

Downtown Campus hosts party

By JAMIE MAESE

Pima Community College Downtown Campus celebrated its big 4-0 birthday Nov. 15 with crafts, live performances and a variety of food truck vendors.

The party also featured music spanning several decades, spun by Main Events DJ Richie Rich and by emcee R Dub. The tunes had some visitors dancing and singing along while others just swayed to the beat.

R Dub, founder of the internationally syndicated Sunday Night Slow Jams radio show, attended Pima for several years on and off before returning in earnest to earn an associate degree.

“I love coming back to Pima or being involved with anything that has to do with Pima,” he said.

Patricia Houston, an academic dean who helped coordinate the event, was happy with the way the birthday party turned out.

“We didn’t expect it to have such a great turnout but it did and it is amazing to see,” she said.

“I think the thing that is shocking people most is the thousand cupcakes that were donated to us,” Houston added.

Downtown Campus staff members Gayle Bell and Celina Ortega each baked 500 cupcakes.

“I would come home from work and start baking,” Bell said. “I slept about three hours until I had to go to work again, and had cupcakes all over my house.”

Cupcake flavors included chocolate, vanilla, red velvet and gluten-free carrot.

“It’s great seeing people’s faces once they come in and see the huge cupcake tower,” Bell said. “It makes it worth the three hours of sleep for the past two days.”

Food truck options ranged from homemade ramen soup to Spanish-Peruvian entrees to sweet delights.

The smell of sugar cookies permeated a room filled with kids enjoying the task of decorating a cookie with colorful sprinkles.

The Downtown Campus 40th Birthday Bash will continue next spring with an event to honor the campus founders.

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PCC employee Gayle Bell sets out some of the 500 cupcakes she baked for the Downtown Campus 40th Birthday Bash. A fellow employee, Celina Ortega, also donated 500 home-baked cupcakes for the event. (Jamie Maese/Aztec Press)

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Justice Department sues PCC

Justice Department sues PCC

By NICK MEYERS

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Pima Community College on Oct. 31, claiming a violation of employment rights of PCC police officer and Army National Guardsman Timothy Stoner.

The suit alleges that, based on his military involvement and obligations, Stoner was denied promotion twice for a job similar to the one he had held at the time.

If it is found that the decision to deny his promotion was based on his military involvement, it would be a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act.

USERRA guarantees service members are able to resume jobs that they held before going on deployment as well as not being denied

employment, benefits and promotions based on being a member of the military.

“While it would not be appropriate to comment on the specific details of this case while it is pending, I can assure you that the college will aggressively defend itself,” Chancellor Lee Lambert said in an email sent to college employees.

“We are confident that the evidence will establish there was no violation of federal law and that the outcome of the promotion process was based on appropriate factors,” he said.

In 2013, after the second time he was denied promotion, Stoner filed an internal complaint against PCC. According to the suit, he cited then-chief Stella Bay’s bias against members of the military as a deciding factor in her decision, despite his qualifications.

An internal investigation by Pima found that Bay had repeatedly expressed her dislike for military members and that Stoner’s service was indeed a factor in her decision to deny his promotion, the suit said.

“As a result, the PCC investigator recommended that remedial action be taken, including placing Stoner in an acting corporal position,” said a DOJ press release.

College officials were unable to comment on the difference between the findings of the internal investigation and Lambert’s confidence that federal law had not been violated.

Stoner has been a PCC officer since August 2001 and obtained the assignment of lead police officer in 2006 under former chief Barbara Harris.

In 2010, that position was eliminated and its responsibilities were assigned to the newly created role of police corporal.

Stoner applied for the job while he was serving in Afghanistan and was one of six final applicants considered.

Of the final six, Stoner was the only active military member and the only one not promoted, despite being a former lead officer.

The decision was made by a three-member panel including Bay and PCC Executive Vice Chancellor David Bea.

Current Police Chief Manny Amado said the lead police officer position was a temporarily appointed position created by the college.

“A corporal is more of a permanent positions – it is an actual classification,” he said. “It’s like the next level up, where a lead would be just that: a lead.

“One of the things that we look at in testing is not only how that person does in the testing process but also we look at their personnel record,” Amado said. “Disciplinary action, complaints lodged against the employee, performance issues.

“It’s not just the written test, it’s not just the interview, it is the totality of the testing process up to and including any types of performance issues or anything within the personnel record of that employee,” he said.

The complaint alleges that Bay made comments to another PCC officer during the selection process that Stoner was “selfish to apply for the promotion while volunteering for active military duty.”

In 2013, Pima commenced a second application process for the same position, in which Stoner again applied and was denied promotion.

