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.

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.

Cochise SBDC assists with USDA grants for food entrepreneurs, agricultural producers

Funding to help beginning, veteran, and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers expand businesses; $30 million available to develop new products

USDA Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

Cochise College, through a grant from the USDA, is assisting in the promotion of this program. Small Business Development Center program specialist Robert Mucci is available to assist applicants in finding information about the grant and answering questions concerning application for the grant. He can be reached by email at or by calling the Cochise College Small Business Development Center at (520) 515-5478.

“Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put that creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation’s economy. This support is especially important for beginning farmers, military veterans engaging in farming and smaller farm operations participating in the local and regional food system.”

More information on how to apply is on page 26528 of the May 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through are due July 2.

VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Special priority in applying for VAPGs is given to military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginner farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.

Summer camps provide continued learning opportunities

SIERRA VISTA — Cochise College’s 2015 Summer Campus program is offering 19 camps for kids throughout June and July, instructed by college faculty, teachers from Fort Huachuca and community professionals.

Summer camps give students in grades 4–12 an opportunity to continue learning even when school is not in session. All camps are Monday-Thursday on the Sierra Vista Campus and cost $100/week.

Students work on a project in Small Engine Repair camp at the Sierra Vista Campus this summer. (Photo by Rick Whipple)
Students work on a project in Small Engine Repair camp at the Sierra Vista Campus this summer. (Photo by Rick Whipple)

“We have several new camps this summer, such as choir and music, advanced sewing, creative writing, and poetry,” said Summer Campus coordinator Angela Moreno. “The cost is still the same as it was when we began in 2007. We have a growing number of instructors from the college and community who are excited to offer these opportunities for our kids.”

Other camps offered include metal art sculptures, video game design, robotics, rocketry, rock band, dance and cyber security. Most camps are held in the afternoons during a four-day session, but some are offered in the mornings. Space is limited in each camp.

The full schedule is available online at Download the registration form and return it to the Cochise College Business office in the Student Union on the Sierra Vista Campus. Cash, check or credit card payments are accepted.

Regular office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer hours, beginning May 18, are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Call the Business Office at (520) 515-5416.

For more information about the Summer Campus program, contact Moreno at (520) 515-3630 or

Cochise closed Memorial Day

Cochise College will be closed Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day.

Offices reopen and summer classes begin Tuesday, May 26, at all campuses and centers. The college is following summer hours, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until August.

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

Adult education recognition ceremonies to be held in Sierra Vista, Douglas

Cochise College adult education students at the 2013 GED graduation ceremony in Douglas.
Cochise College adult education students at the 2013 GED graduation ceremony in Douglas.

Cochise College’s Adult Education students will be recognized at Student Awards and GED Recognition ceremonies on May 19 in Sierra Vista and May 20 in Douglas.

Events at each location include both the 17th annual GED graduation and the first National Adult Education Honor Society (NAEHS) induction ceremony held at Cochise College. These ceremonies honor adult education students who passed the GED (General Education Development) test this year and welcome outstanding students into the NAEHS.

Ceremonies at each campus are by invitation only. All adult education students at Cochise College are encouraged to attend and bring their families. Students will also showcase their digital class projects from earlier this year.

The National Adult Education Honor Society started in 1991 when one adult education teacher organized an induction ceremony for 17 students. Word of this event spread to other adult education programs and the idea grew into a full-fledged organization that believes that adult educators should recognize deserving students. Unlike traditional honor societies, which require outstanding academic merit, NAEHS recognizes adult learners based on exemplary attendance, cooperative attitude, and commendable work ethic. The only obligation required of NAEHS members is that they serve as ambassadors for adult education and promote program participation.

“At Cochise College Adult Education program, teachers submitted student names and nomination forms explaining how each nominee met the criteria in early April,” said Susie Morss, Director of Adult Education at Cochise College. “The selection committee met in mid-April and had a difficult time selecting from the impressive list of students. Finally, the committee selected 10 students from Douglas Campus, 12 students from Sierra Vista Campus, three students from Benson, and one from Willcox for induction into the honor society.”

Inductees receive a certificate, a lapel pin, a letter of recommendation from NAEHS headquarters that students can use when seeking employment or promotion. Students also receive a letter of recommendation for financial assistance should they want to continue their education and apply for financial aid or scholarships. The Adult Education program will receive a certificate with the roster of students inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society suitable for framing and motivating others to strive for this honor.

Cochise College’s Adult Education department strives to help adult learners acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the workforce or continue their education. The program focuses on academic, technology and communication skills. Classes provide instruction for high school equivalency test preparation or English language acquisition for non-native speakers. For more information about classes offered at locations across Cochise County, visit or call (520) 515-5456.

