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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima riding wave to postseason

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima riding wave to postseason

Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics Sophomore Sydni Stallworth goes in for a layup against South Mountain.

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team is currently averaging 83.2 points per game, an improvement from the previous seasons 72.6 points per game average.

The Aztecs have also improved their three-point accuracy, hitting 30.7 percent as opposed to 21.9 percent last season. Their overall field goal percentage has also seen a bump, an 8.3% percent increase from last season.

“We are right where we want to be, coming down the stretch in a good position,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “In my ten years, this is probably the best offensive team I’ve ever had.”

Feb. 4: PCC 87, Eastern Arizona 92

After maintaining a slight lead for three quarters, the Aztecs ended up with a loss against the Gila Monsters.

Pima held a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Then Eastern Arizona outscored PCC 31-19 in the fourth. The Gila Monsters out rebounded the Aztecs, 51-36, and shot 25 for 30 at the free throw line.

Sophomore Denesia Smith, lead the team with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists. Fellow sophomore Sydni Stallworth had 18 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Feb. 8: PCC 83, South Mountain 53

After their second loss to Eastern Arizona, the Aztecs bounced back and beat the South Mountain Cougars.

PCC started out the second half with a 17-point lead and steamrolled it into a 30-point lead by the end of the game.

Stallworth led her team with 27 points and shot 62 percent from the field. Freshman Alliyah Bryant had 13 points, hitting half of her shots.

The win allowed for a sweep of the Cougars, with the Aztec’s having defeated South Mountain 68-54 earlier in the season.

Feb. 11: PCC 71, Scottsdale 58

The Aztecs took the win against the Artichokes after sophomore Bree Cates dropped 24 points.

The game began as a neck and neck affair, until the fourth quarter. The Aztecs stretched their lead to double digits in the fourth, and closed out the game with a 13-point lead.

Cates also shot for 44 percent and had six rebounds. Stallworth finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

“We got a tough part of our schedule coming up leading into playoffs,” Holthaus said. “That’ll be the focus leading into playoffs, tighten up the defence. Knowing that the old cliché ‘defense wins championships’ is true.”

Feb. 15: PCC vs. Cochise

The game took place after the Aztec Press went to press.

ON DECK

Feb. 18: at Phoenix College, 2p.m.

Feb. 22: Cetral Arizona, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: at Mesa CC, 2p.m.

Feb. 28: Arizona Western, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

TRACK & FIELD: Aztecs break records and nationally qualify

TRACK & FIELD: Aztecs break records and nationally qualify

By: KATELYN ROBERTS

As Pima Community College presses on, Aztecs made five more national qualifying marks between the men’s and women’s teams at the Aztec Indoor Invitational.

PCC hosted the tournament at West Campus.

Records were also broken during the Arizona Indoor Invitational, hosted by Glendale Community College.

 

Feb. 3-4: Aztec Indoor Invitational

WOMEN’S

At the second meet of the season, sophomore Hannah Bartz took first place and qualified for nationals when she broke a PCC record in the 60-meter dash with her 7.8 second time.

Bartz wasn’t done yet.

She set another qualifying time and broke a PCC record again with her time of 25.09 seconds in the 200-meter dash.

“It was a real surprise because I haven’t gotten a lot of block work,” Bartz said. “I’m really more of a long-jumper.”

 

MEN’S

Men’s competition had freshmen Victor Bustamante and Collin Dylia, and sophomores Alex Palacios, and David Fernandez making up the distance medley team.

The team set a national qualifying mark with a time of 10 minutes, 36.79 seconds.

Dylia set a national qualifier in the 1,000-meter race with his time of 2 minutes, 40.11 seconds.

Sophomore Treyshon Malone qualified in long jump and placed first at 23 feet, 2.5 inches.

Freshman Cam Duffy placed first with his 23 feet, 3.5 inches jump mark.

Sophomore Sam Shoultz earned first place in the high jump at 6 feet, 10.75 inches. Shoultz improved last meet’s mark by 2 inches.

 

Feb. 11: Arizona Indoor

Invitational

WOMEN’S

PCC’s 60-meter dash record was broken at Glendale Community College’s Arizona Indoor Invitational on Feb. 11.

Photo courtesy of Ben Carbajal Sophomore Amber McCroskey sets a PCC record for the 60-meter dash.

Sophomore Amber McCroskey’s time was 7.79 seconds and earned a national qualifier.

McCroskey’s time beat Bartz’s previous record of 7.8 seconds, by 0.01 seconds.

Freshman Tyra Yanez set her personal record in the 60-meter race with a time of 7.91 seconds, missing the national qualifying time of 7.85 seconds by 0.06 seconds.

 

MEN’S

In the men’s competition, sophomores Alen Leyva and Alex Palacios, and freshmen Isaiah Martin and Emmanuel Doe’s 4×400 relay team set a season record and earned a national qualifier with a time of 3 minutes, 19.88 seconds.

Taking first in the 60-meter hurdles, freshman Cornelius Payne Jr. finished with a time of 8.54 seconds, missing the national qualifying mark by 0.11 seconds.

ON DECK

Feb.17: NAU Tune-up, Flagstaff, begins at noon

GOLF: Hong ties for first

GOLF: Hong ties for first

By DAVID W. SKINNER

The Pima Community College golf teams took a swing in two opening invitational’s held in Mesa and Scottsdale.

Feb. 5-6: Mesa Invitational

The women’s team finished in second overall, with Desiree Hong tieing for first in.