Around the time of the selection process, Stoner was eligible for retirement from the military but chose to continue service.

According to the complaint, during the interview process with Bay and Bea, Bay questioned Stoner on his intent to retire and “became upset” when he told her that he had decided to remain in the military.

Bea remained neutral during the exchange, the suit said.

The complaint said that Bay continued to “raise concerns” over Stoner’s ability to fulfill the requirements of the position in regards to his responsibilities in the military.

The lawsuit also alleged that Bay “expressed her opinion that military service members are so used to taking orders that they cannot think for themselves and do not do well in stressful situations.”

Amado said he disagreed with that statement.

“In my experience, those men and women who have served in the military have been trained to think quickly on their feet,” he said.

Bay resigned from Pima in July 2013 amid accusations of creating a hostile work environment to the point of endangering fellow officers and students on the campus.

A man who answered the phone at the number listed for Bay hung up when called for an interview.

The DOJ is asking Pima to reimburse Stoner for lost wages and benefits since he was denied promotion in 2010, as well as legal costs.

Stoner suit was reffered to the DOJ after a complaint with the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Services was unable to be resolved.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is now filing the suit on Stoner’s behalf.

“Employers have a legal obligation to respect and honor the rights of our uniformed service members to be fairly considered for promotions and other employment opportunities and not to subject them to unlawful discrimination because of their service in defense of our country,” the DOJ said.

Stoner could not be reached for comment.

Read the full lawsuit at justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-suit-against-pima-community-college-violatnig-employment-rights.

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Hanna wins PCC governing board post

Hanna wins PCC governing board post

By ANDREW PAXTON

Voters have decided that Mark Hanna will be the newest member of Pima Community College’s governing board after a tightly contested election on Nov. 4.

Fewer than 1,500 votes separated Hanna and his competitor, Tucson Medical Center executive Michael Duran.

Hanna received 25,988 votes to Duran’s 24,566, according to the Pima County Elections Office. Voters also cast 269 ballots for write-in candidates.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to help restore Pima to the respected and effective educational institution that has served our community for over 45 years,” Hanna said in an emailed statement. “I am really excited about being part of the ‘new and improved’ Pima Community College that makes dreams come true for any and all students who seek to improve their lives through education.”

Hanna said he met with a few thousand constituents going door-to-door during his campaign.

“Over and over again, I heard stories of how Pima has positively impacted the lives of so many folks in our community,” he said.

“I also heard wonderful things about the Pima staff and faculty helping students be successful. I am proud to join this team.”

College officials said both candidates should be thanked for their desire to improve Pima.

“I am confident Mark will be a great addition to our board,” said Chancellor Lee Lambert in a message to employees. “As a Pima graduate who has served on our Foundation Board since 2012, he knows the college well. He also has experience working directly with students and overseeing a large business operation,” he said.

Hanna is a former manager at Costco and recently retired after seven years as a college and career readiness counselor at Catalina high Magnet School.

During public forums last month, Hanna said his experience in both fields made him the best candidate for the position.

He said his first goal will be to assess where the college is at and where it’s headed.

Hanna believes the college is on track to having probation removed.

“Yes, there are a number of challenges ahead for our college, most notably the correction of the issues raised by the HLC, but I firmly believe we are on our way to building a stronger, more accessible and affordable student centered educational institution,” he said.

“As a board member I will insist on respect, fairness and integrity in all matters affecting our staff, faculty, students and the college in general.”

Hanna will be replacing Brenda Even, who has served on PCC’s board since 2001. She did not seek re-election for another term.

PCC board members are elected to their unpaid positions for a term of six years. The District 1 seat held by Even was the only seat decided this election cycle.

Hanna will be officially sworn in during the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 14.

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Mark Hanna speaks at an education forum in September. (Andrew Paxton/Aztec Press)

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Downtown Campus celebrating big 4-0

Downtown Campus celebrating big 4-0

By JAMIE MAESE

Pima Community College opened the doors of Downtown Campus in 1974 to provide a “gem of an education in the heart of downtown” to thousands of students in Tucson.

During that time, students have achieved many dreams and overcome many challenges.

Sylvia Lee, a longtime PCC administrator who now serves on the college’s governing board, attended classes at Downtown Campus in 1977.

“It has changed so much, especially structurally,” Lee said.

She worked as a student aide in the financial aid department, and also worked for a “dean of the dark” who managed night classes.

“Downtown has been transformed into this incredible urban campus, and it is incredibly diverse and full of life,” Lee said. “The location of it really brings different variety of culture and people to the campus.”

