Exciting projects set tone for 2018

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

J.D. RottweilerHere we are, at another beginning, before us a new year and another semester during which to make a difference for students and communities. Cochise College enters 2018 feeling energized and hopeful. We have some really great things brewing, and just over a year from now, we should begin to see some of the first outcomes of our student success initiatives and the Graduating Senior Scholarship Guarantee. Specifically, we’ll know how many participating members of Cochise County’s high school Class of 2018 completed their first semester at Cochise and, hopefully, registered for the second.

These outcomes will provide clues on how well our outreach and student success efforts are working, as well as what specific challenges students face. We definitely have our work cut out for us.

To help prepare for spring 2018, we pushed the start of classes back a week, allowing students extra time to register. In addition, Cochise College faculty participated in 2018 Faculty Professional Development Week. Breakout sessions led by faculty and staff took advantage of the array of on-the-ground expertise that is just a phone call or an email away. Topics included things like Making Amazing Things Happen in CTE (career and technical education), Integrating Strategies for Teaching Students with Mental Illness, Supporting Student Learning with Virtual Reality, Barely There to Fully Aware: Engaging Students, and many others.

Quality instruction is part of the package that led Cochise to earn national recognitions in recent years. While we value those, we also acknowledge that they wouldn’t be possible without important credentials.

For example, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs recently awarded continuing accreditation to the college’s emergency medical services and paramedic program. This accreditation recognizes the program’s substantial compliance with nationally established accreditation standards. The process involved an on-site peer review, the next of which is scheduled to occur no later than 2023.

In addition, the college aviation program recently achieved renewal of its FAA Part 141 operating certificate, which entailed an inspection of instructor records, current and past student records,  facilities and curriculum. The Part 141 Air Agency Certificate is valid until November 2019 and ensures that students who complete their flight training under Part 141 and graduate with an associate’s degree in aviation,  are eligible for the R-ATP (Restricted – Air Transport Pilot). This allows graduates the opportunity to apply for the ATP with reduced hours (1250 total time) and be employed as a first officer with the regional airlines.

The FAA used the Cochise College site visit as a training tool, bringing additional personnel to learn the inspection process at Cochise because of its reputation within the flight training industry. Cochise has a solid safety record and exceeds recordkeeping, reporting and training standards, making it a good example for new inspectors.

To follow up on a leadership academy for employees, the college has extended the program to students for the first time. More than 30 students are expected to participate in the training program scheduled for early February. Needless to say, we are excited for an opportunity to offer a little something extra that is of value to future leaders.

Those are just a few of the exciting things that happened around the time we moved into 2018. Space and time restrict all that I can report here, but please stay tuned for updates on what is sure to be a memorable 2018.

Happy New Year!

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