College memorabilia on display this spring in Benson, Willcox

The Cochise College 50th Anniversary Memorabilia Exhibit is on display at the Benson Center throughout February and the Willcox Center throughout April.

Photos, articles, collectibles and personal papers donated by former students, faculty and staff tell the Cochise College story. The historical exhibit came together through the efforts of the Cochise College Foundation, an organization that connects with the college’s alumni through events and newsletters.

Shovels used in groundbreakings for the Benson Center, left, in 2000 and the Willcox Center, right, in 2009.
Shovels used in groundbreakings for the Benson Center, left, in 2000 and the Willcox Center, right, in 2009.

“We have quite a few pieces of memorabilia already here at the college, and since we’re always looking for ways to reconnect with alumni, it seemed like a nice way to engage them in the anniversary,” said Denise Hoyos, the Director of External Affairs and the Executive Director of the Cochise College Foundation. “We put out a call, and we received a lot of nice inquiries and had one-on-one communication with individuals who didn’t necessarily have a reason to keep up with us before.”

Hoyos said the foundation received historical items from alumni as far away as Pennsylvania. The exhibit also features the shovel used in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Willcox Center in 2009 and the Benson Center in 2000. The Benson shovel was donated by Mark Battaglia, who is the foundation’s treasurer and was instrumental in lobbying for state funds to construct the center.

A Cochise College pennant featuring the college's official seal.
A Cochise College pennant featuring the college’s official seal.

“I feel like our history depicts the hope we were able to bring to the people here who don’t have access to higher education,” Hoyos said. “The exhibit provides great insight into the college’s first 50 years and it’s been an exciting project to help mark this milestone with community members across Cochise County.”

The traveling exhibit made its debut in late September at the Douglas-Williams House Museum in Douglas, where just a few miles west of town, the original Cochise College campus opened its doors in 1964. From there, the display moved to the Henry F. Hauser Museum in Sierra Vista. The exhibit will be at the Benson Center from Feb. 3-23, followed by the Willcox Center from April 6-23.

The exhibit wraps up the year at the Cochise College Douglas Campus in May for commencement.

“It’s the county’s college, not just one community’s college,” Hoyos said. “So we wanted everyone to have access to it.”

Cochise College earns Arizona’s Career Preparedness Award

Cochise College has been selected to receive the state’s Career Preparedness Award, which recognizes exemplary efforts by a community college in advancing students’ career readiness.

This is the first year Arizona has participated in ACT’s national College and Career Readiness Campaign program, which began in 2013. Cochise College was selected in for the state honor in February, as determined by the ACT State Council, and will now be considered for the national award.

Cochise College students work on assignments in the Student Union Cafe on the Sierra Vista Campus.
Cochise College students work on assignments in the Student Union Cafe on the Sierra Vista Campus.

“This recognition by ACT represents the trifecta of awards the college has received recently,” said Cochise College president J.D. Rottweiler. “From being ranked among the 100 most affordable community colleges to SmartAsset’s determination that we’re the third best community college in the country, when you bring in ACT’s recognition of our strong efforts in career preparation and readiness, these honors demonstrate our desire for the college to meet its lofty mission of preparing students to become constructive citizens, find meaningful careers, and engage in the lifelong learning process.”

The state council chose Cochise College based on its student retention, persistence and graduation rates, as well as strong programs designed to assist students in career paths, internships and employment opportunities.

Since 2013, ACT has recognized the work of students, schools and employers in pursuing the goals of college and career readiness. The ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign awards recognize exemplary efforts in four categories: Student Readiness Award (a high school senior), College and Career Transition Award (a high school), Career Preparedness Award (a community college), and Workplace Success Award (an employer).

The national exemplars are selected in each category among winners from each state, and they will be recognized at the National Gala on College and Career Readiness, hosted by ACT in Washington, D.C., in June.

“Preparing individuals for college and career success is no small task—and it’s never been more important,” according to ACT’s website. “This is why ACT is recognizing individuals and organizations who are making a positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness.”