The men’s team finished 10 strokes behind and placed sixth overall.

Feb. 13-14: Scottsdale

Invitational

The Scottsdale Invitational saw Women’s golf take second place, for the second time in a row with.

Hong tied for second in individual standings. Sophomore Samantha Hacker took seventh.

 

ON DECK

MEN’S TEAM

Feb. 20-21: Scottsdale Community College Invitational, Sun City, 11 a.m. start time both days

WOMEN’S TEAM

Feb. 27-28: Estella Mountain Community College Invitational, Goodyear, 10 a.m. start time both days

TENNIS: Team's sweep openers

TENNIS: Team’s sweep openers

By: Nicholas Trujillo

With a new coach at the helm for both Pima Community College tennis teams, Ian Esquer starts off his season 1-0, for the men’s and women’s teams.

MEN’S

Feb. 4: PCC 9, Imperial Valley 0

The men’s team earned a 9-0 sweep against Imperial Valley College. Fresman Francisco Sotelo swept his No. 4 singles match 6-0, 6-0.

Sophomores Jesus Lopez and Raj Singh Kaila also swept their opponents, No. 5 and No. 6 singles respectively, 6-0, 6-0.

In the doubles competition Sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton won their No. 1 doubles 6-1, 6-1.

WOMEN’S

Feb. 4: PCC 7, Imperial Valley 2

The Aztecs took their win against Imperial Valley, with a 7-2 take over.

In singles, freshman Elise Rodriguez defeated her No. 6 singles, 6-0, 61.

In doubles, Rodriguez and freshman Jayme Shafer swept their No. 3 doubles 8-0.

 

ON DECK

MEN’s TEAM

Feb. 20-21: Scottsdale CC, Invitational, Sun City, 11 a.m.

WOMEN’S TEAM

Feb. 27-28: Estella Mountain CC Invitational, Goodyear, 10 a.m.

SOFTBALL: Aztecs looking for consistency during season start

SOFTBALL: Aztecs looking for consistency during season start

By CASEY MUSE JR

The Pima Community College softball team eased into the season with some key wins at the beginning of conference play. The Aztecs are striving for consistency in their pitching as well as trying to keep their bats healthy.

Jan. 31: PCC 0, Arizona Western 6 / PCC 5, Arizona Western 4

The Aztecs were able to split in their conference opener on the road against Arizona Western College.

Pima was shutout in the first game as the team was unable to earn any runs off of their seven hits.

Freshman Edith Prieto went two-for-three from the plate but was unable to parlay anything into a score. Arizona Western scored three runs in the third inning and two more in the fifth to bust the game open.

Sophomore Baily Critchlow took the loss in the game as she pitched five innings. She finished with eight hits, two strikeouts and one walk.

The Aztecs fell behind in the second game 2-0, but finally found some offense in the fifth inning as sophomore Margarita Corona hit a two-run RBI single to give PCC a 3-2 lead. The Aztecs would strengthen their lead to 5-3 before the end of the inning.

Freshman pitcher Mandy Lorenson finished her complete game with a strikeout on the final batter as Arizona Western left the tying runner stranded on third. Lorenson finished with six hits, seven strikeouts and five walks.

 

Feb. 4: PCC 13, Glendale 1 / PCC 5, Glendale 4

Pima earned a sweep in a home doubleheader against Glendale Community College. The Aztecs dominated the first game early, scoring 11 runs in the first three innings.

Critchlow threw the three innings, and picked up a win giving up one hit and no runs. Pima was solid in all aspects as they finished with a 13-1 win.

The second game was much closer as it took a game winning RBI double from Corona to seal it. The Aztecs had another solid start in this game, scoring two runs in the first inning.

Glendale would battle back to obtain the lead and set things up for Corona’s heroic moment in the end.

Critchlow picked up another win in a relief effort. She gave up no hits and earned a strikeout in the final two innings. Freshman Mandy Lorenson started the game and finished with eight hits, four strikeouts and four walks.

 

Feb. 7: PCC 9, Mesa 5 / PCC 12, Mesa 5 

The Aztecs picked up another big sweep on the road this, as Pima was sharp in this conference meeting at Mesa.

The offense was big during the mid-innings in the first game as Freshman Alyssa Smith hit an RBI double in the fifth inning and Sophomore Gabriela Trejo cracked a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Trejo finished the contest three-for-four two RBIs and two runs scored.

Critchlow earned the win after pitching a complete game, finishing with nine hits, four strikeouts, and two walks.

The Aztecs were able to take a big lead in the second game during the fifth inning. Pima was up 5-4 at this point in the game but scored seven runs in the fifth to put the game away.

Freshman Hannah Freer got the win in a relief appearance. She pitched the final three innings and ended with four hits, two strikeouts and one walk.

 

Feb. 11: PCC 4, Yavapai College 12 / PCC 2, Yavapai College 15

It was a tough day for the Aztecs at home against Yavapai College. PCC gave up a total of 27 runs between two games and were never able to get anything going.

Yavapai started the first game hot and never looked back. The roughriders were able to score two runs in five of the seven innings played.

Sophomore Courtney Brown provided a bright spot for the Aztecs as she hit a solo home run in the third inning. Brown finished the game 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Critchlow took the loss as she pitched two innings and gave up four runs. Critchlow finished with six hits, one strikeout, and two walks.

