March 6, 2009

Greetings all,

In this edition of “What’s on My Mind,” I will focus on the College vision — the notion of students leaving PVCC and realizing positive social change. In many ways our collective leadership attention to: student success, community building, and bringing learning alive are all means to this greater end or outcome of positive social change.

What is positive social change? Simply put, it is our hope that students will leave PVCC with the academic knowledge, skills, commitment, and desire to make our community, state, country and in some case even the world better places. Recently Paul Golisch shared with me a video clip that really captures the notion of positive social change — take a look (the message begins about 45 seconds into the song) If you want a more academic understanding, see the February 27, 2009 issue of /The Chronicle of Higher Education/ article entitled “Want to Change the World? Here’s How” in which college programs to address hunger, pollution, and AIDS are profiled.

Now let’s make it real for PVCC — Felicia Ramirez and her COM 230 classes just raised over $530 for a number of social causes as part of the learning process; the Emerging Leaders program is working on a significant Earth Day program this year; last year Service Learning was integrated into over 80 classes with over 1,900 students participating http://www.pvc.maricopa.edu/%7Eservlearn/ and countless faculty integrate social, environmental, and justice issues into the day to day classroom experience.

Any time I get the chance, when speaking on campus, I reference the single biggest determinant of student success as the degree to which students are active and engaged learners focusing on educationally purposeful activities. Further, I’ll reference that deep learning is most likely to occur in situations where students can create context, engage in compelling situations, build on topics and issues that are of personal importance, and that occur in social situations. All of these facets are manifested in activities and learning experiences tied to positive social change. By the way, check out Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning to learn more about impactful student learning http://www.myacpa.org/pub/documents/taskforce.pdf

So why is the realization of our collective vision for positive social change really important? At minimum students are afforded the opportunity for deep learning. More importantly, for me it is the very real, heartfelt belief that someday a PVCC student will make a significant difference in solving the world hunger issue, or will provide leadership for Arizona to solve very complex social and economic border issues, or help low income families in our 85310 zip code service area gain affordable housing, or find sustainable alternatives to our reliance on fossil fuels. Think about the quality of life of your children’s children’s children and positive social change takes on a whole new urgency to bring learning alive at PVCC.

Have a great week.

Regards,

Paul Dale, Ed.D.
Interim President

February 19, 2009

Greetings all,

This edition of “What’s on My Mind” will capture a number of random activities that I have had the pleasure to be involved with over the last several weeks. And as always, I’ll try and make a connect to our 2008 – 2009 themes of: leadership for: student success, community building, bringing learning alive, and positive social change.

President’s Advance – approximately 120 PVCC faculty and staff participated in one of two sessions. There were two primary outcomes of the Advance: 1) assist all employees to connect or re-connect to our five Strategic Priorities, and 2) develop greater College level focus on the five priorities as we begin the planning process for FY10. Sue Van Boven and Rick Vaughn did a great job facilitating the World Café sessions. The findings and overall recommendations will be posted soon. Door prizes were won by John Douglass, Marilyn Cristiano, Norma Chandler, Catherin Snyder, Shelle Witten and Gary Smith. Each received a copy of Learning Reconsidered – A Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience. Ask one of them to borrow a copy – it is an amazing summary of what we know to be true about the student learning experience.

PVCC Rocks on Saturday – Last Saturday it was hard to find a parking space in the East lot. In addition to our Saturday classes, a home track meet, home softball double header, home baseball, and the tax assistance program in the Computer Commons were all going on. The Learning Support Center and the Library were also quite busy. My thanks to all of the faculty and staff who keep the College alive on the weekends.

Community Connections – I recently served on the final selection committee for the PVUSD Superintendent search. As many of you know, John Kriekard will be retiring in July and the PVUSD Board announced that Jim Lee, currently one of the associate superintendents has been selected as his successor. PVCC has quite a positive reputation with the teachers, staff and parents of the District. This month I also began my term as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Paradise Valley Hospital. I look forward to learning a lot from the for-profit hospital industry and exploring potential partnerships with PV Hospital.

Teaching and Learning – This past week, I was invited to sit in one of our classes where I got to see, firsthand, active and engaged student learning. What did it look like? Students asked relevant and tough questions; students worked on brief yet connected small group problem solving activities; learning was visual, kinesthetic, and audio; and students knew each other’s names. While I know it is somewhat unusual for this visit, it was one of the most important activities of my week. I’ve also been invited to shadow one of our nursing students in a hospital setting and I look forward to this as well.

PVCC at Black Mountain – a special thanks to Denise Digianfilippo, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs, for her work on the program development of our new site. I’d also like to thank Shirley Green for her operational leadership with our current courses offered at Cactus Shadows High School, and Jackie Askin for her leadership on the construction at the site.

Please join me this weekend in supporting the Third Annual Fine and Performing Arts Student Scholarship Fund raiser – A Tribute to Stevie Wonder. I am sure it will be a great show!

Have a great week.

Regards,
Paul Dale, Ed.D.
Interim President