NOVEMBER 20, 2003
An executive session and community listening session of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board was scheduled to be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Sun Cities Lifelong Learning Center in Surprise, 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
ABSENT - Gene Eastin, Member
Ron Etter for Larry Christiansen
Clay Goodman for Homero Lopez
Jim Moore for Corina Gardea
I. EXECUTIVE SESSION
In the temporary absence of President Ed Contreras, Mrs. Rosenthal called the executive session to order at 2:10 p.m. (President Contreras arrived at 2:20 p.m.) The executive session concluded at 2:45 p.m.
II. LISTENING SESSION
President Contreras called the listening session to order at 3:15 p.m. and asked Mrs. Stein to lead everyone in the pledge of allegiance. He commented that because the Governing Board felt it important to maintain dialogue and gather information about the role of the community colleges in the various communities, they were present this afternoon continuing a year-long series of public meetings called Community Listening Sessions. He stated that the Governing Board was pleased to be at the Sun Cities Lifelong Learning Center to hear from those in attendance and know what was being done right, what could be improved upon, and what might be considered for the future. This listening session was tenth in a series of eleven public meetings scheduled through the end of the year on MCCCD college campuses. After all meetings have been held, a comprehensive report will be prepared to report on new directions for the future.
President Contreras introduced members of the Board and Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper.
Dr. Glasper also welcomed everyone present to this session intended to hear what the needs may be in the various communities. Dr. Glasper mentioned that the Maricopa Community College were in the midst of planning for future facility and space needs and it was being projected that about 1.5 million additional square feet was needed to accommodate the projected 8% enrollment increase anticipated. Dr. Glasper also spoke about partnerships that have been entered into, including the one with Arizona State University which will enable simultaneous enrollment and sharing of facilities. He encouraged everyone to take this opportunity to share thoughts on what they see the needs to be for the Sun Cities area.
The Listening Session proceeded as follows:
Rio Salado College President Dr. Linda Thor
President Thor stated that it was a pleasure to have this opportunity to share information with everyone present. Rio Salado is the third largest of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges and it is a strong supporter of life-long learning. The college boasts an enrollment base of 50,000 students in Maricopa County and around the world. Rio Salado provides convenient, flexible and affordable education and also offers dual enrollment with various high schools. President Thor commented that the Rio Sun Cities Lifelong Learning Center was made possible through the 1994 bond and when it opened its doors, it was greeted with open arms by people whose needs were being met. In addition, no homework or tests are required. She spoke about the 1000 member strong Rio Center for Senior Education who are able to join for $35 per year and take advantage of many activities, including hiking, trips, Spanish classes, and computer classes. In addition GED classes are offered which enable student to transfer to the community college of their choice. She stated that a two-story facility is proposed to be built with proposed bond initiative funding. At Luke Air Force Base, there are approximately 200 military members enrolled in Fast Track or distance learning classes. In addition, 800 high school students were enrolled in dual enrollment classes.
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. As the projects were reviewed ten years later and checked off, the results show that what had been accomplished were accessible, affordable education, job training, customized instruction, technical courses and retraining in safe and secure environments.
At the Sun Cities Education Center 5,000 square feet of classroom and office space was constructed, as well as the purchase of furniture, fixtures, infrastructure and utilities. Mr. Diaz commented that as we look to the future, population data from MAG shows much growth is being experienced in the Valley. It is important for people to reflect on what has been done in the past ten years and the growth anticipated in order to determine what may be needed to provide for the educational needs of the communities served by the Maricopa Community Colleges.
Mr. Diaz commented that in view of the fact that the Maricopa Community Colleges had delivered on the past bond initiative as promised, it was hoped this would provide confidence that they would deliver again in the future.
Invited Community Speakers
The Honorable Joan H. Shafer, Mayor, City of Surprise
Ms. Shafer's comments focused on the need to take care of today's youth and their educational needs. Although she recognized that senior citizens enjoyed taking classes, there was a great need for today's young people to be trained as nurses, teachers, firefighters, police, etc. if senior were going to have their needs met in the future. She personally vowed to go door-to-door in support of the bond if a promise was made to support senior and youth.
Mr. Michael J. Dubin, President, Rio Institute for Senior Education
Mr. Dubin indicated he was a former educator with 34 years experience as a high school social studies teacher in New York. He spoke about his commitment to life long learning and to RISE which represents the largest and most dynamic senior citizen organization in the country. He boasted that RISE has seen 3400 people attend individual classes and have now outgrown places to hold their classes and activities.
Lt. Col. Tish Carpenter, Deputy Commander of the 56th Mission Support Group at Luke Air Force Base
Lt. Col Carpenter stated that military bases rely heavily on public and private resources. People in the military are there because of economic circumstances or their interest in military causes. Military bases emphasize training and education as a means to better themselves. With technology changes, personnel need to avail themselves of opportunities to educate themselves at community colleges. She indicated that at any one time 250 people may be enrolled in any of 18 different classes. This education provides them with opportunities to transition into former communities or new ones after they are discharged.
