Tag Archives: Rio Salado College

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Bill Gates Visits Rio Salado College

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and other leaders from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation visited Rio Salado College on Thursday, Nov. 6 for a progress report on a student success program called RioAchieve, which is being developed by the college and supported by the foundation.

Maricopa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper and Rio Salado President Dr. Chris Bustamante were among the key leaders from the District and college to greet Gates and foundation leadership.

“Having met with Bill Gates and members of his staff during their visit to Rio Salado College, I’m delighted that he and the Gates Foundation value their relationship with us so much that they personally visited Rio to see the college’s programs dedicated to student success,” said Glasper.
“It is not every day that Bill Gates pays you a visit,” said Bustamante. “This was a chance for us to give him a first-hand account about the innovative work we’re doing at the college and what we’ve been able to accomplish through RioAchieve.”

The foundation leadership team included CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann, President of U.S. Programs Allan C. Golston, U.S. Director of Education of Postsecondary Success Daniel Greenstein, U.S. Deputy Director of Postsecondary Success Suzanne Walsh, and U.S. Program Officer of Postsecondary Success Art Seavey.

Gates and the foundation leaders attended meetings with Rio Salado and MCCD leadership, members of the President’s Advisory Board, Rio Salado faculty, staff and students who are benefiting from RioAchieve. They also had a chance to see demonstrations of RioAchieve initiatives at work and learn what progress is being made in their use and development.

RioAchieve is funded by a $ $970,000 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant, which was awarded to Rio Salado in October 2012. NGLC is a partnership led by EDUCAUSE, which is primarily funded by & Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. RioAchieve is designed to target five specific interventions that support student success, retention, and completion– supported through technological innovations that allow them to be delivered in a scalable, sustainable manner. They are as follows:

1. RioCompass, an online interface that gives students a way to monitor their progress toward degree completion, access valuable student success resources and communicate with a dedicated advisor, who can in-turn use the system to get a holistic view of student progress by having access to their course enrollments, degree plan, requests for help records, use of tutoring, placement scores and more.

2. The Intervention Dashboard, Guided Intervention and Response (GIvR) collects data from several areas of the college and then automatically alerts appropriate staff to implement an intervention. The data includes activities such as calls for technology support, grades and instructor notes.

3. RioPACE (Progress and Course Engagement) is a predictive analytics system, which tracks student login frequency, site engagement and progress in a course and compares this data to behaviors of successful students to determine probability of student success.

4. The Guided Evaluation Assessment Response (GEAR) is a technology-based, faculty-developed solution that assists faculty in providing customized, personalized, detailed feedback to students on their assessments.

5. The Student Success Helpdesk is staffed with a Student Success Coordinator, dedicated advisors, and RioAchieve peer mentors—who are current students. The advisors regularly reach out to assigned students to monitor course and degree progress, ensure students are enrolled in the correct courses, assist with future enrollments and answer student questions. Mentors provide study tips, help students navigate student services and provide ongoing encouragement.

A luncheon was hosted with RioAchieve peer mentors and students who shared how their interactions and encouragement from advisors, faculty and staff have helped them persist in working toward their educational goals.

RioAchieve student Shawn Lee from Winslow, AZ attended the luncheon and spoke highly about RioCompass and peer mentors. “I use RioCompass as my guide,” said Lee.  “I look at dashboard every day. It motivates me to go further. It provides a lot of info on where I need to be and what classes I need to take.”

Lee, who is pursuing a program of study in addiction and substance use disorders, also spoke at length about how positive his educational journey has been. “Rio has opened a lot of doors for me,” said Lee. “Working with advisors and peer mentors, they help me achieve my goals and get that quality education.”

RioAchieve student Brenda Moore from Scottsdale, AZ, who is finishing up her first semester, also attended the luncheon. “My advisors are awesome,” said Moore. “They have really been there for me and they took so much time out for me.”

Moore is returning to school after 31 years and studying addiction and substance use disorders. “I am thrilled to be back in school,” said Moore. She’s also benefiting from Rio Salado’s student support services and recommends other students do the same. “Take advantage of the people at Rio,” said Moore. “Go and ask questions. Get the info you need. Applied knowledge is power.”

Among the RioAchieve peer mentors was Samantha Hill, who is also a Rio Salado student. “Although I was a little nervous at first, having the opportunity to meet with Mr. Gates and to express my thoughts and opinions was such an honor,” said Hill.

