Governing Board Address 11/23/21

Good evening, everyone.

When we talk about the District’s mission, we typically focus on our primary goal of serving the students, but we actually exist in service to the entire community. When we’re doing our job right, the whole community benefits from us and recognizes our value. While Maricopa County has always appreciated the work we do, our faculty and staff wanted to do even more for the community we serve.

So, we did. State law requires us to adopt a plan to increase student voter registration and turnout. We put our plan into action and in the 2020 election cycle, we showed double-digit percentage growth in civic participation. This achievement was recognized by All-In Campus Democracy who awarded half of our colleges bronze or silver seals for our 2020 student voter turnout. They also gave out just three “voter-friendly college” designations across all of Arizona, and Maricopa colleges earned two of those.

Now while voting is a great start, our faculty and staff didn’t settle for just helping our students to vote — they wanted to help our students to fully engage with the community. Around the District, we have many pockets of innovation working to make that happen. As just one example, take the District’s Student Public Policy Forum: here, faculty and staff bring together students interested in leadership for an academic program to introduce them to policymaking at the local, state, and national level. The program focuses on experiential learning and leadership development through engagement in the political process. One classroom assignment for the program is to find a problem in your community and propose a solution for it. Two of the program’s students, MCC’s Manuel Valenzuela and Phoenix College’s Holly Tourville, chose as their problem the lack of four-year degrees for underserved industries. (Remember that one?) Well, with instruction from faculty, coordination from staff, and advice from both, these two students lobbied individual state legislators on the issue, using their own personal experiences as launching points for deep (and influential!) conversations. As we all know, the state legislature handed us a major victory this year when they voted to allow us to begin providing four-year degrees. In fairness, it would be wildly unrealistic to credit any one person — or even any one group — with that victory, since it had a thousand parents, but Mr. Valenzuela and Ms. Tourville definitely share some of the credit. This example showcases the power of these civic engagement efforts: by teaching students to be influential leaders and then helping them connect with the community at large, wonderful things happen for the students, for the community, and for the District. It’s a win-win-win situation.

The Student Public Policy Forum is just one of the dozens of innovative efforts scattered around the District that promote civic engagement and service learning. The ten colleges have incubated some fantastic programs, but without a districtwide support structure, we haven’t been able to scale them up. Maricopa needs a “base of operations” where the assorted proponents of civic engagement could gather to exchange ideas, support each other…and broaden their successes. Last year, Chancellor Gonzales created just such a civic engagement clearinghouse when he established our new Center for Excellence. Under the leadership of the Program Director for Workforce and Economic Development, Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo, and Glendale History professor John Coughlin, the Center for Excellence seeks to integrate Maricopa’s work around democracy, shared governance, academic freedom, and DEI. By embedding America’s democratic principles into our District at the systemic level, the Center for Excellence is the perfect structure to weave all of our District’s individual threads of civic engagement into a unified tapestry of community service. I’m hopeful that the Center for Excellence will elevate all of our civic engagement efforts to the next level, and ultimately make our service to our community so clear and so important that if anyone ever asks if we provide value to the community, the community itself will answer with a resounding “yes.”

Thank you for your time, and on a personal note, please let me wish you all a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday with your families and friends.

Governing Board Address 10/25/22

No Tricks, All Treats: Faculty and Enrollment Support

Good evening President Sullivan, Governing Board members, Chancellor Gonzales, colleagues, guests, and in particular to Glendale’s new interim President, Dr. Ernie Lara.  Dr. Lara, the faculty appreciate your service and look forward to working with you!

Tonight, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss the vital topic of enrollment and retention. We are all aware of the challenges we face with respect to bringing students back after the pandemic. Our colleges and District have been working on efforts designed to recruit and support students, and the work has appropriately focused resources and prioritized efforts in the offices of enrollment services, advising, and marketing.  However, these offices are not alone in their efforts. In addition to offering instructional excellence and quality curriculum in the classroom, faculty are working to support enrollment through outreach and retention efforts on campus and with our community partners in many disciplines and programs. 

