MAY 22, 2003
A community listening session of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board was scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Ed Contreras, President
Linda Rosenthal, Secretary
Nancy Stein, Member
Don Campbell, Member
Gene Eastin, Member
Ron Etter for Larry Christiansen
Nick Balich, Absent
I. LISTENING SESSION
President Contreras called the Community Listening Session hosted by South Mountain Community College to order at 6:40 p.m. and called on Governing Board Member Don Campbell to lead those present in the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge was followed by introductory remarks which included a welcome to those present in this yearlong series of ten community listening sessions designated as Community Voices. He stated that these forums are serving as an opportunity for the governing board, college presidents and people at all leadership levels to connect with and hear from the people who live in the communities served. He further indicated that only through the voices of constituents can the colleges begin to understand their strengths and weaknesses. He stressed the importance of maintaining dialogue and hearing what people have to say, not only pertaining to what the community colleges are doing right, but also what can be improved upon and might be considered for the future. He stated that at the end of the twelve public meetings, a report will be put together as new directions are determined for the future. As members of the Governing Board, Mr. Contreras remarked that they take very seriously what constituents have to say and appreciate the opportunity to listen to the comments made and what they feel is needed to provide the necessary education.
President Contreras introduced members of the Board and Acting Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper.
Dr. Glasper proceeded to welcome everyone in attendance at the fifth of twelve community listening sessions to be conducted this year. He stated that the Maricopa Community Colleges are in the middle of a strategic planning and capital planning initiative and there is a need to hear what can be done better and prepare for a possible Capital Bond Initiative. He made mention that currently the Maricopa Community Colleges have the highest penetration rate of any community college system in the country. He noted the increase in enrollment numbers over previous years and the potential for a 10% increase next year resulting from tuition increases at ASU. He is hopeful the accessibility and affordability of the Maricopa Community Colleges will encourage more students to attend, however, there is a need to prepare for this increasing enrollment. He informed those in attendance that no action would be taken on comments made but rather to listen to presenters from the South Mountain Community College service area.
The Listening Session proceeded as follows:
South Mountain Community College President, Dr. Ken Atwater
Dr. Atwater made mention of a deviation from the published agenda by introducing Mr. Cody Williams, CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce, who wanted to make brief remarks but was on a rush time schedule. Mr. Williams commented on his support of and belief in the Maricopa Community Colleges and, in particular, South Mountain Community College. He spoke about the fact that the site of SMC used to be a citrus orchard and how he used to walk around with a papersack in his back pocket hoping to walk away with a few grapefruit and oranges. The dream that started in the church house not far away before there were resources eventually became a reality through the bond election held a number of years ago. Before there was any development in this part of the city, SMC was the only thing happening and it is exciting to see the Maricopa Community College District developing this property. SMC is an integral part of this community. Mr. Williams raised the topic of integrating a public library into the existing library at SMC and bringing more people onto the campus with this innovative concept. He encouraged the Governing Board to be proactive in carrying the torch for this institution.
Dr. Atwater followed with a welcome on behalf of all the staff to those in attendance for taking time out of busy schedules to attend this listening session. He provided historical information on SMC which was founded 23 years ago on a cotton field by a strong local community and was now attended by approximately 8,000 students at the three facilities which make up SMC (Main, Guadalupe Learning Center, and the Ahwatukee-Foothills Center). Dr. Atwater spoke about the successes South Mountain Community Colleges has had in internships with Los Alamos and NASA, the Cisco Academy, the future teacher program partnership with ASU, and the successful ESL Program which has helped 10,000 individuals learn English. The partnership with GWC and Banner Health has resulted in 27 future nurses being enrolled. The very diverse community is currently very well served through their Technology Center and Performing Arts Center and research studies show that their service area population will increase from 118,000 to approximately 302,000 by the year 2020.
Lionel Diaz, Manager, Facilities and Planning Development
Mr. Diaz provided an overview of the 1994 Bond Election's impact in which voters passed a $386 million bond for the Maricopa Community College District. He commented that promises made were kept and in general these had resulted in providing accessible and affordable education in safe and secure environments.
At South Mountain Community College funds were devoted to: Technology Center (36,000 s.f.), Student Services (4,900 s.f.), Performing Arts Center (38,000 s.f.), construction of the new education center at the Guadalupe Learning Center (4,635 s.f.), upgrading or replacement of existing buildings, furniture, infrastructure, and staging areas.