Hill, who is studying medical radiography, said she and the students had a chance to talk about their backgrounds and the challenges they have faced.  “We also talked about how an online education made it possible for some of us to go to school because driving to class every day is not something we’re all able to do.”

Another topic was the support system of advisors and peer mentors. “As a peer mentor and student, I’m able to relate directly with students I work with and share my experiences with them,” said Hill. “I can help share some of the mistakes I made early on and what I wish I had known first starting out. I believe so many students could benefit from a model like this and by having a peer mentor.”

“Student perspectives are crucial in the development of RioAchieve,” said Bustamante. “We were truly impressed by Mr. Gates’ request to meet with students and were honored to help bring them together today.”

health.education

New Surprise College Spotlights Health Information

The College of St. Scholastica has opened its first venue in Arizona at the Communiversity @ Surprise, a higher education center at 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza in Surprise.

The Communiversity, which opened in 2009, is a partnership among six schools: Glendale Community College, Phoenix College, and Rio Salado College (all part of the Maricopa Community College System), Ottawa University, Northern Arizona University and now St. Scholastica. In addition to its new site in Surprise, St. Scholastica operates eight other U.S. locations as well a virtual campus, with a total enrollment of more than 4,200 students.

St. Scholastica’s initial programs in Surprise are online and include its Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Health Information Management, and a Master of Science in Health Informatics. St. Scholastica’s health information management program has been a national leader since it began in 1934 as the first such degree program in the nation. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which also accredits Arizona institutions of higher learning.

Each of the College’s online programs in Surprise provides in-person support for admissions, financial aid and advising from St. Scholastica and Communiversity staff.
“St. Scholastica provides a new pathway to baccalaureate and graduate degrees for students currently enrolled at the Communiversity, and more broadly the Maricopa Community College system,” said St. Scholastica President Larry Goodwin. “Our goal is to offer innovative higher educational opportunities for students in Surprise and the entire West Valley.”

St. Scholastica will also utilize space in the Communiversity to deliver professional development sessions so healthcare professionals can take advantage of the College’s expertise in healthcare, and earn continuing education credits.

The College of St. Scholastica is a 102-year-old independent private college in the Catholic Benedictine tradition with its main campus in Duluth, Minnesota. St. Scholastica is regularly recognized for the quality of its academic programs. The 2014 “America’s Best Colleges” survey by U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks St. Scholastica in the top tier of Midwestern universities. For more information, call 623-694-0984 or visit www.css.edu.

asu skysong collaborates with Taiwan's ITRI

Crow explores potential of new educational technologies

Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow is among more than a dozen leaders from a diverse group of colleges and universities examining the disruptive potential of new educational technologies, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), to boost the number of Americans earning a college degree. The launch of the Presidential Innovation Lab was announced recently by the American Council on Education, the nation’s largest higher education organization.

“I look forward to helping lead a national dialogue about how newer educational innovations could be used by particularly older, post-traditional students, low-income young adults and other underserved students toward degree completion,” Crow said. “This opportunity aligns directly with our ASU vision as the model for a New American University – measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed.”

According to ACE, the Presidential Innovation Lab will bring together higher education leaders to engage in proactive thinking about this new learning space. The lab is part of a wide-ranging research and evaluation effort examining the academic potential of MOOCs announced by ACE in November 2012.

Initially, the lab will meet July 21-23 at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., an independent, nonprofit research organization that will help guide the work of the university leaders. A second two-day meeting is scheduled for October 2013 in Washington, D.C.

The new think tank of higher education CEOs will consider questions such as how newer educational innovations could be used by students toward degree completion and the potential impact of such innovations on the fundamental design and delivery of instruction. The lab participants also will examine how institutions recognize learning and which financing models underpin all of higher education.

