PVCC Faculty and Students Shine on a National Stage

One of the joys as a college president is to see PVCC faculty and students shine on a national stage. Over the past several days at the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) conference in Newport Beach, I’ve witnessed just that.

The Maricopa Community Colleges, as a system, have been designated by NACCE as the Student Engagement Center of practice with much of the impetus for this designation coming from the faculty leadership at PVCC. As a result of this designation, Club Z students have been featured several times throughout the conference, including a session presentation, a booth in the exhibit hall (where our students are selling Club Z shirts), and called upon to make a special presentation at a general session.

Please join me in acknowledging and recognizing Caron Sada, David Bradley, David Pegram, Jon Hayashi, Sheila Beeler, Kishore Dash, and Sean Petty for their engagement and representation at NACCE. A special recognition also to Caron, David, David, Jon, and Sheila for an excellent session presentation. I am appreciative of this faculty leadership in support of student engagement and success.

Also join me in congratulating our students: Matt Granillo, Krista Calderon, Jack Brown, Amanda Cloud, Makil Barnes, and Makylee Barnes for their confident presence and engagement throughout the conference.

Learning is alive at NACCE!

Lessons Learned from Coursera CEO

Greetings All,

Today during a break from the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) board meetings (of which I sit on their national board), I ventured over to the campus of the University of Michigan. My purpose was threefold: a) experience the campus ecology, b) visit their library (as we look to renovate the E Building), and c) get a sense of the students at a Research I institution.

While in the library, I happened on an open, brownbag lunch talk by Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera. The talk was sponsored by Academic Innovation at Michigan (AIM). As you may know, Coursera is an online learning platform offering massive open online courses (MOOCs) currently offering 2,400 courses to over 40 million people. You may not know that Coursera has also moved into offering degrees and certificates in partnership with a number of colleges and universities.

I was pleased to hear Maggioncalda speak highly of the role of the community colleges in terms of being open access and clearly meeting a niche that Research I institutions do not serve. He also shared several compelling observations about teaching and learning – let me paraphrase: “Students first have to want to learn and then they need to realize that they can learn.” “Even with the rise of alternative delivery methods in higher education, students still flock to institutions who signal the value of academic rigor.”  “Leaders need to stop thinking in terms of online versus hybrid versus in-person learning – modalities support the integration of all formats and students are eager consumers in mixed multiple formats.” And lastly “Conceptual and theoretical learning as the foundation remains critically important before moving into skills and application-based learning.”

As an interloper, wearing my PVCC polo colors, sitting among faculty and students in the University of Michigan library, I was reminded that community colleges cannot be left behind when it comes to developing and delivering high quality, academically rigorous, new and innovative ways of learning. Given our open access mission, our students deserve the same access to engaging learning as delivered by Coursera and their higher education partners. And finally, I reflected on a greater appreciation of how hard PVCC faculty and staff are working to innovate, engage, and support students and the learning process.