Apply now for scholarships, financial aid deadlines in March and May


Cochise College’s online STARS scholarship application system is now open for students applying for financial aid for the 2015-16 academic year.

  • March 31 is the STARS scholarship application deadline.
  • May 1 is the priority deadline for Financial Aid.

All students at Cochise College can apply for scholarships through the STARS link above. Scholarships are available for both full- and part-time students. Generally, students need to be enrolled in six or more credits to qualify. Scholarships do not need to be repaid but are considered part of a student’s financial aid package.

To make the most of your scholarship and financial aid opportunities, complete the STARS application process, file a FAFSA by May 1, and register for the fall semester before the beginning of June.

Questions? Contact Financial Aid at (520) 417-4045 or (520) 515-5417, or visit

Cochise ranked third among best community colleges

Students on the Cochise College Douglas Campus

Cochise College is the third best community college in the country, according to a study by publicized in a Huffington Post article on Friday.

The study seeks to determine the best community colleges by analyzing cost of attendance, return on investment and success rates of nearly 700 community colleges in the United States.

“This is a nice recognition and a symbol of the hard work of our faculty and staff, our students, and our governing board,” said Cochise College President J.D. Rottweiler.

Coastline Community College of Fountain Valley, Calif., earned the top spot, and Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Okla., came in second. Cochise College was praised for its affordability.

“In-state students at Cochise College pay only $1,680 per academic year, and once graduated, they make 63.5 percent more than their college costs in a year’s salary,” according to the article.

The article describes the methods used to determine cost, return on investment and success rates at each institution: “To measure the cost of education we looked at in state tuition for one academic year. To measure return on investment we looked at the ratio of starting salary for graduates to the cost of the education. To measure success rate we looked at the percentage of students who enroll at the community college, graduate and then go on to transfer to a four-year institution. Using these three factors, we ranked the community colleges by how many standard deviations they outperformed the mean in each category.”

SmartAsset was founded in 2011 with a mission to “provide actionable, objective and easy-to-understand financial analytics and advice,” according to its website. Its Facebook page continues: “At the heart of our service is a decision engine and optimization tool that measures the efficacy of different strategies, quantifies the true cost of financing alternatives and recommends specific financial products based on their suitability and cost.”

Study highlights value of community colleges

By Dr. J.D. Rottweiler

As president of Cochise College, I am part of the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council (ACCCC), which is a leadership consortium of the state’s 10 community college districts. Because they provide services to a wide audience and maintain close ties with the communities and industries they serve, community colleges are often recognized as economic drivers. We see signs of success every day in our students and alumni, but the big picture is emerging with the first statewide economic impact study of Arizona’s community colleges.

“Demonstrating the Value of Arizona’s Community Colleges,” recently published by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.,* monetizes the financial and societal impact of community colleges in Arizona. It includes the statistics that Arizona’s community colleges annually:

  • serve 375,000 students,
  • award 40,000-plus degrees and certificates,
  • transfer 10,000-plus students to Arizona’s public universities and an even greater number to private institutions, and
  • employ more than 10,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff.

But the study isn’t so much about the number of people served or employed as it is about the impact of those individuals and their experiences on the state economy. Based on fiscal year 2013-2014, the study discloses that impact as follows:

  • $1.2 billion in direct payroll and operations spending,
  • $300 million spent and contributed by out-of-state students,
  • $13 billion in higher earnings and lower need for the state’s social services, and
  • 6 percent of the gross state product, putting colleges on par with the aerospace and defense industry and closing in on manufacturing.

Finally, there is the personal and societal impact when residents invest in a community college education and earn an associate degree.

  • Income increases an average of $10,000 annually, or more than $400,000 over the student’s career, nearly a 1:5 return on investment, and an annual rate of return of 19 percent.
  • The cumulative return on investment for taxpayers, who realize increased business output earnings and reduced demand for government services, is $3.60 for every tax dollar invested.
  • The return for society is 11:1 for the FY14 students who remain employed over their lifetime.