Through outreach, faculty help to introduce students to the opportunities that are available to them in the Maricopa Community Colleges. For example, this fall at Paradise Valley, faculty in the fine and performing arts–music, dance, and theatre–are actively recruiting through work at their local high schools.  PVCC Music faculty are visiting feeder high school music programs weekly, Theatre faculty are inviting high school students to college events such as the 1st Annual PVCC Theatre Day, and faculty are jointly hosting performances and competitions such as the Quarterfinals of Alice Cooper’s “Proof Is in the Pudding” Music and Dance Competition. Additionally, PVCC faculty are working with their community partners to attract potential students to healthcare programs. In September, Nursing faculty and members of the PVCC Student Nurses Association represented PVCC at the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences career fair for high school students.   Nursing students collaborated with Mayo educators to demonstrate nursing skills, answer questions, and provide brochures for EMT, Paramedicine, CNA, and Registered Nurse programs for the estimated 500 high school attendees. 

We know that enrollment efforts should not ONLY focus on recruiting new students but should also include work to support student retention, which aligns to our goals of increasing student completion and success.  Faculty across MCCCD employ unique strategies to support student retention and completion both in and out of the classroom:

  • At SCC, service learning coordinators offer the “SCC – Social Cause Connection.” This new event has been designed to connect students to what they are learning in the classroom, to their peers across disciplines, to social issues that impact our communities, and to ways they can get involved. In its fall 2022 debut, hundreds of students attended the event. Nearly every student volunteered to participate in one of SCC’s on-site service learning sessions, where, for example, they could pack seeds to fight hunger, write letters to isolated senior citizens, or learn how to dispose of waste. The only suggestion for improvement was that students want more, as the sessions became “standing room only” events. SCC Service Learning coordinators intend to oblige.
  • At Mesa Community College, Biology faculty have piloted two new support programs to support retention. 
    • In spring 2021, Biology faculty added Embedded peer tutors to 3 key BIO classes. The Embedded tutors offer tailored support options to students, such as extended office hours and weekly discussion boards with recorded videos addressing the “tough topic of the week.” 
    • In Fall 2022, faculty developed new Biology Boot Camps for BIO 181 and BIO 201 students. Faculty acted on data that revealed students struggle with basic time management skills, poor study techniques, and high levels of anxiety.  The goal of the Biology Boot camps is a focus on these topics to support student persistence and success.
  • Finally, at Estrella Mountain, faculty are engaging in research to ask students what they need in order to succeed and then to align those responses to interventions  Over 1000 students were surveyed and over 50 students participated in focus groups conducted by EMCC’s Student Engagement Research Team. The research results led to the current phase of MCLI Horizon Grant funded interventions that focus on increasing engagement, increasing sense of belonging, and supporting more effective dissemination of campus resource information to all students. 

While tonight I have focused on specific colleges and programs, faculty across all of our colleges contribute to similar efforts. Faculty show their commitment to the promise of education every day through their work in and out of the classroom.  We are proud to be partners in the work to support enrollment and retention for the sake of our students, our institution, and our communities.

Thank you for your time.  

(And because it’s the end of October, we’ve brought treats.  Happy Halloween!)

Faculty Association Midterm Update

Greetings, colleagues.

It is just past the eighth week of classes, which means we are half of the way through Fall 2022.  At this midpoint of the semester I want to provide some updates about the current priorities of your faculty leadership.

Supervision Pay Model

I am writing first to say thank you for your patience and grace as we continue to address the implementation challenges with the supervision pay model contained in the 2022-2023 Faculty Agreement.  Faculty Association leadership is aware that the current model presents challenges on multiple fronts, including but not limited to issues: for counseling faculty now supervising FYE, for small divisions or departments at large colleges, for chairs who teach in programs with few residential faculty and who have challenges in hiring adjuncts, for programs that have specific accreditation or credentialing requirements, and for colleges that have historically calculated stipends outside of load limits.

