Photos: From left to right are Sergio Bobadilla, Marcy Hurtado. Photo by Kim Oliveros.

PACTO grant funds new support services

Education students have access to new support services under a new five-year federal grant shared by NAU-Yuma and AWC. The goal of the PACTO grant (standing for Partners Advancing Completion through Transfer Opportunities) is to help both institutions develop more capacity to retain students through the completion of a bachelor's degree.

As the new structures and services are developed, they are piloted with students in NAU-Yuma's new teacher-education program. A second pilot group will begin soon, composed of students in the NAU-Yuma Bachelor's of Psychology degree program.

Partnership opportunities

Last August, the Arizona Department of Education approved a new NAU-Yuma Bachelor's of Education degree program in elementary education. NAU-Yuma was asked by the state to create a program unique to Yuma and that served the needs of our border community.

The new degree, based on a formal articulation agreement with AWC, includes an Elementary Education Preparation Program for freshmen and sophomores. Students are jointly admitted under the AWC2NAU program, which allows them to be enrolled in the B.S. degree in elementary education at the same time they are pursuing an associate's degree at AWC.

Joint admission gives students access to the many new support services being developed under PACTO. NAU-Yuma is developing a Student Academic Success Center in its AC building that provides intensive services to support student retention.

In particular, it provides tutoring, mentoring, supplemental instruction and online resources to help education students prepare for the Arizona teacher-certification exams in math, science, language arts and social studies. Services are provided under individualized Student Success Plans, thereby meeting the unique needs of each student.

Boundless benefits

PACTO also provides funds for faculty training in high-engagement instructional strategies through membership in the national program AVID for Higher. At the middle and high school levels, AVID Education (standing for Advancement Via Individual Determination) prepares students for college.

AVID for Higher Education provides strategies to help students to be successful once they are in college. NAU-Yuma and AWC share an AVID membership under the PACTO grant. AVID trainers visit the campus four times each year to train faculty as well as support staff at both institutions.

PACTO funded the construction in the AC Building of a new reception area, a new advising center and a Student Success Center that includes an AVID student center, an assessment center, an ESL lab and a small group instruction center.

The grant funded more than 100 new computers for the Student Success Center as well as a computer lab in NAU-Yuma's new InTown Center on 16th Street. In addition, it funded a new Enrollment Services Center in the 3-C Building along with a shared Military and Veterans Center.

NAU-Yuma has hired three new staff members for its Student Success Center. The Program/Case Management Coordinator is Marcy Hurtado. The Assessment Specialist is Sergio Bobadilla, and the Senior Administrative Specialist is Kim Oliveros. The PACTO Program Manager is Dr. Russell Prust, also Chair of the NAU-Yuma Education Department.

Interested students can get more information by contacting Ms. Hurtado at

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