JUNE 12, 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 Estrella 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
Carol Scarafiotti for Linda Thor
John Neibling for Art DeCabooter
Nick Balich, Absent
I. LISTENING SESSION
President Contreras called the Community Listening Session hosted by Estrella Mountain Community College to order at 6:40 p.m. and called on Governing Board Member Gene Eastin 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 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 eleven 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 sixth of eleven 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 the challenges of growth in enrollment. He informed those in attendance that no action would be taken on comments made but rather to listen to what the needs were in Estrella Mountain's service area. .
The Listening Session proceeded as follows:
Estrella Mountain Community College President, Dr. Homero Lopez
Dr. Lopez offered a very sincere welcome to the West Valley to everyone present. He acknowledged the presence of fellow colleagues and several legislators, including Representative Richard Arnold from District 12, Tolleson Mayor Adolfo Gamez, Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh, Avondale Mayor Ron Drake, Avondale Vice Mayor Marie Lopez-Rogers, and Connie Harmsen, CEO of Banner Health. Dr. Lopez acknowledged the excellent work of faculty and staff in helping to bring this event together.
Dr. Lopez introduced a powerpoint presentation of the West Valley and its explosive current growth as well as the phenomenal population projected through the year 2020. It is estimated that EMC will service 25,000 students (both young and retired) 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 with this past initiative the colleges had drawn up a list of projects they wanted to be accomplished.
At Estrella Mountain Community College, funds were devoted to classrooms and labs, a place to hold regional events, a fitness center, and a skills training center. Projects completed were: Montezuma Hall (40,400 s.f.), Remodeling (13,600 s.f.), Fitness Center (9,300 s.f.), Skill Center (28,000 s.f.), and Food Service & Culinary Program (29,300 s.f.). Funds were also used for landscaping, replacement furniture, site infrastructure and utilities.
Joyce Jackson, Director of Institutional Advancement at EMC, introduced the next segment of the listening session in which a member of the community would speak approximately 5 minutes on a particular topic and a panel would then offer their comments on the topic.
Topic 1 - The Dream Continues - What a College Means to a Community
Speaker: Mr. Joseph "Pep" Guzman, Justice of the Peace, Tolleson Justice Court
Mr. Guzman thanked the Members of the Governing Board, Dr. Homero Lopez, and Joyce Jackson for the invitation to be a "voice of the community". As a judge, he's used to having an audience of one but this evening's format is different in that he is the representative of the community. He stated that for many years the West Valley was an unknown secret consisting of cotton fields, an air force base, and a slow paced lifestyle. As commercial growth came, it became time to prepare for changes in government, education, and commerce. Around the time of 1982, it was deemed that the West Valley would be a good site for a community college since land was available. Thus, Estrella Mountain Community College was established. In reflecting back on his own graduation from EMC, he thinks about others who have a desire to attain a college degree in their own environment. On a regional scale, there are many victories celebrated and education must be recognized as a route to success. The message should be to encourage children to stay in school.
Ms. Irene Aguirre, Community Relations Manager, Arizona Public Service
When the community colleges announced that they were going to the West Valley, they declared that they would be involved in the community. The President and staff have exceeded that expectation. EMC makes their facilities available to the public and internships have been started with EMC, such as the one with the Palo Verde Plant and the specialty training by Clay Goodman, the Inspire.Teach Program, the Hispanic Leadership Program, the adult education programs at the Southwest Skills Center, and finally the Nursing Skills Program.
Representative William Arnold - R, Arizona, District 12
Representative Arnold is a Tolleson Union High School graduate but because of funding shortages he dropped out of college but eventually received his degree through the University of Phoenix. He stated that the location of EMS is key to this area of the county as it provides job training opportunities and education for the people in the West Valley.
Mr. Brian Dalke, Economic Development Director, City of Goodyear
Mr. Dalke commented that EMC and the community college district contribute in economic develop efforts and focus on areas that the West Valley is trying to target. EMC also provides training for employees with the City of Goodyear and other employers. He sees a need for seamless training/services for businesses in the West Valley, partnerships with K-8 and K-12, and also working with existing businesses and listening to their needs.
