Maricopa Community Colleges’ Governing Board voted to appoint Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick as Chancellor of one of the largest community college systems in the nation. Harper-Marinick becomes the first female and first Latina ever appointed Chancellor to a higher education institution in Arizona.
“A new era has come to Maricopa Community Colleges as we congratulate Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick on her new role as Chancellor,” said Alfredo Gutierrez, President of the Governing Board. “As the education landscape continues to evolve, Maria’s steady leadership, commitment to lifelong education and stellar reputation at both a local and national level will elevate Maricopa Community College’s standing as an institution dedicated to high achievement and successful student outcomes.”
With a career spanning nearly 25 years at Maricopa Community Colleges, Harper-Marinick has served in several top-level posts, including Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and Interim Chancellor. Taking the reins from the now retired Chancellor Rufus Glasper, she will oversee system-wide operations, which serve 200,000 students and nearly 10,000 faculty and staff members across 10 colleges (Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain), a Corporate College, two skills centers (Maricopa Skill Center, Southwest Skill Center) and several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes.
In addition, as Chancellor, Harper-Marinick sets the vision for the higher educational institution’s strategic plan, guides policy development, and oversees initiatives and outcomes related to workforce, economic and community development; civic and global engagement; and increasing student success.
“There is an unprecedented demand for skilled workers among employers not only here in Arizona, but across the nation, making it vital for higher education institutions to educate, train and prepare the next generation of employees to be workplace-ready,” said Harper-Marinick. “Maricopa Community Colleges continue to deliver an exemplary education that equips students with the foundational skills they need to excel in their careers and in life.”
The appointment of Harper-Marinick, a native of the Dominican Republic, caps off an extensive search conducted by a specially-appointed committee. The Search Committee, co-chaired by Arizona State University President Michael Crow and Maricopa Community Colleges Faculty Association President Salina Bednarek, considered a broad pool of candidates for the Chancellor position.
“The Search Committee took a holistic approach in selecting the next Chancellor,” said Crow. “Dr. Harper-Marinick excelled among the candidates we interviewed and identified as national leaders in terms of understanding the unique and complex education landscape in Arizona, and the need for innovation and collaboration. Her commitment to strengthening the quality of education in Arizona and keen insights on major issues make her perfectly poised to propel Maricopa Community Colleges to the next level.”
Widely known in education circles throughout Arizona, Harper-Marinick has helped shape the face of community college education through her involvement with Expect More Arizona, the Arizona Minority Education Policy Analysis Center, and Arizona Business and Education Coalition. As well, she has been an active member of the Morrison Institute’s Latino Public Policy Center Advisory Board and the Morrison CTE Advisory Board, which is committed to enhancing career technical education. She has also been involved with the Phoenix Thriving Together Leadership Council, and The Global Pathways Institute.
No stranger on the national education stage, Harper-Marinick has been tapped to serve on several education boards and councils, including being appointed to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance by the U.S. Secretary of Education, and the National Community College Hispanic Council. She has also been a vocal participant on the National Advisory Board for the Center for Community College Student Engagement, Educational Testing Service’s National Community College Advisory Council, the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders, the American Association of Community Colleges, the League for Innovation in the Community College, and the Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Harper-Marinick came to Arizona State University as a Fulbright Scholar in 1982 from the Dominican Republic, earning a Master of Education in Instructional Media, as well as a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. She also earned a Licentiate in School Administration and Pedagogy from Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena in the Dominican Republic.