By Laura Cornett
"You won't be able to read it from here, trust me. This is high tech!" joked AWC President, Dr. Glenn E. Mayle, standing on stage behind a podium, holding up an old newspaper for the audience to see. The newspaper showed an article from 1963, when the College first opened, mentioning classes being offered on campus by Arizona State University.
For the first time in more than 50 years, we can say that again.
"Economic and social mobility is the greatest function of educational attainment," said ASU President, Dr. Michael Crow, to a crowd of excited faculty and professors, interested community members and hopeful students in the Schoening Conference Center at the Oct. 13 reception celebrating the revived partnership between AWC and ASU.
The arrangement offers three majors, with opportunities for students to earn associate's and bachelor's degrees and to begin their career without leaving Yuma.
After completing 60-64 credit hours at AWC, students may transfer to ASU to earn bachelor degrees, with courses taught by a combination of AWC and ASU faculty on the AWC main campus, at a reduced cost compared to the Phoenix valley locations.
Starting in Spring 2016, students may work toward a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Criminology or a B.A. in Organizational Leadership. In Fall 2016, students may begin work on a B.A. in Secondary Education (grades 6-12) with tracks in sciences, math, English and history.
These degree options were carefully chosen based on student interest and the needs of our community.
"It's not surprising that this [Criminology] is an area of interest for students with the world today. Turn on the TV or look at a computer, you know what I mean," said Dr. Jonathan Koppell, Dean of the College of Public Services and Community Solutions at ASU. Students in this major will learn how to increase public safety with evidence-based knowledge and research.
The Organizational Leadership degree will prepare students for leadership roles in various business, nonprofit and government organizations.
"I am here today to recruit you into teaching," said Dr. Mari Koerner, Dean of ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, which is ranked 17th in the nation out of 1,400 teacher's colleges. "Before you leave our program you will be offered a job," Koerner stated with confidence.
With many current teachers up for retirement soon and with a recent decline in applicants, there is a great need for teachers in Yuma and surrounding areas, explained Toni Badone, superintendent of the Yuma Union High School District.
Badone also noted that San Luis High School has seen increased rates of graduates and enrollment with the AWC campus next door. "Every day they look out their classroom windows and can actually see college. It's right there," she said.
"I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and was lucky enough to have a college in my hometown," said Dr. Duane Roen, Dean of the College of Public Services and Community Solutions at ASU. "I see the same thing here in Yuma."
The new partnership is just one more opportunity to entice students into attending college and earning a degree that will in turn benefit their community.
"The outcome of the student and the community is our single most important goal," said Crowe. "We are committed to student success in the world that lies ahead."
Bottom line: Why only be a Matador when you can be a Sun Devil, too?
Photo courtesy of AWC Photo Services