Ms. Marcie Ellis, Executive Director, West Valley Fine Arts Council
As a 40-year resident of the West Valley, she sees the greatest contribution being the respectful environment and staff of EMC. Staff are very supportive of all events. She views the partnership with the Fine Arts Council as being a win-win for everyone and that dreams are becoming a reality. Community involvement provides education both on campus and in the community.
Ms. Marie Lopez-Rogers, Vice Mayor, City of Avondale
Ms. Rogers sees a need for teaching the community about government. EMC has done a lot for education, especially Hispanic students. College is a fearful experience and EMC has strived to help students overcome the fear. They have established partnerships with entities to help everyone succeed. She sees a need to educate residents to see holistic view for students and helping students overcome barriers.
Dr. Elaine Maimon, Provost, ASU West
The greatest contribution has been the partnerships for life-long learners and finding a way to help students develop a vision. The community colleges have provided assistance in helping students transfer to a university. With the Inspire.Teach Program, students start working with a teaching assignment in high school, establish career goals, and then go on to college. The program has been infectious and there are 248 students in this program.
Mr. Reyes Medrano, Jr., Assistant City Manager, City of Tolleson
Mr. Medrano has been associated with the community college district for 35 years because of his father's employment at GCC. He was always told that success was possible and there was no excuse to not finish college. People were conditioned to think that they could not achieve college degree. Because of the support received at EMC he was able to go on to the University of Phoenix and then NAU for his Master's Degree. He stated that it would be helpful to specify a curriculum for companies to help people and students succeed. A public affairs curriculum at EMC should be developed and he also sees a need for a youth leadership training program.
Topic 2 - What Dreams May Come - Challenges of the West Valley
Speaker: Mr. Dustin C. Jones, Esquire, Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P. Law Firm; President, West Valley Fine Arts Council
Mr. Jones stated that it was a pleasure to be a part of this community college organization as he grew up in the West Valley and felt this was where the action currently was. He spoke about his background as the son of a Mormon pioneer mother and an African-American father from Mississippi. Growing up in Glendale, he was exposed to folkloric dancing, English and Spanish speakers and learned Spanish by being exposed to the two languages. By being exposed to college at a young age taking summer courses, he was able to attend the U of A as part of the New Start Region Program. He stated, "the will to win is important but the will to prepare is vital." It is important to have outreach program to high school student and show the way to first generation college attendees.
Mr. Jay Ellingson, Vice President, Palm Valley Development, SunCor
EMC is multifaceted. It is a great equalizer from all economic facets of the population and it has afforded opportunities vital for the future of the West Valley. The diversity at EMC has great energy and vitality. He stated that the regional interest should not be the focus but rather the success of the entire community. There is a need to come together for the vitality of the community. A tapestry exists and the opportunities exist for many individuals in this growing segment of the Valley.
Ms. Debbie Flores, Chief Operating Officer/Administrator, West Valley Emergency Center
Ms. Flores stated that the West Valley Hospital was set to open in September and there is a need for healthcare workers for the West Valley. Right now people must travel 15-18 miles for services. There should be a goal to provide qualified healthcare workers for the West Valley. There are beds but there are no workers. EMC and the hospital need to partner to help eliminate shortages.
Dr. Tom Heck, Superintendent, Litchfield Elementary School District
Dr. Heck indicated that he dreams about how to eliminate the fight between K-12 and the colleges and universities over money and how to finance schools. He dreams that the fight finally stops and they group together to help students succeed. No child should be left behind. Community colleges should help retrain teachers. Seamless transition for students is key in taking excuses away from students.
Senator Richard Miranda-D, Arizona, District 13
Senator Miranda stated that the greatest challenge for the West Valley is education. Arizona has the worst dropout rate in the country and a high teenage pregnancy rate. There is a need for parents to know how to read and write, and also for preschool education for young children. A plan to prevent dropouts should be developed to help young people succeed in school and in life. There is a need to help education women and minorities. EMC should offer course of interest to students and focus on needs of working adults and minority students.