The second game did not go any better as Yavapai scored five runs in the first inning and another six runs in the fifth to finish the dominant performance.

Freshman Mandy Lorenson took the loss after pitching two-thirds of an inning giving up five runs on five walks.

 

Feb. 14: PCC 3, Gateway 5 / PCC 12, Gateway 0

Pima was able to split with Gateway Community College at home.

The Aztecs fell behind early in the first game and were never able to quite catch up in the end. Critchlow took the loss pitching a complete game with five earned runs, eight hits, four strikeouts and two walks.

The second game was much different as PCC was able to jump out to an early lead themselves scoring eight runs in the first inning. Gateway was not able to recover. Sophomore Luisa Silvain earned the win as she pitched the whole game with two hits, three strikeouts and two walks.

 

ON DECK

Feb. 18: Central Arizona College, West Campus, doubleheader 12 p.m. & 2 p.m.

Feb. 21: Eastern Arizona College, West Campus, doubleheader 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

Feb. 25: Scottsdale CC, West Campus, doubleheader 12 p.m. & 2 p.m.

Feb. 28: @Chandler-Gilbert CC, Chandler, AZ, doubleheader 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

 

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs catching fire at right time

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs catching fire at right time

Casey Muse Jr./Aztec Press Sophomore guard Zach Evans dribbles past a South Mountain defender.

By CASEY MUSE JR

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team has won five of their last six games and is finding consistency on both ends of the court as they inch closer to postseason play. The team is all about staying together and filling their roles. 

Feb. 4: PCC 111, Eastern Arizona 100

The Aztecs were able to pick up a conference win in Thatcher against Eastern Arizona.

Both teams were hot on offense in the first half as the game was tied 55-55 at the break.

Pima was able to tighten up its defense just enough in the second half and the offense didn’t falter down the stretch for the 111-100 result.

Sophomore Emilio Acedo was on fire from three-point range, making eight, on his way to a team high 36 points.

Sophomore Deion James came up with 26 points and nine rebounds and fellow sophomore Damon Dubots scored 23 points. Freshman Isaiah Murphy added 16 points and seven rebounds off of the bench.

The Aztecs swept Eastern Arizona this season as they won a home meeting with the Gila Monsters 94-88 in December.

Feb. 8: PCC 121, South Mountain CC 92

Pima was able to play a dominant first half in a home contest against South Mountain.

South Mountain used a 26-9 run in the second half to close the gap to eight points. That was as close as it got as the Aztecs responded with a 22-10 run of their own regaining control for good.

James accumulated his 14th double-double of the season with a team high 29 points and 12 rebounds. Acedo had another big night scoring 28 points on seven three-point shots.

Murphy and Dubots each added 16 points. The result was another season sweep for Pima as they took the previous meeting in Phoenix, 116-84. 

Feb. 11: PCC 76, Scottsdale CC 73

Pima had a strong second half to come back against Scottsdale Community College on the road. It was a low scoring game throughout, as the Aztecs struggled to find consistent offense in the first half. The result was a 41-35 deficit for PCC at the break.

Freshmen Ilunga Moise and Alize Travis provided a much needed spark off of the bench in the second half as they combined for 29 points. Moise earned a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds and Travis contributed 15 points and four assists.

“The style of play has been working well.” Travis said. “We like to get out and run and we have some guys who can fill it up so I’ve just been trying to put them in the best position to get easy shots.”

Murphy led the team in scoring with 18 points as well as nine rebounds.

The win tallied another season sweep for the Aztecs as they won their home meeting with the Artichokes 108-83 last month.

“We have been playing well as a unit over the last three games.” Travis explained. “Executing the game plan has been our focus and as the season is coming to an end we are looking forward to keeping the momentum but we still have a lot of work to do.”

ON DECK

Feb. 18: at Phoenix College, 4 p.m.

Feb. 22: Central Arizona, West Cmapus, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: at Mesa CC, 4p.m.

Feb. 28: Arizona Western, West Campus, 7:30 p.m.

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR: We promise indepth news coverage

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR: We promise indepth news coverage

Eddie “Eddie-tor” Celaya

By EDDIE CELAYA

Let me start off by saying it’s good to be back in my old Eddie-tor spot. For that, a big thanks is in order to current editor-in-chief Melina Casillas. The content of the paper will only get better under her leadership.

Thank co-photo editor Kate Roberts for the paper’s clean, hip new look. With a new streamlined flag and modern headline font, we think the physical characteristics of the paper are finally ready for the 21st century.

Ashley Muñoz is Roberts’ co-editor partner-in-crime. As crazy as they are talented, the duo will keep improving the newspaper’s artistic direction.

In the news department, yours truly is running the show. The Aztec Press will deliver indepth coverage of major issues affecting students: accreditation, administrator/faculty issues and a potential rise in tuition.

This issue alone contains multiple stories that affect the entire college community, including Brianna Hernandez’ story on PCC budget woes, Dale Villeburn Old Coyote’s piece on a STEM grant awarded to East Campus and my accreditation update.

Since I’m also overseeing our opinion section, you can expect analysis of news happening locally and nationwide.

In this issue, Erik Medina talks about the advantages of being bilingual and Elise Stahl encourages readers to challenge themselves. Meanwhile, I dive deeper into my recent interview with Chancellor Lee Lambert.

Our arts and entertainment coverage has also undergone a change, with Robyn Zelickson taking the reins from longtime editor Travis Braasch. We’ll miss his indepth band profiles but Zelickson will keep arts in the spotlight.

