Corr values - New leader, a new vision

by Pam Black

Arizona Western College begins a new era with the selection of its incoming president, Dr. Daniel Corr. Every true leader brings a unique vision and set of experiences to enhance the performance of their duties. Dr. Corr has those in abundance.

A college president's duties are complex and extensive. The search for a president requires the consideration of myriad factors. Finding the perfect candidate, one who will ensure that the college grows and fulfills the community's goals and expectations, requires determined, careful consideration and consultation among those involved in the selection process.
Dr. Corr is an enthusiastic and hands-on educator, as proven by his past work. He currently serves as Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Scottsdale Community College where his focus is on improving student retention and success. SCC is a leader in many innovative educational pursuits of which Corr is an active participant. Corr states that he considers inclusiveness and diversity as cornerstones of his leadership at SCC.

Before coming to Arizona, Corr worked in the Illinois community college system where he served in various administrative capacities -- Associate Dean of Adult and Professional Education, Dean of Academic Enrichment and Language Studies and Associate Vice President for Occupational Programs.

Prior to entering the community college environment, Corr served as Director of Training for the community-based organization, Latino Coalition for Jobs. He credits his experience in that environment with teaching him the value of job training and education and their power to change lives. It was in that job, too, where he met his wife-to-be, who is from Mexico.

After graduating from college, Corr spent 18 months in Japan and Korea, where he taught English as a Second Language. Living in a different culture gave him an appreciation for the challenges that international students and faculty have. Today he remains actively involved in providing a positive experience for foreign students and faculty during their time in the U.S.

A new vision

During a recent visit to the AWC campus, Corr offered candid insights into his expectations and plans for AWC's future. He wants to focus on positives; to that end, he plans on doing a lot of listening as well as spending a lot of time surveying the local collegiate terrain.

He feels that AWC is an important and integral part of this community, and he is committed to increasing AWC's partnerships with the state universities, stating that the need to transfer seamlessly is imperative, a process he refers to as "access equals success."

He is currently becoming acquainted with the large area that Yuma County encompasses. He feels that, while AWC's mission includes a huge geographical challenge, he is committed to serving all citizens, from the main campus to the outlying areas. Notably, his experience at SCC, being the only U.S. public college on tribal land, contributes to his interest in how to better serve the tribes situated within Yuma County.

One of Dr. Corr's favorite projects at SCC has been one known as Open Educational Resources, which he envisions incorporating into the AWC learning environment. According to Wikipedia: OERs are "freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning and assessing as well as for research purposes. It is the leading trend in distance education/open and distance learning domain as a consequence of the openness movement." OERs provide students with free online "books" and allow teachers to tailor those class texts to their syllabus.

A major aspect of running an educational institution in the current economic climate is to provide education that is affordable. He has been involved in finding creative solutions to this problem at his current job. The reality is that state funding is scarce, which necessitates the innovation of developing new and creative avenues or resources. Corr states that an evaluation of resources determines what will best ensure student success.

Corr states that in position as president he wants to create a common shared vision within the community. He intents to get to know people and create partnerships with trust.

"This is a wonderful college," he said. "I'm honored to have been selected to play this role in this community, and I'm excited to begin."

The AWC community is likewise excited to welcome our incoming president, Dr. Daniel Corr.

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