Findings from the lab will be shared with ACE membership, policymakers and the media. Its work is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to Crow, other higher education leaders taking part in the lab include the following:

•           Joseph E. Aoun, president, Northeastern University (Massachusetts)
•           Chris Bustamante, president, Rio Salado College (Arizona)
•           Scott S. Cowen, president, Tulane University (Louisiana)
•           John F. Ebersole, president, Excelsior College (New York)
•           Renu Khator, president, University of Houston, and chancellor, University of Houston System (Texas)
•           Robert W. Mendenhall, president, Western Governors University (Utah)
•           Mohammad H. Qayoumi, president, San Jose State University (California)
•           Vincent Price, provost, University of Pennsylvania
•           L. Rafael Reif, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
•           Kevin P. Reilly, president, University of Wisconsin System
•           Clayton Spencer, president, Bates College (Maine)
•           Linda M. Thor, chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District (California)

Educational Partnership - Maricopa Community Colleges & University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix Forms Educational Partnership With Maricopa Community Colleges

Alliance creates career pathways to address workforce skills gaps

University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest private university and leader in educating today’s working learner, today announced an educational partnership with Maricopa Community Colleges that will provide new educational opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare, business, and hospitality. The new partnership was announced at a special signing ceremony at Rio Salado College.

“This new partnership will provide a transition from associate’s to bachelor’s degree in areas like manufacturing, hospitality and business, where we know we need skilled workers and need them now.”

Through the new partnership, University of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges will work with area business, academic and diversity leaders to identify workforce needs and develop focused curriculum and specific career pathways to meet those area workforce skills gaps. Students will have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree at any Maricopa Community College and then seamlessly transition to a bachelor’ degree program at University of Phoenix.

“We agree with President Obama—community colleges are critical in developing our next generation of skilled workers—and that’s why we continue to invest in these types of partnerships,” said Dr. Bill Pepicello, President, University of Phoenix. “When two education providers like University of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges come together to present education solutions, the benefit to students, employers and the local economy is that much greater.”

As part of the partnership, Maricopa Community College students will have the opportunity to potentially convert prior training and work experience into college credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at University of Phoenix. Through a new University of Phoenix transfer policy, credits earned through an associate’s of arts degree at Maricopa Community Colleges will transfer to University of Phoenix and satisfy general education course requirements so students can immediately begin working towards their bachelor’s degree in their field of study. University of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges will also explore transfer trends to ensure the partnership is meeting local employer demands.

“The Maricopa Community Colleges are committed to helping our students reach their educational goals, and part of that commitment is ensuring that they have as many ways as possible to achieve success,” said Dr. Rufus Glasper, Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges. “This new partnership will provide a transition from associate’s to bachelor’s degree in areas like manufacturing, hospitality and business, where we know we need skilled workers and need them now.”

[stextbox id=”alert” bwidth=”1″ bcolor=”000000″ bgcolor=”e0e0e0″ image=”null”]For more information on this educational partnership go to Maricopa Community Colleges  or University of Phoenix.[/stextbox]

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010

BIG Green Awards: Commercial Green Building Award

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

An in-depth glance of the winning real estate projects is listed below, followed by a list of the additional winners and finalists.

Commercial Green Building Award

Winner: Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Owner: Museum of Northern Arizona
General Contractor: Kinney Construction Services
Architect: Roberts | Jones and Associates
Completed: June 2009

Recognized for being an exemplary public green building, the 17,282-square-foot sustainable repository houses thousands of objects comprising the anthropological, biological and fine art collections of the Flagstaff museum. Architects Jim Roberts of Roberts | Jones and Associates and Project Manager Mike Thomas of Kinney Construction Services (KCS) approached the project with LEED Platinum Certification in mind.

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Green strategies included appropriated solar orientation; exterior walls, key interior walls and floors constructed of high-thermal mass materials; extensive use of insulation; energy efficient heating and cooling systems; energy efficient window systems; extensive green living roof system; water conservation plumbing systems; sustainable landscaping; day-lighting and a 13 kW photovoltaic array roof installation. The Museum of Northern Arizona has a “green power contract,” under which 50 percent of all electricity purchased for the building will come from renewable sources.

The building was constructed of locally manufactured masonry, stone and concrete, produced from locally-extracted materials. Exterior wood siding is reclaimed lumber from a decommissioned railroad trestle in the Great Salt Lake area. Additionally, 78 percent of all construction waste was reused or recycled. All salvageable materials from the demolition of the four existing buildings were recycled or diverted for reuse. The calculated amount of CO2 reduction is approximately 49,970 pounds.

