Maricopa Community Colleges’ newly appointed chancellor is set on leading the community college system forward in a sustainable way as the system faces financial challenges.

State aide for the community college district was cut in this year’s budget, as Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick takes over the community college district as chancellor after Rufus Glasper’s retirement.

The community college system will continue to strive forward with its commitment to provide education to anyone who wants it, Harper-Marinick said at a Tuesday reception.

Despite funding issues, the community college system has an optimistic eye on the future.

Maricopa Community College
Maricopa Community College Board Member Alfredo Gutierrez explains how Harper-Marinick is the right person for the job to face the college system’s funding challenges (Photo by Shannon Finn, AZ Big Media)

“I’m absolutely convinced we chose the right person, for the challenges we face,” said former Arizona Senator Alfredo Gutierrez on Harper-Marinick’s appointment.

Gutierrez, a Maricopa Community College board member, mentioned there has never been a time when the community college system has been put in peril.

Harper-Marinick plans to connect with the state legislature in a different way by helping them understand what the community college district does.

She said one of most important roles for the state’s future is providing businesses with skilled employees, and the community college system is here to provide just that. Many folks go into the community college system to finish their GED, prepare for immediate entry into the workforce or to get ready for a university education in an affordable way.

But working with the legislature isn’t all she has planned. The college system needs to look into new partnerships with the business community in order to better provide a skilled workforce for the state, she said.

The school system also hopes to be more entrepreneurial in the future by looking at innovative ways to make more resources available for the district, she added.

Whatever we do, we need to make sure that access (to Maricopa Community College) is not denied to anybody because we do not have the resources,” Harper-Marinick said.