Mr. Frank L. Cummins, Vice President of Human Resources, Sun Health Corporation
Mr. Cummins spoke about the educational needs of Sun Health Corporation, with its 4,000 employees and 4,000 volunteers. They hired 900 people in 2002 of which a large percentage require education beyond high school. As the West Valley grows, so will Sun Health's nursing needs. The shortage of nurses in Arizona is expected to rise from 6% in 2000 to 29% in 2020. With the population of Arizona aging and fewer people going into nursing, Arizona has a very high vacancy rate in the nursing fields. If something isn't done, we will have severe problems. Mr. Cummins encouraged Rio Salado College to continue doing what it is doing with medical training only more of it.
Open Forum Speakers
Mr. Smith expressed his appreciation to Rio Salado College for the opportunity to continue his teaching career as an adjunct faculty member at Luke AFB. He also expressed appreciation for the dedication and effort to make education a possibility in the West Valley.
Ms. Brazones commented that as the ESL/GED Instructor for Rio Sun Cities, she instructed a wide variety of students and the facility was now in need of bigger classrooms. There are always people on the waiting list and at this point this number is at 50.
Ms. Secord is known as "Mrs. Rio Salado" because she has taught for RIO for 25 years. She moved to Sun City three years ago and was instrumental in starting the "Never To Late GED Program", as well as the New Mature Women's Development Program. It is her desire to never retire from teaching and especially from learning.
Mr. Temes introduced two students from his ESL Program. They were:
Dora Hairston - commented that she was a one-year student and appreciated the opportunity to learn English and interact with people from all over the world.
Teresa Rodriguez Mendez - commented that she also has been a student for one year now and appreciates being able to learn English with other students and help each other. She is now able to communicate better with others in school and in the community.
Mr. Goldman is a resident of Sun City West and also a teacher from the RISE Program.
He is currently teaching a public relations class which has 40 students.
Ms. Rielly is coordinator of the RISE Program. On behalf of RISE students, she wanted to take this opportunity to thank Rio Salado for providing the opportunity to conduct classes. They have 800 members and offer 200 classes in the Fall, Spring and Summer. The challenge they have now is that they have 475 people on a wait list who want to sign up for classes. Lack of space is a real issue.
Ms. Neidoff indicated that she has started attending the RISE Program and feels like a
young kid in school. She appreciates the opportunity tremendously.
Ms. Noterman worked 34 years as a flight attendant and trainer. After the 9-11 downsizings, she had to recareer and is now working as a computer lab coordinator for Rio. She is also enrolled in distance learning classes and at the learning center.
Mr. Brechner serves as a facilitator for RISE and is experiencing a different aspect of the education process. He sees many areas of expertise in the community and would like to encourage individuals to share their experiences with others.
Ms. Orsi recommended using the many talents hidden by RISE participants. RISE is a pearl in the desert. She stated that space is an issue and encourages passage of the bond.
Ms. Vance shared that she has attended RISE classes for the last 1-½ years.
Mr. Nelson told everyone that he was 83 years old and was finally pursuing his GED. He told of how when he was a senior in high school his parents moved and he was prevented from getting his high school diploma. He came from a long-line of bricklayers and this is what he started doing. Even after a successful career in building and manufacturing management, he always felt that this diploma was a missing element in his life so he decided to attain it in his recent retirement years.
Governing Board Member Remarks:
Dr. Don Campbell commented that he heard a need for more space and a concern for younger people. He heard that younger people will be moving into retirement communities to keep the economy going. He also heard about the nursing shortage and other professions which will necessitate the need for passage of the bond.
Linda Rosenthal expressed that she was very pleased with the growth of the RISE Program. She commented that she heard about the needs for younger people and hopes that the presidents heard these things as well. Passage of the 2004 bond will mean increased taxes and increased services.
Nancy Stein thanked everyone for coming to the listening session and expressing their opinions honestly. In people's comments this afternoon, she heard about the growth being experienced and the needs for additional space. She stated that the Maricopa Community Colleges was not one individual but rather many individuals who are here to serve many people.
Ed Contreras stated that he was both discouraged and astonished. As he started to think about retirement, he was discouraged because his thoughts about what retirement is like is not what he heard this afternoon. He expected to hear certain things but heard other things. Retirees are thinking about youth and their needs for education. He also heard the need for further expansion, further education, nursing shortages, and space shortages. He expressed appreciation to everyone for attending and expressing their opinions about the needs of their community.
The meeting concluded at 4:53 p.m.
Linda B. Rosenthal
Governing Board Secretary