Accreditor seeks public comment on college

By Dr. J.D. Rottweiler

I was not here the last time Cochise College completed the re-accreditation process. That was in 2006, and the granting of accreditation for 10 years, with no interim reports or focus visits required, was one of the highlights of that decade. It capped more than a year of hard work on behalf of employees and marked the first time since 1969 that the college had received the maximum accreditation. Those in attendance at the announcement cheered. Loudly.

While not the most riveting subject, accreditation is intended to ensure quality and is incredibly important for institutions wishing to transfer credits earned by students to other colleges or universities and in helping students obtain federal financial aid.

The last Higher Learning Commission evaluation recommended that the college work to formalize processes, systems and procedures; continue to improve communication between campuses and centers; look for ways to improve the college workforce; and continue to focus on outreach and maintaining a “culture of ‘yes.’”

The college has made strides in all of these areas. It has implemented a system to review relevant policies, seek input from the college community at large, and effectively communicate changes, primarily through the use of a web portal. The portal assists with communication between geographically dispersed areas, as well as among very busy people serving on a variety of committees while carrying out their normal duties. In the face of a challenging economic situation, the college has managed to elevate the level of many positions while adding new ones and eliminating or re-thinking others. And it continues to be a player at the community level via employee involvement and assistance with an array of public organizations.

I believe these efforts and continual attention to our strategic priorities – excellence, completion, competitive advantages, and everything speaks — have had a positive effect on student success, the college’s ultimate purpose.

The 2006 report, written by evaluators from peer institutions, also included this nugget:

“It would be hard for us to think of any other visits we’ve been on in which the warmth, the commitment, the dedication, of the folks that work here, teach here, administrate here, pass on the policies and procedures here has ever been more real, more palpable, and more directly tied to the mission of the community college. You folks are incredible.”

We’re even more incredible now. At least, we think we are!

This is where you come in. Cochise College anticipates an October visit by Higher Learning Commission evaluators. Before they arrive, specifically, before Sept. 26, HLC seeks public comment on substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be made in writing and received in the HLC offices, 230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411.

If you’ve taken the time to read this column, I hope you’ll also take the time to share your thoughts about Cochise College with the Higher Learning Commission. Its job is to make us better.

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

50th Anniversary Commencement to be celebrated in Douglas on May 15

Nursing ceremony set for May 14

DOUGLAS — Cochise College will hold its 50th commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. May 15 on the Douglas Campus, where the college first opened its doors for classes in 1964.

Students completing their first and second years of the nursing program will participate in a pinning ceremony at the campus the evening prior. Both ceremonies will be tobacco-free, including e-cigarettes. Offices at all campuses and centers will close at 3 p.m. on commencement day.

50th logo v3.eps“In September 1964, we welcomed 491 students, and 50 years later, we serve over 14,000 students annually,” said Cochise College president J.D. Rottweiler. “A local institution of higher education makes a tremendous impact on a community. It’s an honor for us to be here to mark this milestone in the college’s history and to continue its mission to serve the citizens of Cochise County.”

All graduates will wear red gowns this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary. The ceremony will also feature alumni marshals from the first graduating classes at the college: 1965 graduate Fred Necoechea and 1966 graduates John and Rosaline Pintek and David Mosow.

This year, Cochise College will award about 1,500 diplomas for the summer and fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters, and about 300 students are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies. Live online streaming, accessed at, will allow friends and relatives to see everything from the processional to the last graduate crossing the stage.

GradImages will photograph all graduates at the commencement ceremony. Graduates should visit and click Pre-Event Email Registration to enter their email addresses and up to six emails of loved ones who would like to view and order photos. Students who register their information before commencement on May 15 can get $5 off on orders of $25 or more. After graduation, order online at or call (800) 261-2576.

Blake Suarez
Blake Suarez

The student speaker at commencement will be Blake Suarez, the president of the Sierra Vista Student Government Association. He is majoring in biology and plans to transfer to the University of Arizona. Suarez is an All-Arizona scholar and a member of science department’s undergraduate research team that has earned national recognition for studies of bean beetles and wildlife navigation. He also has been a representative on the National Collegiate Honors Council and is a former vice president of communications for Phi Theta Kappa – Alpha Mu Zeta chapter.

Two new faculty emeriti will also be honored during the commencement festivities: art instructor Monte Surratt and Spanish instructor Martha Bordelois.