What would a news publication be without sports? Casey “and the sunshine band” Muse Jr. is ready for every sport. With coverage from preseason to playoffs, our sports section will be a one-stop shop.

There is bitter sweetness to this semester, however. Our faculty adviser, Cynthia Lancaster, will retire in May. She won’t ever admit it, but we’re pretty sure she’ll miss us as much as we’ll miss her. Love ya, Cynthia.

It’s up to us to ensure her legacy. The world may be a little more scary and orange, but we’ll be here in the newsroom.

Lancaster’s eternal words will continue to guide us: “Deadline is Friday at 9 a.m. Not a minute later!”

East Campus receives federal STEM grant

East Campus receives federal STEM grant

Dale Villeburn Old Coyote/Aztec Press Program manager Guadalupe Waitherwerch plans new ways to teach STEM students

By DALE VILLEBURN OLD COYOTE

Pima Community College East Campus has received a $3.1 million federal grant to supplement the science, technology, engineering and math programs offered to students.

The campus qualified for the STEM grant because it is a Hispanic-Serving Institute, meaning that 25 percent of enrolled students are of Hispanic descent.

The U.S. Department of Education grant seeks to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in STEM fields. Another goal is to develop model transfer and articulation agreements between other institutions.

The rate of degree completion in STEM fields is generally poor and worse for students of Hispanic or African-American descent, according to the Universal Journal of Educational Research.

Guadalupe Waitherwerch, the East Campus HSI-STEM program manager, said corporations need applicants who are better prepared.

“They are hiring people who look stellar on paper, but have no people skills and are not able to work on projects,” she said.

Job openings will be available. Data compiled by Pew Research Center indicates approximately 10,000 baby boomers have retired every day since 2011, leaving a void in the workforce.

Waitherwerch believes traditional college courses don’t provide students with the experience necessary to replace those who are leaving.

She hopes a new style of instruction will better prepare graduates to tackle real-world issues when they enter the workforce.

The first step is faculty redevelopment. Instructors will work together to develop integrated classes that help students understand where two subjects coincide in practical application.

The new class format encourages students to teach themselves while being supervised by an experienced guide. The instructor’s role will be to facilitate the application of knowledge rather than lecturing students.

To address the low completion rate of students in STEM programs, PCC will offer individual support for those enrolled in the redesigned classes.

The support will take the form of tutoring, student workshops, career and financial advisement, and helping students take advantage of community resources.

Plans to renovate the campus with up-to-date technology and infrastructure are also underway.

PCC’s renovation plan includes three phases. Each aspect is designed to provide low-income students with 21st-century resources.

Phases 1 and 2 involve creating modernized workspace for students to study alone or to collaborate in larger groups.

Phase 3 aims to provide a space for learning communities and faculty to cooperate while finding the crossroads of different subjects, such as biology and chemistry.

“We don’t have the structure here set up so that students can actually come together in groups, whether in classrooms or even in the library,” Waitherwerch said.

The grant funding will allow East Campus to purchase more smart-boards and to begin renting out laptops to students who may not have access to an off-campus computer or Wi-Fi.

Pima will receive the grant money in installments over the next five years. The college has committed to matching the grant funding and expects to use $3.1 million of its own money over the five-year span to support STEM programs.

The federal government monitors the funding to ensure it is being used efficiently and according to the college’s plan.

PCC is required to meet specific goals concerning the completion rate of the target demographic and their performance in the classes.

East Campus will implement the new teaching modalities in courses gradually, starting in the Fall 2017 semester.

An existing East Campus student STEM club is currently recruiting, and hopes to expand to other campuses as membership increases.

Part of the club’s function is to give STEM students “a chance to discuss and explore common ideas in a fun and open environment outside of the classroom,” club adviser Duke Schoonmaker said.
Club members will have opportunities to listen to guest speakers and to participate in field trips, fundraising events and social outings.

To join, email Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@pima.edu.

BASEBALL: Aztecs go even in four-game series

BASEBALL: Aztecs go even in four-game series

By: RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team trounced its way into the season, picking up three straight wins against the University of Arizona Club team.

 

Feb. 3: PCC 2, El Paso 5 /

PCC 14, El Paso 8

In the first game, the Aztecs scored their only two runs in the second inning.

“It’s one game,” assistant coach Britt Echols said. “We have another coming up. We’ll get it next game.”

The Aztecs trailed El Paso 8-1 in the bottom of the third. They scored in three consecutive innings to tie the game, then sealed it with runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

 

Feb. 4: PCC 0, El Paso 3 /

PCC 5, El Paso 0

On the second day, El Paso shut out the Aztecs. Four errors, mixed with four hits throughout the game doomed PCC.

After the dismal loss, PCC answered back with a shutout of their own. The Aztecs brought in two runs in the first inning, two more runs in the third and one more in the fifth.

 

Feb. 11: PCC 3, Scottsdale 2 /

PCC 3, Scottsdale 2

The conference opener saw sophomore Manny Ramirez hit a walk off to steal the win.

The Aztecs first scored off an error to go up 1-0.

Scottsdale answered back with a two-run home run. Freshman Martin Garcia and sophomore Oscar Larranaga hit back-to-back singles leading up to Ramirez’s theft. Down 2-1 in the ninth, the Aztecs capitalized on a wild pitch to finish their two-game series.

