Turning possibility into reality

By Dr. J.D. Rottweiler

Community colleges have the amazing ability to help “possibility” become a reality for the students we serve. To some people, college seems out of reach, a foreign concept intended for the wealthy, for kids who make the honor roll, for people who have the potential to become teachers or doctors.

In the past, that may have been the case. Fifty years ago college may have been intended for people in those specific categories. But today, a community college like Cochise is designed for everyone and gives people a chance to reach their “possibility.” According to Mary Barnes, daughter of the late college founder Dr. George Spikes, a college in Cochise County allowed others to do what he had done – “achieve the life that was desired, not the life that was just available.”

We all have “possibilities,” don’t we? If your “possibility” is something that requires more than a high school education, Cochise College is a place you can go to turn “possibility” into reality.

Let me share a little about my experience.

I’m from Wyoming, the son of loving parents who, although not college educated, recognized the importance of higher education. They hadn’t been fortunate enough to attend themselves but believed the future well-being of their sons rested in their receiving an education beyond high school. That’s how I became a first-generation student at Ricks College, a two-year school in Idaho. With the help of the faculty and staff there, I learned to navigate the system, to meet deadlines and take responsibility for my own learning, to set career-related goals and achieve them. I began studying criminal justice, with my “possibility” being to attend law school and become a lawyer. Though I shifted disciplines and later earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at other institutions, it was at a junior/community college where I learned what it takes to be academically successful and gained the confidence to consider “possibilities” that weren’t, at first, part of my plans. Ricks College provided a foundation for success.

My story probably isn’t very different from that of someone you know. And so I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who’s contemplating his or her “possibilities” come talk to someone, anyone, at Cochise. Alumni have said this is where they pursued things they may not have tried without the support of faculty, where they transitioned from a face in the crowd to the leader of a student organization, and where those experiences set the stage for later success. One alum, now residing in Georgia, said she was so proud to receive notification from Cochise that she’d graduated that she has saved “every single piece of documentation” she’s ever gotten from Cochise in an effort to preserve that feeling. Another, an information technology professional in South Carolina, credits Cochise for preparing him to work with a number of Fortune 500 companies. Others value the friendships they made and ideas they shared with people from all different walks of life.

We live in the world’s greatest country. We can go anywhere, do anything, and be anything we desire. Our “possibilities” are unlimited and in our reach. At Cochise, we believe “possibilities” aren’t to be set aside. They’re perfectly possible! A new message on our website is one you’ll see throughout the coming year as we correlate Cochise College with the idea that possible means “being within the limits of ability, capacity or realization.”

In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible.’”

Give Cochise a try. You might even become president.

J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at jdr@cochise.edu.

Non-Profit Management program scholarship recipients announced

SIERRA VISTA — Nearly a dozen individuals from local organizations have received scholarships to attend the upcoming Non-Profit Management Certificate Program offered through Cochise College’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

The Non-Profit Management program teaches the skills and strategies that individuals need to become an integral part of an organization. Scholarships are funded by the Robert J. Wick Foundation, a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation.

“Our goal was to share the scholarship money with as many community organizations as possible,” said Center for Lifelong Learning director Sharon Gilman, “and I think we did that with these recipients.”

Scholarship recipients are: Andrew Abernathy from the Western Heritage Cultural Center; Marilyn Bever and Mary Rose Obholz from We Are One Family; church pastor Shawn Buckhanan; Linda Coonts and Linda Ludvigson from the Friends of Sierra Vista Animal Shelter; Jose Cordero from Huachuca Hospitality House; Lillian Hritz from Tombstone Forward; Kathryn Markland from the Wellness Connection and PRAISE Prison Ministry; Andrea Marie Peter from the Sierra Vista Woman’s Club; and Christopher Vedvick from Military Order Purple Heart.

The Non-Profit Management Certificate comprises four two-day courses, which run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Non-Profit Management Theory and Practice, offered July 17-18, examines the historical development of non-profit organizations in the United States. The Development and Fundraising course Aug. 14-15 teaches financial development strategies and laws and regulations that govern fundraising. On Sept. 18-19, the Board Effectiveness and Strategic Planning Basics class explains the non-profit board, meetings and committees. Lastly, the Non-Profit Marketing and Communications class Oct. 16-17 compares for-profit and non-profit business marketing.

Participants in this non-credit program are awarded 1.4 CEUs (continuing education units) per class or 5.6 CEUs for completing all four courses.

Space is limited in each class. For more information or to register, visit www.cochise.edu/cll, call (520) 515-5492 or email training@cochise.edu.

Adult Education classes start in August

Adult Education classes at Cochise College begin this August.