Surratt was hired at Cochise College in 1989, and he continues to teach part-time after his retirement in 2012. Surratt attended the University of Arizona throughout his college career, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1972 and his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1979. In his 22 years at Cochise, he was a recipient of the NISOD Excellence Award and also served as a department chair for seven years and an associate dean for eight years.

“It’s been very rewarding. I couldn’t ask for a better job — if you have to have a job and work for someone,” he laughed. “I just really have enjoyed my time here, and that’s why I’m still doing it.”

Bordelois holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Havana. She was hired at Cochise College as a part-time instructor in 1990 and full time in 1993. She retired in 2012. In addition to Spanish classes, she also taught Russian, a language she learned as a young woman prior to moving to the United States, where she mastered English as a third language by taking classes at Cochise College. Bordelois represented the college at a convention of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese in Puerto Rico in 2000. She was also a recipient of the NISOD Excellence Award.

“I’m still learning; my entire life is a learning experience,” she said. “Teaching is my passion. I grew up a lot in that institution and I learned a lot there, from my students and all my colleagues.”

The pinning ceremony recognizing this year’s nursing class will begin at 7 p.m. May 14 on the Douglas Campus. About 100 students will participate, with first-year students recognized for earning certification and second-year students honored for earning their Associate of Applied Science degree, making them eligible to take the exam to become a registered nurse.

Archeology collection unveiling in Sierra Vista on May 12

Cochise College history instructor Becky Orozco places artifacts in the new archeology display last week on the Sierra Vista Campus.


SIERRA VISTA — Cochise College will host a reception to unveil a new archeology collection on display in the lobby of the Andrea Cracchiolo Library on the Sierra Vista Campus at 4:30 p.m. May 12, prior to the monthly governing board meeting.

“The Prehistoric Peoples of Cochise County” is a collection of artifacts from an archeology program that thrived during the first two decades after Cochise College opened its doors. Students studied archeology and anthropology through excavation and survey programs.

Artifacts on display include ceramics, stone and other assorted materials.
Artifacts on display include ceramics, stone and other assorted materials.

“At least seven major excavations took place during the years of the active program,” said Rebecca Orozco, history instructor at the college. “Surveys that collected sample materials during the years of the archeology program covered the whole county, resulting in a study collection of ceramics from prehistoric cultures in the area that rivals or indeed surpasses any other existing collection.”

The college has also received donations from local families of items collected over many years from Cochise County and northern Mexico, as well as a 1974 donation of artifacts seized by U.S. Customs.

“Cochise College possesses an incredible resource,” Orozco said. “We have quite a collection of artifacts, including ceramics, stone, and assorted other materials.”

Becky Orozco arranges stone tools in the display housed in the library on the Sierra Vista Campus.
Becky Orozco arranges stone tools in the display housed in the library on the Sierra Vista Campus.

The new display is the second installation to showcase these artifacts; the first is housed in the entrance of the Administration Building on the Douglas Campus. Both displays are funded by a contribution from alumni John and Rosaline Pintek, Bisbee and Douglas natives, respectively. John Pintek was the college’s first Student Government president and is a former Cochise County sheriff.

The display cabinets on the Douglas Campus were re-purposed by Department of Corrections students under the instruction of Douglas Curtis. They also drew up the plans for the Sierra Vista Campus cabinets, which were built by Alma Hunt’s Building Construction Technology class. Hunt’s cabinetmaking students at Willcox High School helped build the floating shelves to hold the artifacts in the cabinet.

For more information about “The Prehistoric Peoples of Cochise County” reception or the collection, contact Orozco at or (520) 417-4772.

Anyone needing an accommodation in order to attend the reception should contact the Disability Services Office at (520) 515-5337 or (520) 417-4023 at least 72 hours in advance.

College board to hold public hearing on tax rate

The Cochise College Governing Board will consider an increase to the primary property tax levy for Cochise College following a public hearing in May.

The Cochise County Community College District, in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute 15-1461.01, has published notices alerting the district’s property taxpayers of the intent to increase its primary property taxes over last year’s amount.

According to those notices, the college is proposing a 2 percent increase in primary property tax revenues, as allowed by state law. The increase would generate about $393,089 of additional revenue, aside from revenue generated from new construction. As a result of the new rate, the actual amount of primary property taxes paid on a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would increase from $213.29 to $217.56.

All interested citizens are invited to attend the public hearing on the tax increase that is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 12 in the Horace Steele Conference Room in the Andrea Cracchiolo Library on the Sierra Vista Campus, located at 901 N. Colombo Ave.

Anyone needing an accommodation in order to attend should contact the Disability Services Office at (520) 515-5337 or (520) 417-4023 at least 72 hours in advance.