 

Feb. 14: PCC 2, GateWay 5/

PCC 4, GateWay 5

The Aztecs’ traveled to Phoenix for their first season road game on Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day was not sweet as the Aztecs were swept in a doubleheader against GateWay

In the first game, they mustered two runs, scoring in the first inning. In the second, they went up 4-0 in the first inning but their on-fire offense was smothered, as they were unable to score again in a 5-4 loss.


ON DECK

Feb. 18: Mesa CC, West Campus, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 21: Phoenix College, Kino Memorial Stadium, 4p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: White Rock Tritons (Canada), West Campus, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 28: Chandler-Gilbert CC, Kino Memorial stadium, 4 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

 

Pima Community College player Martin Garcia awaits a pitch from El Paso in the third game on Feb. 4. The Aztecs lost the game by three runs.
Rene Escobarb/Aztec Press

BEST BETS: Enjoy fairs and festivals this February

BEST BETS: Enjoy fairs and festivals this February

Compiled by Elise Stahl

The holidays may be over, but there’s still plenty to do around town. Here are some festivals and activities happening in Tucson to keep your February fun:

Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival & Car Show

Feb. 18

View a variety of trucks and cars, enjoy live blues music and fill up on barbecue at this show celebrating the art of vehicle design, hosted by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.

The event will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road. Tickets are $5, with a $1 discount for veterans and active duty military with a military ID, cash only.

Details: www.saaca.org/classiccarshow

 

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo

(No PCC classes Feb. 23-24 due to rodeo holiday)

Feb. 18-26: Rodeo

Watch rodeo events and participate in barn dances at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave. Wear pink on Sunday to support breast cancer initiatives. Daily admission prices range from $15 to $31, with barn dances an extra $5. Parking costs $7.

Details: tucsonrodeo.com

 

Rodeo royalty lead the way at the 2013 La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press 2013)

Feb. 23: Rodeo Parade

The country’s largest non-motorized parade begins at 9 a.m. along a 1.5-mile route starting at Ajo Highway a half mile east of Park Avenue.

It proceeds east then south on Park to Irvington Road, west on Irvington to Sixth Avenue and north on Sixth to the north end of the Tucson Rodeo Grounds.

Grandstand seating on Irvington Road, which includes pre-parade entertainment beginning at 8 a.m., is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Street spots along the parade route are free.

Details: tucsonrodeoparade.com or tucsonrodeo.com

 

Tucson Women’s Comedy Festival

Feb. 23-25

Celebrate women in comedy with the Tucson Improv Movement as it presents three nights of storytelling, improv comedy and standup comedy from local and out-of-town comediennes.

Shows run from 7:30-11 p.m. each day at Tucson Improv Movement, 329 E. Seventh St. Tickets are $5.

Details: downtowntucson.org/event/tucson-womens-comedy-festival

 

35th Annual Peace Fair and Music Festival

Feb. 25

The Tucson Peace Center will hold Arizona’s largest gathering of peace, justice and environmental groups from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. downtown at Armory Park, 220 S. Sixth Avenue. The festival’s 2017 theme is demilitarization.

Live music, food, entertainment, informational displays and children’s activities are all included at this free event.

Details: tucsonpeacecalendar.org

 

Mardi Gras – Carnival!

Feb. 28

Enjoy themed food, drinks and entertainment at this festival, which combines Mardi Gras and Brazilian carnival traditions. Entertainment includes face painters, 10-foot puppets, Samba dancers and more.

The free event runs from 5 p.m. on Feb. 28 through 2 a.m. on March 1 at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

Details: hotelcongress.com/music/mardi-gras-carnival or downtowntucson.org/event/mardi-gras-carnival-club-congress

HOROSCOPE

HOROSCOPE

By DANIELLA CAMPUZANO

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 18)

Focus on yourself this year. Do the best you can with what’s expected of you. This is a good time to do some research and explore more education. Of course, you may need to take risk but it’ll be worth it.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Your sense of humor will make your honey fall more in love with you every day. Be honest with each other, and smile.

Aries (March 21- April 19)

You might want to try something new today. A new adventure will come your way very soon. Be patient, and try not to push yourself too much.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

I can see you’re spicing things up. With everything going on today, you’ll be lucky. Trust me, I promise. Do something fun and creative.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Here you go redecorating again, Gemini. If you aren’t redecorating, you are refurnishing or just cleaning. Put everything down, and go buy yourself a heart-shaped pizza.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

You may have a lot of errands to run today, which means you will come into contact with some very unusual people. Take some chocolates. You’ll need them.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

As a result of everything happening in your life, stop making plans and just go with the flow. Don’t think about it too much. Remember, you only live once. 

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

You will be full of energy, so get into in touch with an old friend and arrange a coffee date. You may enjoy it so much that you’ll make it a weekly event.

Libra (Sept. 23. -Oct. 22)

Memories are going through your mind today. This is good–you’re releasing old obstacles. By the end of the day … Wait, what memories again?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Try to avoid temptations and arguments today. Problems will be resolved soon. Today is a great day to get some coffee and enjoy alone time.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This month will be very overwhelming for you. Don’t let anything get in your way. Obstacles will come and go. Do what you please and feel free to leave early if you’re not thrilled.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Take an exotic trip with a group of friends. A little adventure could do you some good. Go to a music festival or even a rave, and let loose. Don’t think about anything, just do it.

Major League Soccer roars into Tucson

Major League Soccer roars into Tucson

Photo courtesy of FC: Tucson Dedicated Portland Timber fans create a colorful, noisy spectacle during the Desert Friendlies.