Students must register in advance by bringing a photo ID for proof of residency to their nearest Cochise College campus or center during registration hours. The course fee is between $20 and $80, based on a sliding scale according to household income.

Registration for classes on the Sierra Vista and Douglas campuses is from July 13 through Aug. 6 for classes starting Aug. 10. Apply at the Adult Education/1400 Building in Sierra Vista or at the Adult Education/400 Building on the Douglas Campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

At the Benson and Willcox centers, registration sessions are offered at each location between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 or 6. Benson classes begin Aug. 11 and Willcox classes begin Aug. 18.

Cochise College Adult Education helps adult learners acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the workforce or post-secondary education by focusing on academics, technology and communication. Classes provide instruction for foundational skill building, high school equivalency test preparation, or English language acquisition for non-native speakers in job and college contexts.

Call the Cochise College Adult Education Department at (520) 515-5456 in Sierra Vista or (520) 439-6832 in Douglas, or visit www.cochise.edu/adulteducation, for more information.

College offices on summer hours until August

Cochise College is on summer hours through the first week of August. Offices at all campuses and centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, except for closures on two holidays: Memorial Day on May 25 and Independence Day observed July 2.

Regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, resume Aug. 10.

During the summer, the Sierra Vista Campus Union Cafe will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. At the Douglas Campus Dining Hall, breakfast is from 7 to 8 a.m., lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and brunch is from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and dinner is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The college’s summer eight-week session and first five-week session begin May 26, and the second five-week session starts July 1. View the Academic Calendar to find out more. Registration for summer and fall classes is going on now. The fall semester begins Aug. 17.

Chemistry instructor’s research published in scientific journal

Cochise College’s Sierra Vista Campus full-time chemistry instructor is one of the researchers who contributed to a study featured in the latest edition of the bi-weekly scientific journal Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Rowshan Begum has just completed her first year as a faculty member in the Cochise College Science Department after a long career conducting academic and corporate research in Asia and North America.

Rowshan Begum works in a lab in 2013.
Rowshan Begum works in a lab in 2013.

“She brings real-world experience to our students,” said Beth Krueger, Dean of Math, Sciences and Health Sciences at Cochise College. “She’s positive, student-oriented and maintains high standards. That’s important, because if you don’t, you’re not preparing students for a nursing or medical career, or for a four-year school, or wherever they’re headed. You have to make sure you maintain those standards and quality, and that’s a focus of hers.”

The 2012 study, “Chelate effects in sulfate binding by amide/urea-based ligands,” was led by University of Kansas professor Kristin Bowman-James and also included the work of researchers Chuandong Jia and Qi-Qiang Wang, and crystallographer Victor W. Day. It is featured on the cover of the July 7 edition of the journal.

“For my part, I studied many anions (negatively-charged ions) day after day to see which is good for binding,” Begum said. “Sulfate is important biologically and environmentally, so we studied how ligands can bind the sulfate ion.”

Prior to moving to Sierra Vista to teach at Cochise College, Begum was a member of university-level research teams in the United States and Canada for more than 10 years. She earned her master’s degree in chemistry from University of Dhaka, then taught in Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Bangladesh for four years. She earned her PhD in organometallic chemistry in 2002 from Nara Women’s University in Japan.

Begum moved to the United States and worked for the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Kansas, and York University in Toronto, then returned to KU before a brief stint as a visiting professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

“I was almost always in a research position that was dependent on a grant, so when the grant was over, I was done there,” she said. “I’m very excited to be at Cochise College. I enjoy teaching here: Small classrooms, good contact with the students, my colleagues, and especially the weather — the snowless weather.”

Her research has been presented in more than 20 published scientific articles, including three journal cover features. She was the main author in a study comparing phenyl- and pyridyl-bridged transition metal dimers that was published last year in the Inorganica Chimica Acta journal.

Although she completed her research in anion binding chemistry at KU with Bowman-James years ago, it will likely be included in future published papers and articles. But now, Begum is thrilled to be able to set full-time research aside and focus on educating students. This fall, she will be teaching four chemistry classes at Cochise College: introductory chemistry, general chemistry I and II, and organic chemistry.

“I like teaching much better than researching, because in research, you can spend day after day, week after week, and no result,” she laughed.

She won’t be giving up research completely, though. Following the footsteps of her colleagues in the Cochise College Science Department who have recently implemented two undergraduate research projects studying bean beetles and wildlife navigation, Begum plans to establish something similar for chemistry students. She is also the adviser for the college’s pre-pharmacy club, which seeks to help its members become qualified applicants to a professional college of pharmacy.

“Dr. Begum goes out of her way to help students,” Krueger said. “She’s someone who is willing to help them understand the concepts and spend extra time with them. I like her positive, can-do attitude, and she’s a wonderful member of our department.”