Just as community colleges find themselves in the national spotlight, it’s clear they are a worthy investment. You can find the economic impact study and information about all of Arizona’s community colleges at

J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at

*EMSi uses a very conservative modeling philosophy which shows the net impact of the community colleges in the district/region. With more than 1,200 studies conducted since 2001, EMSi is one of the leading economic modeling firms in the country.

College’s disability services director an advocate for access, success

SIERRA VISTA — Carla Boyd’s business is breaking down barriers.

Cochise College’s Director of Disability Services is an education advocate and leader in Arizona. In January, she was recognized as an outstanding educator in developmental education at the first Arizona Association of Developmental Education Conference, and she’s currently representing rural community colleges on the Arizona Department of Education committee in charge of rolling out the new Braille Code for Arizona by 2016. Boyd also recently represented Cochise College at various veteran symposiums, both at the University of Arizona and the Veterans Administration in Tucson.

Carla Boyd
Carla Boyd

“I like to impact change for access and success, make a difference in people’s lives for the better,” Boyd said. “It’s important to network and build relationships at the campus, local and state levels and partner with outside agencies. This allows our students to benefit from a variety of services and programs to make sure we are using resources well and not duplicating our efforts.”

Boyd started her professional career in banking and finance before going back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University in 2001. She wrapped up her student teaching and went into management and corporate training for Wells Fargo in northern California, but she was soon drawn back to public education and moved to San Diego for a job as Palomar College’s Alternate Media Specialist for Disability Services. She then returned to Arizona and spent six years in the Yuma area, teaching for the Yuma and Wellton school districts while earning her master’s degree in educational technology from NAU.

“What I’ve found is, the skills and teaching strategies you learn in K-12 transfer over to higher education and the corporate training world quite well,” she said. “Good quality teaching, coaching and training go hand-in-hand. When you know your content and you understand the process of teaching, together those make a dynamic educator, whether in developmental education or in any level course or training. It’s about active engagement and making learning relevant to the student.”

Since 2003, Boyd has worked as an independent consultant and success coach in her spare time. Prior to joining the staff at Cochise College, she was the Advanced Program Coordinator for the Center for Training Development for five years at Pima Community College, while also teaching reading as an adjunct faculty member.

“Carla has a firm belief in the mission of the community college, focusing on access and student success,” said Mary Shelor, who teaches reading at Pima. “She is highly regarded as a Certified Success Coach and is often requested as a presenter to speak with students on strategies for managing change and well-being to increase student retention and success. She believes that all students can learn when given the individual support structures, guidance and freedom to become competent college students.”

Boyd is eager to get further involved with Arizona’s recently-established chapter of the National Association of Developmental Education, an organization that was founded in 1976. She was one of about 300 community college faculty, staff and administrators to attend the state’s first conference hosted by the Maricopa Community College District in January.

“Many community college students across the country take one or two developmental education courses when they begin college,” Boyd said. “It’s critical that we’re all on the same page and have an opportunity to share best practices to help students succeed.”

Currently, Boyd is paying close attention to the Braille Authority of North America’s change from the English Braille American Edition (EBAE) to the Unified English Braille (UEB) as the official code in the United States. Arizona is one of many states making plans for the targeted national implementation for January of 2016, and Boyd’s voice for the rural districts has already proved vital in explaining the types of resources that are and are not available in the outlying areas. Her experience in this system goes back to her days at Palomar College, where she worked with faculty and students while translating all types of course instructional material to braille and other formats.

Spring Break activities, hours March 9-15

Students and faculty members participate in last year's Alternative Spring Break.
Students and faculty members participate in last year’s Alternative Spring Break.

Spring Break at Cochise College is set for March 9-15. No classes will be held during the break, but offices will remain open during regular hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Student Government Association on the Sierra Vista Campus will also offer its annual Alternative Spring Break, with a wide array of community service activities for students Monday through Friday. Sign up online to participate in Alternative Spring Break, or email for more information.

