Partnerships help students achieve goals

November 28, 2017 by Anonymous

A new partnership agreement between Northland Pioneer College and Arizona State University will allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as two semesters after earning their NPC degree.

The concurrent enrollment agreement with ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation was reviewed by the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board during their regular monthly meeting in Holbrook on November 21.

Eligible students will begin the ASU concurrent enrollment program the summer before entering NPC’s two-year Associate Degree Nursing program. Through NPC, students will receive hands-on training through classroom, lab and clinical instruction. The upper division ASU courses will be done online.

“This partnership allows our students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) without having to leave the area,” explained Mark Vest, NPC’s vice president for Learning and Student Services. “It also helps local employers who are increasingly desiring to hire BSN-qualified nursing professionals.

The new ASU concurrent enrollment program is expected to begin in the summer of 2018.

Vest also praised the success of the just-concluded Science Foundation of Arizona grant. Originally intended to boost participation in regional science fairs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Kids College classes, extra grant funds were used to stock a van that is now providing STEM instruction throughout Navajo and Apache counties.

Susan “Mad Scientist” Rodriguez with the Navajo County School Superintendent’s Office has used the mobile van to reach 750 parents and kids in the last 3 months. “This mobile van is filling a need for STEM instruction at public schools that have a shortage of lab materials and teachers, or as an additional resource for districts with limited resources,” noted Vest. Teachers interested in having the van visit their school should contact Royce Kincanon, NPC’s corporate and community learning director, 536-6239, or email.

Significant losses of community college dual enrollment qualified instructors at area high schools is impacting NPC’s dual enrollment totals. But overall, the district was one of the few in the state to report an enrollment increase for the fall semester, with Full-Time Student Equivalent (FTSE) numbers up 2 percent. One FTSE is equal to 15 college credits.

“Round Valley High School had dual enrollment 21 FTSE in the fall of 2016. They were unable to hire a qualified teacher for those courses this fall, impacting almost 100 students,” noted Vest. “Show Low had a similar situation, dropping from 73 to 39 FTSE.”

“Many of these students are now coming to our campuses and centers to take classes,” said Vest. The TALON Project, which uses technology to deliver instruction by an NPC faculty member into area high schools, is another factor contributing to the increase. “The TALON delivery model is drawing very positive feedback from school principals, superintendents and students. We are beginning discussions about sustaining the project after the grant ends, through cost-sharing of the technology and the hiring of additional college faculty to meet the demand for courses.”

Arizona Department of Corrections enrollment is at less than half of previous years due to program reductions. Regulation changes have also reduced NPC’s ability to offer College and Career Preparation classes in outlying areas.

In preparing for the upcoming budget cycle, Chief Business Officer Maderia Ellison reviewed some of the budget assumptions that will need to be decided at the board’s December meeting. Those include, an already-approved $2 increase in tuition, employee compensation and benefits to stay competitive in hiring, and to maximize the property tax revenues.

During her review of the first quarter’s revenue and expenses, Ellison noted that property tax receipts were running below last year’s in part due to tax notices being mailed and processed later by the county treasurer’s office. Those amounts are expected to return to normal in the coming months. Expenditures continue to be less than budgeted, due to several unfilled vacancies.

While reviewing the annual report to the governor, board member James Matteson suggested NPC take the lead in working with other governmental agencies and major industries in building a consortium to improve the technology infrastructure serving the two counties. He also recommended starting to “grown our own” to fill technology-related positions, since local salaries for these high-demand positions cannot compete with other areas.

The board honored 2015 graduate Rusty Williams as the Fall 2017 Outstanding Alumnus. Williams, who was severely burned in a traffic accident as a teen, continues to promote lifelong learning and tutors science students at Arizona Western College in Yuma.  | Read more.

In action items, the board:

  • approved the proposed 2019-20 academic calendar to allow coordination with area high school and vocational districts;
  • increased the cash reserve from six to 12 months of the annual operating budget; and
  • set the initial salary range for the new president.

“It has been a banner month for donations and awarding of scholarships,” Betsyann Wilson, executive director of NPC Friends and Family, told the board during her monthly report. In addition to a single $3,000 donation to the unrestricted scholarship fund, a large Navajo rug was also donated to the Pres Winslow Memorial Scholarship. The rug is being auctioned on eBay, with a reserve bid of $5,900. It is currently on display at La Posada in Winslow.

NPC Friends & Family is awarding 24 scholarships for the spring semester, including 8 Fill-the-Gap and 14 Leg-Up grants. “There were 15 applicants for the lone Charles Lisitzsky scholarship for a Native American student,” adds Wilson, plus the Pres Winslow scholarship.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, December 19, at 9:15 a.m. in the Tiponi Community Center on the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. Copies of the agenda will be posted online at least 24 hours in advance.

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