Register now for summer, fall classes

Cochise College has released its Summer and Fall 2015 schedule of courses. Students can register either online through MyCochise or in person at any campus or center.

Summer semester classes start May 26. Fall semester classes begin Aug. 17. Find out more important dates and deadlines by viewing the Academic Calendar. There is no late registration; all students must register and pay for a class the day before the official start date of the course.

For more information, contact Admissions and Registration at (520) 515-5336 or 5415 or the Student Development Center at (520) 515-5483 or 5495.

Governing board vacancies at Cochise College

The Cochise County Community College District is seeking interested citizens who live within the Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 voting districts to fill vacancies on its Governing Board of Trustees. Citizens should make their interest known, in writing, to:

Superintendent of Schools
Attn: Trudy Berry
Cochise County School Superintendent Office
P.O. Box 208
Bisbee, AZ 85603

The deadline for letters of interest from Precinct 2 is July 24. Letters of interest for Precinct 4 must be received between July 15 and 24.

Click here to view a map of the Cochise Community College District Precincts. Letters of interest should include your name, address, and reasons for interest in serving on the governing board. For more information, call Cochise College President J.D. Rottweiler at (520) 515-5401.

College closed July 2

Cochise College will be closed Thursday, July 2, in observance of Independence Day.

With summer hours in effect, offices are also closed Friday, July 3. They reopen and classes resume Monday, July 6, at all campuses and centers.

To find out more important dates and deadlines this summer and next year, check out the Academic Calendar.

Scholarships available for Non-Profit Management classes

Scholarships are now available for participants in the upcoming Non-Profit Management Certificate Program offered through Cochise College’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

The Non-Profit Management program teaches the skills and strategies individuals need to become an integral part of an organization. Participants in this non-credit program are awarded 1.4 CEUs (continuing education units) per class or 5.6 CEUs for completing all four courses.

To apply for a scholarship to attend a course or the entire program, visit www.cochise.edu/cll and submit the application by July 6. Scholarships are funded by the Robert J. Wick Foundation, a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation, and recipients will be announced July 8.

“We are receiving tremendous community support from local foundations,” said Center for Lifelong Learning director Sharon Gilman, adding that the majority of the funding for the program is provided by the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona. “We are grateful to our partners for backing this program.”

The Non-Profit Management Certificate comprises four two-day courses, which run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Non-Profit Management Theory and Practice, offered July 17-18, examines the historical development of non-profit organizations in the United States. The Development and Fundraising course Aug. 14-15 teaches financial development strategies and laws and regulations that govern fundraising. On Sept. 18-19, the Board Effectiveness and Strategic Planning Basics class explains the non-profit board, meetings and committees. Lastly, the Non-Profit Marketing and Communications class Oct. 16-17 compares for-profit and non-profit business marketing.

Space is limited in each class. For more information or to register and apply for the scholarship, visit www.cochise.edu/cll, call (520) 515-5492 or email training@cochise.edu.

College looks to next 50 years

By Dr. J.D. Rottweiler

From The Beatles and Wilford Brimley to a Hall of Fame induction and commencement, it seemed there was a commemorative affair at every turn in 2014-15.

In hindsight, you might wonder about the necessity of all of that. Community engagement is important for a “community college,” so I’d say it was both necessary and successful. The Cochise College anniversary provided a hook, a golden opportunity, to garner attention and advance the institution, because five decades is just a little more special than, say, 47 years, and it only happens once.

All told, the college actively engaged about 2,000 people who helped spread the word about the anniversary and our achievements. Nearly 200 of Cochise College’s earliest staff, students and its biggest supporters, not all from Cochise County or even Arizona, attended a Founder’s Dinner in September. Two Twist & Shout: The Definitive Beatles Experience concerts drew about 500 people each to less intimate, but equally joyous, events. About 150 rodeo and western fans bought tickets to see Wilford Brimley in the Douglas Campus Student Union in November. Six months later, an equal, but different, crowd attended the Hall of Fame induction there. People who wished to support their academic program attended an aviation open house in March, with 100 also signing up for a dinner. Another 100 attended a nursing reunion a month later. About 20 different individuals provided items for a mobile memorabilia display, and countless others absorbed its message — that there’s more to Cochise College than meets the eye.

The beauty of this particular outreach effort was its diversity; the crowd that attended the rodeo benefit isn’t the same crowd that attended the nursing reunion. And both of those events were special in their own ways

Before the year closed, the college began planning for the new one. Next year, we’ll develop the Sierra Vista Downtown Center, a gift of a former hospital property from The Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona. You’ll see a fresh marketing campaign structured around the word “possible,” and you’ll see new energy around specific programs.

Needless to say, the college looks forward to the next 50 years.

J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at jdr@cochise.edu.