By ELLIE BAYLY

They’re heeere!

Major League Soccer preseason has arrived. For soccer fans, the icing on the cake has been swirled to perfection.

Emerald-green grass smells sweet at the Kino Sports Complex north stadium and surrounding fields. Cleats click along concrete paths and thunder onto the pitch. Golf carts zoom from point A to point B with earnest intent.

The Kino expanse is home to FC Tucson, a semi-pro team. For a period stretching from Jan. 27 through Feb. 25, FC Tucson partners with Pima County and other entities to host spring training for about half of the professional MLS teams.

The Desert Friendlies, kicked off Jan. 27 and ended Feb. 4. Featured teams included the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC and New York Red Bulls. Famous players included U.S. national team star Clint Dempsey.

The second period opens Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 25. Teams will include New York City FC and the Colorado Rapids.

As an intern at FC Tucson, I’m lucky to have a front seat for the spectacle. I gain insight into how a major preseason event comes into existence.

It’s a marvel to see how so many people work to make things happen. Imagine a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, where each piece must clearly communicate with others to make things happen as they should.

Those constantly shifting parts?

Let me recount just a few: ticketing, media, sponsorship, marketing, grounds maintenance, staffing, visitors and setup.

We’re hosting guests for a 6-week-long major holiday, and these guests are so clever. Clever with a soccer ball. Clever at passing, trapping, angling, arcing and locating shots to a teammate while avoiding an opponent.

These thoughts run through my head every day I see them play.

Passion for the game of soccer is an intangible thing. Yet it is so brilliantly obvious when watching these players sprint in every direction.

You hear it in the pounding of their feet on the grass as they tear after a ball going down the sideline. You hear it in their gasping breaths as they run hard and fast until their muscles burn. You see it as they exert every ounce of cunning and strength to gain possession of the soccer ball.

As MLS preseason in Tucson continues, take a moment to appreciate the artistry of soccer. Its athletes put their skills on display every second of every game.

Now is the time to think about why so many love the sport as youths and why it has become so beloved with adult and professional leagues in the United States.

It is adored beyond imagination in other countries.

They’re here! Appreciate it. Embrace it.

ON DECK

MLS preseason at Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way, continues with the Desert Diamond Cup:

 Saturday, Feb. 18

  • New England Revolution vs. Colorado Rapids, 1 p.m.
  • New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City, 3:30 p.m.
  • New York City Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25

  • 5th place team vs. 6th place team, 1 p.m.
  • 3rd place team vs. 4th place team, 3:30 p.m.
  • 1st place team vs. 2nd place team, 6 p.m.

General admission tickets cost $22 adults, $15.50 child. Reserved seating costs $27.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit fctucson.com.

Chancellor must add constituent empathy to his ledger approach

Chancellor must add constituent empathy to his ledger approach

By EDDIE CELAYA

I recently had an opportunity to sit down for wide-ranging interviews with numerous Pima Community College decision makers, including Chancellor Lee Lambert. You can find portions of my interviews in our reporting throughout this issue.

A page 7 story by Brianna Hernandez focuses on college budget woes. It details three possible budget scenarios that Pima is considering.

My Higher Learning Commission story on pages 8-9 spotlights the college’s fight against accreditation sanctions.

These stories open a window into the inner workings of the bureaucracy that makes Pima run (or not run, depending on your point of view). This piece focuses on the last part of my conversation with the chancellor.

If you asked me to characterize the overall tone of our chat, I would call it educational and friendly. I allowed the chancellor wide latitude in answering questions at length, and he allowed me to interject for followups where required.

I found Lambert to be collegial, intelligent and well spoken. I also found some of his answers aloof to the concerns and views of average students.

When talk turned to Pima’s tuition rates, things got interesting. The chancellor began by referencing the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan. The SEMP acts as a guide for college enrollment priorities.

“We have also looked at, ‘How do we strengthen attracting out-of-state and international students?’” Lambert said. “Never though, and this is key, at the expense of the local students.”

Reasonable enough. Then he continued.

“Because on the international students, those students pay the actual cost of what it means to come to Pima,” he said. “They aren’t being subsidized by the taxpayer. They are paying what an individual student ought to pay.”

Perhaps the chancellor needs reminding. Most in-state students are Pima County residents. That makes them, and their families, taxpayers. You could even say they “subsidize” the chancellor’s salary.

Lambert ended his answer by asserting that concerns about the contrast in tuition rates between in state and out-of-state were “simplistic characterizations.” He continued to insist out-of-state students are “paying the true cost of the education.”

When I pushed back, asking if he could understand the frustration among students and other local constituencies in seeing their tuition rise while non-local students see theirs fall, the chancellor again was tone deaf.

“I can understand that but also, they should want to come and understand this on a much more sophisticated level,” he said.

That answer doesn’t just sound elitist. It is elitist.

To suggest the public should be “more sophisticated” elicits the worst ivory-tower stereotypes of academia. It implies not only that you’re right, but also that you’re right because everyone else is dumb.

Our conversation then turned to potential campus closings. Were campuses being considered for closure? Which ones? Would that require a reduction in instructors and staff?

No campus closures yet, Lambert said. Just a restructuring of how and where general education classes are held.

But about those staff reductions?

His reply: “There is a mythology at Pima that no one has ever been laid off, OK?”

Lambert again said he didn’t want layoffs, but “we are just running out of real estate for that.”