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Finalist: Queen Creek Branch Library

Owner: Town of Queen Creek
General Contractor: CORE Construction
Architect: Dick & Fritsche Design Group
Completed:Nov. 2008

The LEED Gold library is the first municipal building constructed under the Town of Queen Creek’s Green Building Policy. This library represents the successful implementation of the new policy by not only reaching the required minimum LEED Certification, but also by achieving a Gold rating on the same budget. The project achieved a 53 percent energy use reduction according to the ASHRAE 90.1 model. The amounts to a 446,987 kWh per year savings, or almost 10 kWh saved per square foot. That amounts to 321 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in energy savings alone. The project also includes solar reflective roofing, 33 percent water efficiency through low-water-use fixtures and an average of 22 percent recycled content using local materials. More than 80 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Finalist: Lee H. Brown Conservation Learning Center at Reid Park Zoo

Owner: City of Tucson
General Contractor: Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Architect: Swaim Associates Architects
Completed:May 2008

The 10,430-square-foot center in Tucson achieved LEED Platinum and serves as the Tucson Zoological Society’s center for education and community outreach. More than 50 percent of the original structure was recycled, including the site’s bamboo plants, which were integrated into the center’s perimeter fencing and gates, or to feed the zoo’s animals. The facility incorporates both passive and active rainwater harvesting systems, commercial grey water systems, low-water-use fixtures and other alternative and sustainable building materials. The building’s overall energy savings is 75 percent, including the solar water heating system that provides 100 percent of the building’s domestic hot water supply; and photovoltaic arrays that generate 48 percent of the facility’s energy needs. It is the first LEED Platinum project at any zoo or aquarium in the world.


Green Schools Excellence Award K-12

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Winner: Agua Fria Union High School District

Agua Fria UHSD is one of the first districts in the state to apply green concepts to its building program and the classroom. The high school district is recognized as an exemplary piece of efficient design and sustainable best practices.

Green Awards - July/August 2010Milestone celebrations for the district include two LEED-Certified High Schools — Desert Edge High School and Verrado High School, both constructed by Adolfson & Peterson Construction — which were certification firsts for Arizona. These schools’ efforts included infrastructure conservation, curbing heat island effects, night sky and protected ecosystems, and conservation of resources for the state and local community.

The LEED for School pilot program, which encompasses the district’s operations and maintenance, was tested on Agua Fria in order to troubleshoot the program and find areas of refinement by USGBC. Other sustainable practices by the district included ozone depletion, recycling programs, green cleaning and light pollution reduction.

Finalist: Washington Elementary School District

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Washington Elementary School District consists of 32 school campuses with three administrative locations covering 44 square miles. The District serves 24,000 elementary school students, and in spring 2008 the District agreed to benchmark its facilities for energy efficiency. The goal was to conserve 10 percent in electric, natural gas, water and solid waste consumption District-wide over the course of a year. Achieving this goal would save the District $610,000 or more in fiscal year 2009. “Energy Violation Tickets” were used in an effort to remind students and school staff to keep sustainability in mind during daily operations and maintenance. At the end of the year, the District conserved 6.6 million kWh of electricity with a savings of $743,000; natural gas savings of 8,661 therms for $18,340; and solid waste savings of $125,000.


Green Schools Excellence Award Higher Education

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Winner: Arizona State University

Arizona State University was the first higher education institution in the state — as well as the country — to open a School of Sustainability that focuses on educating students about alternative energy, waste reduction, water and land conservation. In 2004, ASU created the Global Institute of Sustainability to serve as a hub for all of the university’s sustainability initiatives in research, education, outreach and business practices.

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010Since 2005, all new university-owned buildings are required to be certified LEED Silver or better. ASU currently has 21 LEED Silver or better certified buildings, including the first Platinum-certified building in Arizona. Additionally, the university’s solar initiative has installed 2.04 MW of photovoltaic power on the Tempe campus so far, with plans for 10 MW of solar power capacity by the end of 2010.

Finalist: Rio Salado College

Green Awards - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010The college has adopted several measures to “think green” and beyond. Rio Salado College’s view of sustainability includes the socio-cultural, environmental and economic dynamics essential to making sustainability bearable, equitable and viable.

During the 2007-2008 academic year, Rio Salado launched a major initiative in support of the global sustainability movement, which included becoming a chapter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In October 2009, Rio Salado College was named a winner of America’s Greenest Campus contest. The winnings were used to develop a community garden for the Sustainable Food Systems Program and the new Cafe @ Rio.

AZRE Magazine July/August 2010