Community Speakers (Invited Guests)
Dr. Lattie Coor, Chairman & CEO Center for the Future of Arizona, President Emeritus of Arizona State University, expressed a welcome to everyone to the South Mountain Community and hoped that everyone would be as pleased and surprised in the development over the past ten years in this area. Dr. Coor spoke of his long history in this area due to his grandparents having lived off of 11th Street and Baseline. Dr. Coor indicated that he and his wife were drawn to build in the South Mountain Community due to the extraordinary features of the neighborhoods in this area, the closeness of this beautiful place, and also the fact that it represented something old and also something very new. Dr. Coor became acquainted with SMC through the efforts of Dr. Raul Cardenas, former President of SMC, who provided strong community leadership. Dr. Coor urged the Governing Board Members to listen and make note of the how the edges of the South Mountain Community are growing west of here, as this is one of the rapidly growing areas of the Valley. He made a number of observations:
- The proportion of underserved population in this Valley and the demands of society to strengthen the bonds that encourage youth to attend college.
- Overwhelmed in the next few years with growth and the need to be prepared to provide education in this community.
- High school dropouts in the Hispanic and Native American populations need to be addressed and the community colleges have one of the most powerful tools to help.
- The importance of welcoming new residents to this community by providing a place to come together.
Michael Kelly, Assistant to the Mayor, City of Phoenix, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to speak both as a twenty year resident of South Mountain and representative of the Mayor. He spoke of the "10,000 tongues that praised as one voice the vision of what exists today. They are truly family." His youngest son is a student at SMC and likens him as just a brother from another mother. Working for the Mayor of the City and surrounded by powerful men and women, he hears from people who have set the infrastructure of Phoenix. They stress the importance of K-12 education and workforce development as issues that the Governing Board should focus on, in addition to genomics, professional mentorships, and recruitment and retention of minority students. He expressed the support of the City of Phoenix to work on this vision.
Ray Arvizu, President, Arvizu Promotions & Marketing Events, also expressed his appreciation to be asked to speak. He stated that he grew up at 16th Street and Southern and has observed how SMC has had a great impact on this community. He represents small business and feels very fortunate to give back resources to the community. He stated that the Latino dropout rate need to be combated through money, mentoring, and scholarships designated to helping youth and especially ethnic youth. He is an alumni of SMC and has two sons that will attend SMC (one is now attending). South Phoenix has pride in their community and stands ready to fight the battle.
Senator Slade Mead, shared the message that SMC serves the Ahwatukee-Foothills community (citizens, teachers, and high school students) and there is a need for a facility in the western part of Ahwatukee to serve the huge population that would take advantage of this opportunity.
Greg Stanton, Vice Chairman of City of Phoenix and Representative of District 6 (Ahwatukee Area), voiced support of SMC and its leadership. The Genomics Project (TGEN) will not be a success without the support and cooperation of MCCD.
Community Speakers (Open Forum)
Gary Marks, SMC Faculty, indicated he was present on behalf of the Faculty Senate President and offered a cordial welcome to the South Mountain Campus. He stated that at SMC teaching is what they do and it is done well. With the Teacher Prep Charter High School and the Bilingual Nursing Program, they teach skills needed by the community. Through the Storytelling Program, they help students teach and learn concepts through the art of story.
Linda Proctor-Downing, Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center, commented that students at their school have an average GPA of 3.46, graduate with 56 credits, and graduate 98% of their student base. They also partner with CGC, MCC and PVC.
Blanca Flor, Graduate Student in ESL Program, shared.her positive experiences while attending SMC. She came to Arizona from Columbia in 1993, however, was not able to speak English. She decided to attend the ESL Program at SMC and this was truly a self-esteem builder for her as a result of her instructors who wanted to teach and help her. She said she found a family ranging from the people in M&O to the President who always told her she could do it. She graduated in 1999 with an Associate's Degree and started attending ASU from which she graduated just last week. She gives credit to SMC for the assistance they provided in the ESL Program. She expressed that she felt the ESL Program should be expanded and improved to allow more people to learn English.
Dr. Frederick Warren, President, Roosevelt School District Board, commented that his daughter and money go to South Mountain Community College. She stated that the Roosevelt School and SMC have established a partnership through the early child development program while their employees attend SMC. Former Chancellor Paul Elsner served on their board which oversees 11,000 students that will potentially attend SMC.
John McComish, South Mountain Village Planning Committee, expressed a strong need for a facility in the Ahwatukee/Foothills Mountain area since this part of the population represents 40% of those serviced by SMC.
Julian Nabozny, CEO & Manager, McDonalds, commented that he originally started out by owning one business when he moved to this country and he now owns five businesses in South Phoenix and employes over 200 residents from this part of the city. He stressed that small business development must be encouraged and that SMC must stay current in software training and technology. He stated that local and small enterprises must be involved training residents.
Dr. Carrie Jo Davis, Curriculum and Admissions Development, Tempe Union School District, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to share how the Tempe Union School District administrators, teachers, and students benefit through their relationship with SMC. The ACE program provides credits and confidence and general student recruitment provides one-on-one communication and connection for students who don't know how to prepare for the transition from high school to college. Many students initially want the AA degree prior to proceeding to a university.
Ramon Elias, East Valley Boys and & Girls Club, shared that their organization serves 11,600 students and their goal is to provide assistance to see these children graduate and attend college. He encouraged the community college system to look into four-year degrees for youth who are unable to attend a university due to costs.
Carlie Back, SM Chamber of Commerce, commented that SMC has provided the space for the Chamber to hold their meetings and workshops. She indicated that development continues to grow and businesses are wanting to expand into this area.
Honie Graham-Tafoya, Student Government President, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the Student Public Policy Forum. This program teaches students how to make changes in policy at the local, state, or national level. She stated that with the growth taking place at this campus, parking is sometimes a problem, as well as the drive time from Ahwatukee.
Belen Servin, ESL Program Faculty for 21 years, expressed that the ESL Program has been successful due to the recruiting efforts of Jerry Cervantes. Everyone in the program makes students feel important. She would recommend scholarship funding for books for students enrolled in the ESL program.
Betty Thompson, Governing Board Member, Roosevelt School District, spoke up as an alumni of SMC. She encouraged offering the course, "Bridging the Gap Between Community Colleges and Universities", as a means of helping students as they transition.
Robert Donofio, Superintendent of the Murphy School District, stated that for the better part of twenty years, MCCD has been a walking billboard because of the middle name "community". He states that there are two types of children: children of color and children of poverty. The community college is the pathway for success for these children who have problems and aren't sure they can attend universities.
Tom Brecke, Editor & Publisher, South Mountain Desert News, stated that South Mountain is a wonderful, vibrant place, and that South Mountain Community College has been an integral part of the community.
William C. Nash, A-1 Guest Lodge, indicated that he has lived in this area for 23 years and had wanted to attend college for a many years but something always prevented it. Now tuition fees have increased and with the cost of books, many are once again prevented from attending.
Francisca Montoya, The Stardust House, commented that the Stardust House is a home that has successfully partnered with the Maricopa Foundation and South Mountain Community College in helping provide scholarships for people they assist in attending college. Program participants attend the ACE Program, Computer Lab Training, and parent education classes.
Governing Board Member Remarks:
Dr. Don Campbell agreed with the comments made by all board members. He stated that all of his life in Arizona has been in South Phoenix and when you deal with human beings, you are going to have to deal with problems that come up. MCCD is going to continue to expand the faculty and services not only at SMC but all the other colleges.
Linda Rosenthal expressed sincere appreciation for the large turnout and was pleased to hear the many compliments. She also appreciated hearing what the needs were and hoped that college staff members heard them as well. It will take time and money to accomplish all these needs, however, the Governing Board will continue to be supportive.
Nancy Stein remarked that it was a pleasure to be present and hear from faculty, students, and the community about the many accomplishments that have been achieved and the needs that need to be met.
Gene Eastin commented that it was good to see Dr. Warren from the Roosevelt School District as he personally was an eighth grade graduate at Roosevelt Elementary School in May, 1942. He commented that the Board Members were very impressed and encouraged to hear laudatory remarks about the Maricopa system especially when it involves various campuses. He expressed appreciation for the praise but also encouraged everyone to speak positively in the ballot boxes of November 2004.
Ed Contreras commented that as he heard the speakers, he heard the following points:
- There is a growing diverse population here at South Mountain and the Foothills and he remains mindful of that. There is a need to be cognizant about bringing together the family concept, and how schools can be successful in bringing the populations together and meeting the needs of the diverse community.
- The population that has remained here has traditionally been underserved. The population is growing and is still underserved in providing for the needs through the ESL Program and internships such as the NASA Program. It would appear that expansion of the ACE Program, the ESL Program, and K-12 Programs would assist in this effort.
- There needs to be some investment for a facility in the Foothills area.
The meeting concluded at 8:53 p.m.
Governing Board Secretary