The Sierra Vista Campus library will be open on three days during Spring Break: from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday. The Douglas Campus library is closed throughout Spring Break. Both libraries return to normal hours Monday, March 16.

Food services at the Union Cafe on the Sierra Vista Campus and the Dining Hall on the Douglas Campus will also be closed for Spring Break from March 9-15 and return to normal hours Monday, March 16.

Economic study reveals profound impact of Arizona’s community colleges

By Jack W. Lunsford
Chief Executive Officer
Arizona Community College Coordinating Council

The Arizona Community College Coordinating Council today released a groundbreaking statewide economic impact study revealing far-reaching annual economic value produced by Arizona’s 21 publicly-funded community colleges within 10 college districts throughout the state.

The report, “Demonstrating the Value of Arizona’s Community Colleges,” summarizes economic impact and return on investment of Arizona’s Community Colleges in fiscal year 2013-14. The statewide analysis was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSi).

EMSi used a two-pronged approach for Arizona’s study. First, EMSi conducted an economic impact analysis to prove the impact of Arizona’s community colleges on the business community. Second, EMSi analyzed the return on community college investment for students, taxpayers, and Arizona’s society at large.

Findings from the Arizona report are profound.

Arizona’s community colleges created $14.5 billion in economic impact to the state in fiscal year 2013-14 – approximately 5.6 percent of Arizona’s Gross State Product – on the level of other major economic sectors according to state data. Gross State Product is a measurement of a state’s output; it is the sum of value added from all industries in the state. GSP is the state counterpart to the national gross domestic product (GDP).

“We knew Arizona’s community colleges had a major impact on our economy,” said Jack Lunsford, Arizona Community College Coordinating Council chief executive office, “but we were astounded to learn that our annual economic impact is on par with our state’s top industry sectors such as aerospace and defense at $15 billion and manufacturing at approximately 23 billion.”

The annual $14.5 billion economic impact produced by Arizona’s community colleges includes $13 billion in alumni value, payroll and operational expenses of $1.2 billion annually, and new annual revenue from out-of-state students at $300 million. Arizona’s community colleges currently employ more than 10,000 faculty and staff, ranking collectively as one of Arizona’s largest employers.

Arizona’s community colleges currently graduate more than 40,000 students per year with associate’s degrees and a variety of certificates. More than 90 percent of students who attend Arizona’s community colleges remain in Arizona and contribute to our state’s prosperity and quality of life.

According to the study, students who complete an associate’s degree from Arizona’s community colleges enjoy nearly a $10,000 increase in annual earnings compared to those who have received only a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, this amounts to an undiscounted value of nearly $400,000 in higher income per community college graduate.

“For every one dollar students invest in their community college degree, students will receive a cumulative return in higher future wages of $4.90 – nearly a $1-to-$5 cumulative return on investment,” Lunsford said. “That’s 19 percent, better than the stock market.”

Students who attended Arizona’s community colleges during the study year are expected to contribute to taxpayer savings a safer, healthier state, producing more tax revenue and reducing taxpayer costs associated with health, crime and unemployment. “The ROI for taxpayers’ investment is 3.6:1,” Lunsford explained, “and it’s 11:1 for society.”

The Arizona report follows EMSi’s 2012 national community college economic impact study, Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges.

In the national study, EMSi reported that America’s community colleges and attending students added $809 billion in income to the U.S. economy, equaling 5.4 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

EMSi has conducted more than 1,200 higher education economic impact studies in four countries since 2000. For executive summaries and full reports of both Arizona and national community college economic impact reports, visit

About the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council

The Arizona Community College Coordinating Council is a leadership consortium of chancellors and presidents from each of Arizona’s 10 state-funded community college districts. Formed in 2012, the mission of the council is to:

  • Ensure broad access to high-quality education and training for all Arizonans.
  • Improve the retention of learners through their education or training goals.
  • Significantly improve goal attainment, transfer, and degree/certificate completion.