I’m not sure local advocacy groups like C-FAIRR (not to mention students both current and potential), don’t have “sophisticated” arguments on tuition.

And I’m not convinced that employee groups such as PCCEA and ACES are turning to supposed myths about Pima never having laid anyone off.

I am sure the chancellor first approaches problems from a financial perspective.

“I have a fiduciary responsibility to this community that we will run a financially healthy organization,” he said.

That’s not a bad thing in and of itself. However, if recent spats with the college’s employee associations are any evidence, the chancellor will need to use more honey than vinegar to effectively set his agenda.

Lambert is far from being the most out-of-touch executive in charge of an academic institution. University of Arizona president Ann Weaver Hart takes home all the awards for that.

Nevertheless, PCC needs more than a ledger-keeper to take it into the future.

It needs a leader who does more than acknowledge local constituencies. A true leader must embrace them and their specific needs.

Lambert faces three big showdowns within the next six months.

The first is with the HLC. Lambert has proven effective in dealing with the accrediting body, so credit is due there.

The other two battles, a meet-and-confer fight with employee associations and a decision on tuition, will require Lambert to leave his policy wonk comfort zone. He should attempt a hearts-and-minds campaign with the public.

His handling of these issues will do more than determine Lambert’s legacy in Tucson. It will also determine the length of his stay.

Funding cuts, enrollment drops equal massive PCC budget woes

Funding cuts, enrollment drops equal massive PCC budget woes

By BRIANNA HERNANDEZ

Elimination of state funding and continuing drops in enrollment have left Pima Community College officials facing tough budget decisions.

Proposed solutions have generated talk of possible tuition hikes, layoffs, campus closings, spending cuts and elimination of programs.

“As you look at the impacts of no state support, declining enrollment, you have to recalibrate,” PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert said.

“You start off by saying ‘everything’s on the table,’” he said. “That allows you to take a big view of how are you going to balance all these pieces … and minimize the impact.”

DECLINING ENROLLMENT  

Current spring semester enrollment dropped 2.96 percent compared to the previous spring semester.

“This is in stark contrast to Spring 2015, when enrollment dropped by as much as 9.77 percent from the previous year,” Lisa Brosky, PCC vice chancellor of external relations, said.

College officials blame enrollment declines on an improving economy, online competition and accreditation concerns.

“It is generally accepted that the peak enrollments that followed the start of the Great Recession in 2008 were an anomaly and, barring a crisis, are not likely to be seen again,” Brosky said.

“Unemployment in the Tucson region is down significantly, which generally means people are working instead of attending college,” she said.

The unemployment rate in Arizona was 4.3 percent in December 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate in December 2008 was 6.9 percent.

Brosky cited the work of Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. He contends declines in enrollment may be fueled by a perceived lack of correlation between college and employment.

“That may be true here as well, where manufacturers and other employers are struggling to fill skilled positions which often pay very well,” Brosky said. “People are unaccustomed to thinking about college to get a manufacturing job.”

Future jobs will require education beyond high school, but less than a four-year degree. Employers need critical thinkers who possess technical and communication skills, Brosky added.

Competition among online programs represents another contributing factor.

“The competition has grown from online competitors,” Lambert said. “ASU online has grown significantly. University of Southern New Hampshire is marketing in our backyard.”

To grow Pima’s online curriculum, the college has hired Michael Amick to serve as vice president of distance education.

PCC has received a $100,000 grant to develop online degree programs that use open-source texts and resources. Pima was the only institution in Arizona, and one of 38 nationally, to receive the endowment.

Pima has also been approved to offer online college courses in 28 states as a participant in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

“We think online probably has great growth potential and we are looking at classes, programs and even methods of course delivery,” Brosky said. “Taking courses on a cell phone, for example, is now a mainstream idea.”

Accreditation has been another issue.

“Even though the college is fully accredited, the concerns cited by the accreditor likely affected some people’s decisions to attend,” Brosky said.

“It’s difficult to know by how much,” she added. “The good news is the college is well on its way to putting the ‘on notice’ sanction behind us.”

DIFFICULT DECISIONS

Lambert said the college faces difficult options going forward.

“First of all, I don’t want to be raising tuition on students,” he said. “Two, I don’t want to be laying off employees. Three, I don’t want to be closing campuses.

“I also have a fiduciary responsibility to this community that we will run a financially healthy organization.”

David Bea, PCC executive vice chancellor for finance and administration, presented three budget scenarios to the PCC governing board in December.

BUDGET SCENARIO ONE

The first scenario would entail spending cuts, working toward a major cut of $15 million in 2020.

Tuition hikes are also on the table, with a $7-per-unit increase. The proposed increase would be the largest PCC has ever placed on students. The previous highest increase was a $5-per-unit increase.

“Declining enrollment means declining tuition revenue,” Brosky said. “That, combined with loss of state funding, has put unprecedented economic pressure on the college.”

Tuition for PCC remains low compared to other community colleges in Arizona.

PCC spokeswoman Libby Howell said the college recognizes that many Pima County students are low-income and first-generation college students.

“Setting tuition rates is a balancing act between the needs of the college and the needs of students,” she said.

BUDGET SCENARIO TWO

In the second scenario, the college would lower spending by $5 million per year for three years. Pima would examine and phase out under-performing programs that are suffering from low enrollment.

“We want to make sure we are offering programs that will help students get jobs after college, especially in our career and technical program areas,” Howell said.

