County residents sound off about CCC

CCC President Dr. Colleen Smith speaks to residents during a "listening session" at Killip Elementary School in Flagstaff on Dec. 5.

 

Flagstaff, Ariz. -- The woman raised her hand and shared her story.

 

She's an employee with the Flagstaff Unified School District, and, over the years, she has taken more than 40 classes at Coconino Community College. They weren't for credit. They were for her personal development.

 

"I came here to thank CCC for the senior discount," she said, adding that CCC should think about attracting more seniors like her.

 

She smiled, "Just because we're old doesn't mean we're dead."

 

On Dec. 5 and Dec. 13, CCC President Dr. Colleen A. Smith held "listening sessions" in Flagstaff to hear about the College from county residents. She has held more than a dozen listening sessions in communities throughout the county.

 

During the Dec. 5 listening session at Killip Elementary School in the Sunnyside neighborhood, about 30 people, including CCC employees, attended and shared their experiences about the College.

 

Kerry Blume, who is working with CCC to enhance community engagement, led the listening sessions. Blume has worked in nonprofit leadership for more than 30 years, and she asked the audiences four questions about the College:

- What experience have you had with CCC (as a student or if a family member attended)? And what was that experience like?

- What do you value about CCC?

- In your experience, what do you think are the highest educational priorities for people in your community?

- If you had a magic wand and had three wishes for CCC, what would you wish for?

 

The first two questions drew several stories. Among them was a woman who has a master's degree in education, but she attended CCC because she missed school. She said in her whole educational experience, she has four teachers she remembers.

 

"And two of them came from CCC," she added.

 

Someone else said he went to CCC for retraining, and he was older when he returned to school.

 

"Community college is not just for young people these days," he said, adding that he didn't feel intimidated or out of place. "CCC is good for everybody. I guess that's my point."

 

With regard to what the people who attended the listening session would wish for at CCC, topics included more tutors, more support for learners who speak English as a second language, increased cultural competency, more technical training, more workforce training, a culinary program, early childhood education, housing, internships, university preparation, increased access to the arts, more funding for scholarships and more.

 

The Dec. 13 listening session was held at Coconino Community College's Lone Tree campus. More than 60 people, primarily CCC employees and students, attended and touched on subjects as wide ranging as the Dec. 5 session, with topics focusing on housing solutions for students to ways to support the start of more workforce training programs at the College.

 

At the end of the Dec. 5 session, President Smith explained the financial realities of the college and the constraints in funding that have forced some difficult decisions in cuts to services and programs.

 

"We're working on being innovative and creative," President Smith said. "We would like to offer more of what our communities need. We just have to figure out how to do it."

 

The results of the listening sessions will be presented to the CCC District Governing Board in January, and then, college-wide during the welcome-back breakfast, also in January.

 

-30-

Category
Spotlight
Date
Thursday, 4th January 2018
 
 

All Dates

  • Thursday, 4th January 2018