Please be assured that addressing these challenges is a top priority for the new Residential Faculty Administration Collaboration Team (Residential FACT) and the 25 Load Task Force, a subcommittee of the Residential FACT. We have heard the concerns shared by faculty and we are working to address them through the policy development structures which are part of the new Faculty Agreement.  The goals are to complete the work of the 25 Load Task Force in early November and to share recommendations with Residential FACT, who will then share with faculty and administration stakeholders.

Faculty Minimum Hiring Qualifications (FMHQ)

Faculty leadership is working with college leadership and the offices of the Provost, Human Resources, and the CCTA to address current issues surrounding minimum qualifications for faculty in academic and occupational Faculty Service Areas.  We support the process to document FMHQ that meet accreditation requirements.  We are committed to advocating for resources to support faculty who will need to meet the established qualifications.  You can expect regular communication about the processes and our efforts in the coming months.

Additional Priorities

In addition to the priority work surrounding supervision pay and FMHQ, the Faculty Association is providing leadership and critical perspective in the areas of Strategic Planning, the Advisory Budget Council, and the Compensation Advisory Council.  We are co-chairing and well represented on the Executive and Vice Chancellor Provost search.  We continue to meet with District Leadership through scheduled (monthly or twice monthly with District HR, District IT, District Legal, College Presidents, the Provost, and the Chancellor) and impromptu (as situations arise) meetings to share faculty concerns and questions brought to FEC from college Faculty Senates.  We are also sharing the concerns and expertise of faculty with respect to enrollment challenges, technology and system difficulties, and the barriers that students face in retention and completion.

Please continue to share information with your local senate leadership that will help us to represent you.  All faculty obviously cannot serve on every District committee, so the primary way to engage issues is through participation and engagement with your local college Faculty Senate.  We are grateful to college faculty leaders for their work on FEC to represent their faculty colleagues.

Thank you for all that you do for students and our communities.  And thank you for your continued support of the Faculty Association.  We are stronger when we all stand together.


Governing Board Address 8/23/22

Good evening President Sullivan, Governing Board members, Chancellor Gonzales, CEC members, Colleagues, and Guests.

A specific warm welcome from the Faculty to our new Presidents–Dr. Tammy Robinson from Mesa and Dr. Tiffany Hunter from Paradise Valley–and also to our “kinda new” presidents, Dr. Kimberly Britt from Phoenix  and Dr. Eric Leshinskie from Scottsdale.  We look forward to working with all of you!

I want to provide just a few brief updates about faculty work since June:

  • First, this summer was BUSY, and that’s good news: 
    • Faculty leadership is grateful for a hectic summer that was due in no small part to flourishing shared governance.  We appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues at the colleges and District, from serving on hiring committees and implementation task forces to leading and supporting the work on Strategic Planning, Bachelor’s Degrees, and the 4DX Initiative.   It is an exciting time to be a partner in MCCCD.
    • Residential Faculty were also busy this summer teaching, providing library and counseling services, and working on curriculum to support students. For example, Business faculty in Maricopa worked with the Arizona Department of Real Estate to secure approval of the courses in the new Commercial Real Estate CCL as Continuing Education Credits.  This allows realtors in our communities to turn to Maricopa for some of the 24 CEU credits required each year to maintain their credentials. Counseling Faculty expeditiously worked to ensure an efficient and inclusive rollout of FYE courses to begin this semester.  We are all grateful for their continued work to support students and the faculty teaching the courses.
  • Now that summer has ended (despite what the weather suggests), Residential faculty are back in full force for Fall 2022.  There is nothing quite like the promise, energy, and excitement that a new academic year brings, and we can feel that on every campus this week as faculty meet students where they are: 
    • Faculty are teaching classes in all modalities: online, hybrid, and in person. Faculty have been flexible in order to meet enrollment demands, adjusting courses and schedules to meet student preferences.
    • Faculty are offering classes in weekend, 6 week, 8 week, 10 week, 14 week and 16 week formats, ensuring we serve students who benefit from both traditional and accelerated learning formats and opportunities.
    • Finally, faculty are teaching the new First Year Experience courses and participating in Fields of Interest and Guided Pathways activities, supporting students as they explore career options, determine their goals, and pursue the pathways that prepare them for their desired transfer program or employment.

It feels good to be back on our campuses again serving our students and communities, and it feels good to be back in person for Governing Board meetings. May we all have a wonderful and productive academic year. 

Thank you and good evening!


Welcome Back


Welcome Back!! I hope you had a wonderful summer and are ready and excited to begin Fall 2022.

This summer has given me, as Faculty Association President, optimism for the coming year.  In July, I reached out to the Provost’s office when we discovered that the Faculty Agreement presented to the Governing Board for approval was not the version ratified by the Faculty Executive Council (FEC). The Provost’s office immediately scheduled a meeting with faculty and administration leadership, and within a week we had a plan to make things right and respect the ratification process, restoring the FA ratified by faculty.  The plan was based on consensus of those assembled and in the confidence that our Governing Board would support this necessary work.

This approach would have been unthinkable a little over four years ago when the Governing Board (under Laurin Hendrix) abolished Meet and Confer, tore up the RFP, and gutted shared governance in Maricopa.

It’s tempting to call MCCCD’s return to shared governance and respect for faculty “miraculous,” but there were no miracles involved in creating the situation we have today.  The current shared governance in MCCCD is the result of commitment, vision, and hard work on the part of our Faculty Association and FEC, and the support and engagement of the faculty in Maricopa.  When the worst we’d experienced happened, we didn’t buckle.  We rallied and worked together to confront the attacks and the attackers, to gather the backing of local and national organizations, and to support Governing Board candidates and MCCCD administrators who value education, teaching and learning, and shared governance. It took effort – late nights, long meetings, tireless canvassing, and lots of resources – but we prevailed.

Today we enjoy the fruits of that effort.  Some examples of our work in shared governance  include:

  • Faculty once again are participants on the Chancellor’s Executive Council, and FEC is a Senior Council providing leadership in the system.
  • Faculty are rightfully co- and tri-chairing important hiring committees, including those for college presidents, the Office of General Counsel, and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.
  • A faculty member is a tri-chair on the Advisory Budget Committee, ensuring transparency and collaborative leadership with respect to the budget in Maricopa.
  • The Committee on Academic Freedom, the Center for Excellence and Integrated Democracy, and the new FACT team have been structured based upon faculty input and leadership.
  • The Governing Board has for each of the last two years approved the recommended salary increases outlined in the Employee Compensation Philosophy, and faculty continue to be participants in the work toward sustainable and predictable salary progression in Maricopa.

So what is the next step if we are no longer fighting for shared governance?  What we have is certainly not finished or perfect, but what is our best path forward now that we are working to develop, nurture, and maintain shared governance?

The short answer is that we are stronger when we all stand together. The strength of the Faculty Association comes from its members.  When more of us stand together by joining the Faculty Association, it gives greater weight to our participation in shared governance.  Higher membership also gives us the resources we need to advocate effectively in MCCCD and the legislature, ensuring continued benefits for faculty and our organization.

The majority of Maricopa’s faculty are already members of the Faculty Association. Thank you sincerely for your support!  If you have not had the opportunity to join, please consider standing with your colleagues.  To join the Faculty Association, please go to our Membership Page and select your preferred dues payment schedule and method.  See Membership Benefits to learn more about the value of joining the Faculty Association.

Thank you all for the work that you do for students and our communities.  I wish you all a fulfilling and enjoyable academic year.

In solidarity,