The Future of PVCC – Leadership Message #1

Editorial Comment – In the spirit of “all-points leadership,” please take the time to read this series of five messages regarding the future of PVCC. The pandemic has created a seminal historic event for community colleges. See this article in the New York Times.

Greetings All,

I trust all of you continue to be well. As access to vaccinations expands to all Arizonans aged sixteen and above, my confidence for a safe and timely further opening up of the college for in-person learning and working continues to grow. Now that the IT shutdown is behind us, it is time to refocus our perspective on our shared future.

This is the first of five short leadership messages addressing the organizational and leadership directions for Paradise Valley Community College as we continue to move through and beyond the pandemic.

As you know, in April of 2020, we commissioned the work of Futures teams with the goal to: Re-imagine the learning experience. Over 50 faculty and staff engaged in the work addressing the problem statement: Ensuring that PVCC is accessible to all students, relevant, organizationally sustained, and thriving while transitioning through and beyond the pandemic.

Like me, I am sure that none of you in your preparation for a career and life-calling as a community college faculty or staff member took a course in leading, learning, working or even living through a pandemic. With that said, regardless of our level of preparation, I am also equally confident that all of us share in the commitment that PVCC has to emerge as a better and more adaptable college – because student learning and success matters most. None of us believe that returning solely to the approaches used in fall 2019 is a viable option.

Last summer, I shared three leadership challenges that we were facing in the midst of the pandemic. Let me briefly recap those:

First, I suggested that the pandemic accelerated the need for us to address “big picture” issues such as the modernization of teaching and learning and confronting timely social justice issues. At the same time, we had to focus on the endless minutiae of operating the college.

Second, I suggested the pandemic dramatically raised the stakes on decision-making to address issues such as:  how to close the technology digital divide, how to close equity gaps, and how to assist our students experiencing unemployment and food insecurities – at the same time, our decision-making focus, by necessity, was on short-term, low-level survival decisions rather than those that mattered most socially over the long term.

Lastly, I suggested that the pandemic was forced upon us (requiring us to immediately pivot and to adopt new work and learning conditions that were invasive) – and we could not compartmentalize the pandemic out of our lives. In the midst of this,  we really could not fully or voluntarily embrace the opportunities that the pandemic presented us in terms of redefining the learning and working environment. The pandemic also showed us that we already had many “tools” in our teaching and learning toolboxes that were not leveraged to full capacity and impact.

Collectively – and I mean all of us – students, faculty, staff, adjunct faculty, part time staff – we are now at the vantage point of owning our future.  We need to capitalize on opportunities that lie ahead of us while supporting each other  – not only ensuring continuity of teaching and learning but further implementing innovations  as recommended by the Futures work. Again, we want to make PVCC accessible, relevant, and thriving moving forward.  You’ll hear more from me soon about what this challenge means to each of us.


District Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) Award of Excellence Winners and Nominees from PVCC.

It is my pleasure to share with you the District Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) Award of Excellence winner and nominees from PVCC. I am so proud of our continued and elevated efforts to address the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals and especially pleased to recognize this year’s DAC winners and nominees. Congratulations and job well done.

PVCC – District Diversity Advisory Committee Award Winners

Drs. Norma Chandler and Versha Anderson – Leadership of  Take Action College Committee (TACT) and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Engagement Committee (DEIE)

From the nomination – Drs. Chandler and Anderson for their leadership to bring about justice and equity at PVCC.  Ever since they started leading the TACT meetings in Summer of 2020 and then with their leadership on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Engagement committee, they have brought about more meaningful discussion and positive changes towards making PVCC a fairer and more just institution.  Dr. Anderson and Dr. Chandler championed Take Action College Team (TACT) in summer 2020. The team was challenged to craft a framework to ensure our campus explicitly and intentionally acknowledges diversity, equity, and inclusion in our policies. This has a positive impact on all current and future employees, students, and community members. 

PVCC Nominees to the District Diversity Advisory Committee Awards

Drs. Stephanie Bjork and Leila Palis – Founding Leaders of the Equity NOW Committee

From the nomination – The mission of the Equity NOW committee is to close opportunity and achievement gaps for our students by collecting and analyzing data, cultivating equity consciousness and awareness on campus, engaging in ongoing review and improvement of college policies and practices, and developing curriculum and support services that are culturally relevant, inclusive, and dynamic. Here is a partial list of their accomplishments: Get to Know Our Evening and Part-time Students handout created and shared; PVCC Employee Resources to Help Students Succeed handout created and shared; Social worker hired; Puma Resources for Students button added to Canvas courses.

Professor Adria Pecora – Artist and Champion of Diversity

From the nomination – Professor Pecora has always been there for me and I believe for students as well. Her commitment to the arts and to her art students and for me as an adjunct faculty member has been without question. Her diversity in knowledge accentuated how she approaches the classroom. Her engagement of the student artist and us adjuncts as professionals at PVCC has proven nothing short of inspirational. Ms. Pecor’s support has always engaged the student artist in production and academic theory including the rights of so many, including women artists and the aged.

Dr. David Pegram, Dr. Caron Sada, Peter Tometi, Sam Fraulino, Dr. Carolyn Miller, Professor Sheila Beeler, Dr. Jon Hayashi, and Bruce McHenry, and for Club Z Calm Talk and Z Connect Collaboration

From the nomination – The Collaboration: 1) created/implemented Calm Talk experiences for several groups so that people with diverse perspectives could understand each other better; 2) awarded two PVCC students with Z Connect funded $500 cash awards for their “creative and action oriented projects” and 3) created and awarded the first Peter Tometi award to augment the Z Connect awards for students who not only submit creative and action oriented projects, but projects that “bring people together.”  For Calm Talk experiences, the diverse groups discussed Politics 2020, Wearing Masks and Addressing Food Insecurity during multiple virtual events and reached students/employees/community members.

Miette Ornelas  and Cynthia Roas – Office of Recruitment

From the nomination – Miette and Cynthia are student employees who demonstrate strong teamwork and communication skills as they work to build a diverse and inclusive student population at PVCC. They provide 100% dedication to their work and team in their roles as student workers. Their good work is representative of staff that are not always recognized, but who do so much on-the-ground work of connecting and informing others about the college and our resources.

Please join me as we celebrate at the Diversity Advisory Council Recognition Event honoring Drs. Norma Chandler and Versha Anderson and the awardees from the other MCCCD colleges, and the District Office. The event will be held virtually:

Friday, April 9, 2021 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. LINK: