Positive Anticipation – The Beginning of Fall 2021 Semester

As we begin Fall Semester 2021, I wanted to take this moment to wish you well and again offer my thanks and gratitude for the hard work each of you have done in preparation to “bring learning alive” for our students – for some this will be their first experience in college.

I ask you to pause and recollect your first day in college and given the current circumstances with the continued challenges around COVID-19 perhaps reflect on the extra angst our students may be experiencing. Let’s wow them with the Puma Commitment – engaging, challenging, supporting and caring. I am very excited for the 2021-2022 student experience at PVCC built around our Guided Pathways and Fields of Interest – surely our success and completion levels will continue to increase.

As we greet our students this week, let’s also remind ourselves that at PVCC, learning is a means to greater ends. As a reminder that our students are starting or continuing on a journey towards future opportunities, refresh on all the accomplishments and successes of our alumni.

We are prepared to “expect the unexpected” throughout the fall semester and will ensure that there is a safe learning and working environment.

Take care and stay well.

College Update 2021-2022

As we prepare for fall 2021  (Learning Week and Convocation) and more importantly the return of our students, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide several general updates and comments regarding what is new for 2021-2022. My thanks to all who attended today’s convocation where we went “Back to the Future” to create community and affirm with intent and purpose our student success goals for the year. 

As I noted at the outset of the Futures work last spring, “…returning to the status quo of Fall 2019 is not an option…” As we collectively lead through and beyond the pandemic, an organization growth mindset continues to drive the question “What are we doing differently this academic year and how will these changes positively impact student learning and success?” Below please find several highlights that will assuredly impact this academic year:

  • Deployment of a dynamic, multi modality schedule of classes to meet the needs of our students including in-person, live online, asynchronous online and various forms of hybrid course options. It is imperative that we continue to create and deliver an immersive student experience and provide faculty professional development support to ensure the highest levels of student engagement.

 

  • Positioning of academic affairs to enhance our general education programs and dramatically expand our footprint in the workforce development space. Permanent funding has been allocated to support two dean roles to lead career and technical education and liberal arts and sciences. I am pleased that Dr. Sandra Hinski will be leading our CTE efforts and Dr. Jamie Martin has joined us as our new interim Dean of Academic Affairs for Liberal Arts and Sciences.

 

  • Enhancing and strengthening the college’s Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning function with the hiring of Dr. Jeff Hoyt as our new Associate Vice President and the addition of Dr. Carolyn Miller to the team. Along with the support from Sara Michalski and a soon-to-be-hired data analyst, we are poised to meet all of our IE needs and begin the process to reaffirm our accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. 

 

  • With the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Miller as Dean of Student Affairs, we now have the capacity to expand our collaborative work  to accelerate efforts to improve student persistence, retention and success. As we redefine the student experience through and beyond the pandemic, the work of Guided Pathways inclusive of the full implementation of Fields of Interest and case management academic advising is critical.   

 

  • Under the leadership of the PVCC IT team, during the summer, all Q-bldg instructional technologies were updated, including four classrooms optimized for multi-modal instructional delivery. These new spaces have been designed to provide premium live-online course instruction (motion tracking cameras, ceiling-mounted microphones, secondary LCD displays), but could also be used as an enhanced environment to prerecord materials for synchronous or asynchronous instruction or labs. These first rooms are just the beginning, and IT is working to deliver this experience at scale. Planning has begun to integrate these new technologies into an additional 85 classrooms across both the Union Hills and Black Mountain campuses. 

 

  • To expand programming at Black Mountain, the implementation of a dual leadership model pairing professor Michelle Carter with Brenna Stein. Short term goals include: increasing course and program offerings, furthering community partnerships, and adding, where appropriate Maricopa college collaborative programs. 

 

  • Leveraging approximately  $12.6m in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) allocation to support student aid and institutional recovery needs. Through the allocation to date, we have substantially enhanced our IT capacities to meet the needs of virtual learning, expanded our laptop and hotspot programs to address the “digital divide,” and offset significant operational costs associated with the pandemic. 

 

  • Securing $5m from the District to address much needed renovations in KSC and E Buildings to accommodate services that support academic and student support as well as roadway infrastructure needs at the Black Mountain campus.

 

  • Providing full time reassigned time to professor Lynn McClelland to lead our efforts to re-imagine our approach to the Center for Teaching and Learning inclusive of the long-term success and function of Employee and Organizational Learning under the leadership of Michaelle Shadburne. 

 

  • Identified tri-chairs to provide leadership for the HLC Open Pathways Quality Assurance reaffirmation process for our next comprehensive visit in 2024/25 – Dr. Doug Berry, Dr. Jana Schwartz, and Dr. Kaitlin Southerly.

 

  • Realignment of Associate Dean Loretta Mondragon’s role within Administrative  Services to provide operational leadership across all of the college divisions including major renovations and construction. 
  • Added resources to establish a fully comprehensive Curriculum and Scheduling Office with the hiring of Ms. Kelly Quick and a pending additional hire.

 

During this last year, during times of leadership transition and the need to address emerging and critical issues, please join me in thanking Dr. Chris Scinto, Professor Sean Petty, Dr. Keith Kelly, Ms. Ellen Hedlund, Dr. Versha Anderson, and Ms. Lori Espinoza  for accepting additional responsibilities.

We will continue to advance the recommendations of the Futures and TACT reports as we move through the 2021-2022 academic year. It is clear that innovation and risk taking need to be further integrated into the cultural and leadership fabric of PVCC. 

I am looking forward to a successful academic year.