Dr. Margo Oliveras-Seck, Superintendent, Dysart Unified School District
Dr. Seck stated that Dysart's greatest challenge is their growing school district. Seven years ago there 4,300 students and there are now 11,000 students. By 2010 there is estimated to be 30,000 students. The community college system needs to expand west and north to serve the growing population. Funding is a challenge. There is a need to obtain qualified teachers and to improve curriculum to meet educational challenges.
Mr. Keith Watkins, Economic Development Director, Town of Buckeye
Mr. Watkins sees the greatest challenge to be growth management and questions if EMC can handle the population growth expected. He urged management to make tough decision to plan for the future.
Community Speakers (Open Forum)
Daniel Blanco, Student - spoke about how his start at EMC started on his educational journey and subsequent teaching assignment in student life.
Cherylyn Coleman, SW Chamber of Commerce - spoke about how EMC serves as a focal point in the community.
Jason Herb, Hispanic Leadership Forum of the Southwest - spoke about his organization's mission to help student transition from K-12 to college.
Steve Cleveland, Goodyear City Manager - spoke about how the population growth provides a challenge for EMC in the areas of transportation, air quality, access and affordability, diversity evolvement.
Andrea Granillo, Student and NASA Intern - spoke about her successful education at EMC and then ASU. She stressed that EMC lack a good library and the need for books and more engineering classes.
Dixon Dollar, Small Business Development Center - spoke about the great support received from Gilberto Padilla of the Small Business Development Center.
David Houseman, Estrella Rotary Foundation - spoke about the money that will be needed as the population grows to help students attend college.
Gloria Montano, Office of Raul Grijalva - spoke about the support that can be expected from the Congressman's Office.
Tyrone Bilzone, President of Phi Theta Kappa - spoke about how the NASA Program is truly an asset to student education and the need to continue funding for this program.
Connie Harnson, Banner Estrella Healthcare - spoke about the partnership that has been put in place to help provide healthcare education at the community college level.
Napolean Pisano, Arizona Hispanic Community Forum - spoke about his concerns regarding issues in community growth and the change in demographics and the need to prepare for these issues.
Michael Powers, City of Avondale & Adjunct Faculty - spoke about the need for students to be assisted in learning how to make decisions and having teachers emphasize this more.
Jean Mitchell, Nuclear Power Plant employee - spoke about the need for trades training that would support the employee lab and skills training needs for this industry.
Governing Board Member Remarks:
Dr. Don Campbell summarized his comments pertaining to this evening's session by stating that college is a bridge between k-12 and community college system in bringing everyone together. Students needs self confidence and they need jobs that are high wage jobs. There is a strong demand for healthcare workers and education is a future challenge for children and parents.
Linda Rosenthal expressed sincere appreciation for all who came and indicated that she had heard a lot of things this evening. She remembers this community because she represented this community in her early years on the Board and desires to see this college succeed. In tonight's presentations she heard comments pertaining to diversity, growth, and partnerships.
Nancy Stein remarked that she appreciated the openness and honesty of the panelists in expressing the needs for students. Maricopa is not one individual college but an entire group working together. Growth is happening in the West Valley and she sensed the warmth for EMC from the community.
Gene Eastin commented that since the time he was hired in 1963 he often thought that the Maricopa Community College District was the brightest jewel in the community college systems, and Estrella Mountain Community College was the brightest at MCCD. The thing that makes MCCD a jewel in the crown amidst the buildings, labs, technology, structures are the people that make it operate -- PSA, Managers, Administration, M&O. He appreciated very much all that was said, however, he encouraged those present this evening to carry their thoughts with them to the voting booths in the election of November, 2004.
Ed Contreras summarized comments that he heard from the speakers as follows:
- Back in 1993 when he first visited EMC it was in the middle of nowhere, however the West Valley has proven "build and they will come." Tonight he heard about the explosive growth and sees that a sleeping giant was awakened. Once you get that sleeping giant up, they need more and they want same opportunities. They want to grow.
- EM is a magnet for the community and it serves more than a six-mile radius. It provides space for the community - a home away from home. It provides ownership on behalf of the people.
- High school dropout situation will be addressed in the ACE Program.
- Changing demographics will provide a challenge to blend different cultures
The meeting concluded at 9:20 p.m.
Governing Board Secretary