Pat Houston, academic dean for science and communication arts, will host a 40th anniversary celebration for Downtown Campus on Nov. 15 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The free community-wide birthday bash is for past, present and future members of the Downtown Campus family, Houston said.

Activities will include a wide variety of food trucks, children’s games, cookie decorating and a “show us your moves” dance contest. DJ Richie Rich will spin tunes from the past four decades.

Former Pima student Randall Rehak, more popularly known as R Dub from the internationally syndicated Sunday Night Slow Jams radio show, will emcee.

Rehak moved to Tucson as a teen, and attended PCC classes off and on for years. He returned in earnest in 2009-2011, then transferred to the University of Arizona to complete his degree.

“I am super excited to be back in Tucson, and so honored that they thought of me to be at this event,” Rehak said via telephone from his San Diego home.

“I like to joke that I went to Pima for 20 years, because I sort of did, but ever since it has been near and dear to my heart,” he added.

Houston encouraged everyone who attended Downtown Campus to share favorite memories by emailing phouston@pima.edu.

“I am so excited for everyone to come to the birthday party,” Houston said. “R Dub is an amazing emcee and we have so many fun activities planned, and a ton of food.”

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Pima news briefs

Pima news briefs

Produce sales begin Nov. 15

A monthly event that allows participants to pay $10 for up to 60 pounds of fresh produce begins Nov. 15 at Downtown Campus.

Produce on Wheels With Out Waste will take place from 8-11 a.m. in the north parking lot.

Those buying produce are encouraged to use what they need and share with friends and neighbors.

The POW WOW events are hosted by the Downtown Campus Diversity and Student Veterans clubs. A portion of funds raised will help support upcoming club activities.

To volunteer or for additional details, contact Sharon Arceneaux at 206-7263.

Veterans’ symposium Nov. 16

Pima Community College will host a symposium titled “Putting Our Veterans Front and Center” on Nov. 16 from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Downtown Campus Amethyst Room.

Activities will include a keynote speaker and workshops. A panel discussion will include an opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session. Veteran’s services resource representatives will be on hand.

For additional information, email gescobeda@pima.edu.

 

Foreign policy forum Nov. 17

Former ambassador Stuart Holliday will discuss his ideas, insights and experience in foreign affairs and international institutions on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the West Campus Center for the Arts Proscenium Theatre.

PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert will co-host the free event with Holliday as they explore “The New Meanings of Global Citizenship.” An audience question and answer session will follow.

The event is sponsored by PCC, the University of Arizona Global Initiatives and Southern Arizona Council for International Visitors. For additional information, call 206-4500.

 

Study Abroad Fair Nov. 18

Downtown Campus will host a Study Abroad Fair Nov. 18 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Amethyst Room as part of International Education week.

PCC is partnering with the University of Arizona Study Abroad and Student Exchange. UA offers hundreds of programs, lasting from three weeks to 10 months, in about 60 countries.

Students can meet UA Study Abroad program directors and financial aid/scholarship advisors.

For additional information, contact academic dean Patricia Houston at 206-7045.

 

‘Death with Dignity’ forum

An anthropology class will sponsor a public discussion on “Death with Dignity” on Nov. 19 from 3-4:30 p.m. in the West Campus community room, JG-05.

The discussion, led by Anthropology 253 instructor Dianna Repp, is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Repp at 206-6067.

 

Explore the planets Nov. 19

The East Campus “Astronomy for All” series continues Nov. 19 with a free viewing and a talk by University of Arizona assistant professor Kaitlin Kratter.

He will discuss “Exploring the Architecture of Planetary Systems at Home and Abroad” at 6 p.m. at the observatory ramada. The rainy day location is Building E4, Room 403.

For additional information, call 206-7672.

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Aztec Press runner-up for national award

Aztec Press runner-up for national award

The College Media Association, the largest organization for student journalists in the country, announced its picks on Oct. 31 for best newspapers nationwide. Pima Community College’s Aztec Press took second place in its division.

The announcement came during the CMA’s 93rd annual National College Media Convention, held this year in Philadelphia from Oct. 29-Nov. 2. The convention gathers thousands of student journalists for workshops, keynote speeches from professional journalists, critiques and other events in addition to the award declarations.

The Organization Pinnacle Awards given out at the convention acknowledge the best college newspapers, broadcast stations, websites and magazines for the past two semesters. Aztec Press was named runner-up for Newspaper of the Year in the “Two Year, Less Than Weekly” category.

El Don, Santa Ana College’s paper, took home first place in the division and Wingspan, Laramie County College’s publication, took third. It was the first time Aztec Press has been recognized by the organization.

-By Andrew Paxton

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