This scenario would include reductions in infrastructure and staffing.

Bea said in his budget presentation that 75 percent of the PCC general fund consists of personnel expenses.

“Our enrollment today is currently at 1992 levels,” Howell said. “And yet our staffing ratio to Full-Time Student Equivalents has not been adjusted accordingly.”

Faculty numbers fall in the middle compared to similar institutions and colleges.

PCC exempt and nonexempt staff numbers are twice the average, Howell added.

BUDGET SCENARIO THREE

In scenario three, the college would reduce spending by $10 million per year for the next three years. The savings would be used to transform and revamp PCC.

“We know that to meet the needs of the students and those of our community, the college must invest in our campuses and our programs,” Brosky said.

“We envision high-tech, 21st century learning environments that spark interests,” she said, adding that the college aims to “put the latest technology at student’s fingertips.”

This scenario would also involve notable reductions in staffing and infrastructure.

It could involve closing campuses. College officials have not said which sites might be targeted.

Imminent campus closings are not being considered at this point, according to Howell. Lambert said the focus is to keep all campuses operating.

“The approach is going to be not to have to close down a campus, but to give each campus its own identity around this notion of its ‘center of excellence’ where it makes sense,” he said.

Under the center of excellence concept, each campus would specialize in certain areas of curriculum. An example would be to transform the Downtown Campus to a center of excellence for applied technology, Lambert said.

“I think that this strategy will allow us to hopefully maintain all the present locations,” he said. “But I still have to adjust for a new fiscal reality.”

EXPECTING PUSHBACK

Lambert said he expects pushback on the new plans.

“There is a mythology here at Pima that no one has ever been laid off,” he said. “So I think knowing what I know, I expect there will be pushback.”

Since the new plans are being driven by external forces, discomfort among current faculty is to be expected, Lambert added.

“I would say to them, we are doing it thoughtfully,” Lambert said. “We didn’t just do it willy-nilly. But ultimately, they don’t get to make decisions. That is something I have to recommend to the board.”

It is too early to say whether employee layoffs are near or how many layoffs there would be, Howell added.

In the upcoming summer semester, PCC will experiment with a program that allows employees to voluntarily take two months off with no pay.

The experiment is based on an employee survey conducted in 2015. The results showed that 48 percent of employees indicated interest in exploring the option.

“The details are still being laid out, and will be announced to employees soon,” Howell said. “Once again, let me emphasize that at this time, this option would be voluntary and based on the needs of the college.”

Faculty sabbaticals will also fall victim to funding cuts in 2018.

The PCC Executive Leadership team decided last November to fund six sabbaticals in 2017. There will be no funding the following year, due to financial concerns, Howell said.

ADVERTISING EFFORTS

PCC allotted $434,700 for online and outdoor ads as part of a “Think Smart” campaign in Fall 2015, with hopes of attracting prospective students.

The college created the campaign to increase awareness and understanding about the value and advantages of attending PCC.

“The funding was for a comprehensive approach to marketing that also included print, digital and direct-mail advertising,” Brosky said. “Some of the ads were designed as general awareness ads regarding college access, affordability, value and convenience.”

The campaign included radio, TV and print ads.

“Our advertising budget focused on driving attention to our website, and that was successful, with substantial increases in ‘click-throughs’ from digital advertising,” Howell said.

One campaign focused on potential students over the age of 55, who receive half-priced tuition.
CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM

“PCC is cautiously optimistic that enrollment is beginning to level out,” Brosky said.

The college will adopt its 2017-18 budget in June.

“We need to make sure that we have a healthy Pima Community College, that is here to meet the needs of students and this community far into the future,” Lambert said. “That is what it comes down to. My job is to make sure we navigate to that.”

News Editor Eddie Celaya contributed to this report.

———-

WHAT’S NEXT

Upcoming 2017-18 budget activities planned for PCC Board of Governors meetings include:

March 8 meeting

  • Approve tuition rates
  • Approve student/course fees
  • Approve contracts for employee benefits

April 12 meeting

  • Approve the capital budget

May 10 meeting

  • Present proposed budget plan

June 14 meeting

  • Approve property tax levies
  • Adopt budget

Governing board meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. in the District Office C-105 Community Board Room, 4095 E. Broadway Blvd.


Pima Community College students join a rally to protest Gov. Doug Ducey’s 2016 budget, which cut all state funding for community colleges in Pima and Maricopa counties. (Photo by Daisy Rodriguez-Patel 2015)

Education by the numbers

Education by the numbers

Compiled by Dale Villeburn Old Coyote

 

$4.80 *

Amount of return in future income for every $1 spent on community college education.

 

$35,580 **

Median annual earnings for jobs requiring a high school diploma.

 

$58,240 **

Median annual earnings for jobs requiring an associate degree.

$68,190 **

Median annual earnings for jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree.

 

11% **

Unemployment rate for those with less than a high school diploma.

 

7.5% **

Unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma.

 

7% **

Unemployment rate for those with some college, no degree.

 

5.4% **

Unemployment rate for those with an associate degree.

 

4% **

Unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree.

 

39.1 ***

Percentage of first-time college students enrolled in a community college who earn a credential from a two- or four-year institution within six years.

 

$5,400 ****

Average increase in annual pay someone with an associate degree can expect over a drop-out.

 

Sources:

* AAAC Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges

** U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

*** National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Shapiro & Dundar, 2014

**** Bailey & Belfield, 2015