For more information, visit

‘Celebrate the Arts’ at the Benson Center

BENSON — “Celebrate the Arts” at the Cochise College Benson Center from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 7. The sixth annual fine arts show and sale is presented in partnership with the San Pedro River Arts Council.

Each year, local two-dimensional artists enter their work to be judged and showcased at the Benson Center throughout the month of March. Winners will be honored at a reception and awards ceremony March 7, following a photography workshop and portrait demonstration that are both free and open to the public.

Larry Scott
Larry Scott

“We are always excited to host the annual Celebrate the Arts,” said Barbara Richardson, the director of the Benson Center. “The art show provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to view a variety of art created by some of our most talented local artists. Equally exciting is the opportunity for some of our up-and-coming artists to showcase their work. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The Celebrate the Arts event kicks off at 2 p.m. with Larry Scott’s presentation, “Photography Outside the Box,” a session designed for those who take pictures as a hobby and want to do more with their digital photography. Scott opened Kestrel Graphic Design in 2000 and has been creating magazine covers, corporate logos, annual reports and advertisements ever since. He loves pencil portraiture, illustration, photography and digital photo editing, and he has recently returned to his love for fine art renderings in graphite.

Clement Scott
Clement Scott

At 3 p.m., Clement Scott begins a brief demonstration on portrait painting. He will share tips on how to efficiently execute a portrait and discuss different palettes, techniques and approaches used in the portrait painting process. He trained at the Watts Atelier of the Arts in Encinitas, Calif., where he was immersed in the intensive study of portrait and figure drawing and painting, and currently works out of his studio in Benson. In 2012, he was featured in Southwest Art Magazine’s 21 Under 31, and his work has been featured in numerous shows around the state and is in private collections throughout the United States and abroad.

The event reception begins at 4 p.m. Attendees can meet the artists, listen to music performed by flute player Holly Whitman, and enjoy refreshments provided by the San Pedro Arts Council prior to the awards ceremony at 5 p.m., when winners receive their ribbons and cash prizes.

“We hope the community will come out and help us celebrate the arts and the college’s 50th anniversary,” Richardson added.

For more information about the San Pedro River Arts Council and entering work in Celebrate the Arts, visit For more information about the March 7 event, call the Benson Center at (520) 586-1981.

Google Global Education Evangelist to visit Sierra Vista Campus

SIERRA VISTA — Cochise College will host Google’s Global Education Evangelist, Jaime Casap, in a free community event from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at the Sierra Vista Campus Student Union.

Casap, a member of the associate faculty at Arizona State University, has worked with school districts and charter schools across the U.S. to “spread technological innovations into the educational environment.” In his presentation, “Iterating Education,” he advocates for the use of technology — such as Google Apps and Chromebooks — to “help students build the skills needed to succeed, close the digital divide and help level the playing field,” according to his bio.

Jaime Casap
Jaime Casap

“As the world gets more connected, it also gets more complex. We now operate on a global scale, and our job in education is to help learners develop knowledge, skills and abilities to thrive in this new environment,” reads Casap’s presentation description. “We are preparing them to solve global problems we haven’t defined yet, using technology that hasn’t been invented, in roles that do not exist. We need to continually iterate education in pursuit of making it a powerful, effective and engaging learning experience.”

The event is sponsored by the STEM In Action Partnership, an offshoot of the Innovation Campus Project that connects local STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries, including Cochise College, the University of Arizona, K-12 school districts, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Fort Huachuca, the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce, and Science Foundation Arizona.

The STEM In Action Partnership (SIAP) supports STEM education by aiding teachers in identifying funding sources and writing grant proposals, developing opportunities for educators, working with businesses to increase contributions and improve workforce development, and serving on STEM education committees.

For more information about SIAP, contact Verlyn Fick, Vice President of Instruction at Cochise College, at (520) 515-5414 or Steve Pedigo, Corporate Lead Executive at Northrop Grumman, at (520) 417-1510.