Cochise College ranked among the Most Affordable Online Colleges

The online program at Cochise College has been featured in SR Education Group’s 2020 national online college rankings. The college is among the top 25 Most Affordable Online Colleges. Ranked No. 23 of 194 online schools, Cochise College is the only Arizona Community College listed.

The study took into account college tuition and fees, cost per student, and school spending efficiency. Additionally, active and collaborative learning, academic challenge and student effort, support for learners, student-faculty ratio and interaction, retention, graduation and transfer rates, and the ratio of starting salary for graduates to the cost of education were considered.

Some of the popular online degrees offered at Cochise College include Economics, Social and Behavioral Science, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, and Computer Programming. Online classes include Composition, English Composition, College Mathematics, Business Statistics, Business Communications, Introduction to Information Systems, Introduction to Sociology, and Introduction to Psychology.

SR Education Group is a leading education research publisher founded in 2004. The company researched 1,943 online colleges to determine the best online schools in the nation. The rankings on highlight online colleges that provide the best return on investment.

Most Affordable Award


Founder’s legacy paves alumni path to success

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

J.D. RottweilerDr. William Harwood spent only two years at Cochise College, but his impact is felt today. Filling the role of college president after the first died unexpectedly less than a year prior to the 1964 start of school, Harwood quickly set about assembling faculty and institutional leaders from across the nation.

Harwood’s goal was for Cochise College to be good, rather than big.

Dr. Harwood will be inducted posthumously into the Cochise College Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Sierra Vista Campus. He might be proud to know that being inducted with him are beneficiaries of his work – David LaClair (‘99), an accomplished entrepreneur, and Javier Fimbres (‘77), an award-winning community volunteer. Mary Hall Pope (‘78), a pilot who flies internationally, will be celebrated at a later date.

LaClair attended his first college class – a Windows administration course – while in eighth grade. He earned three associate’s degrees and was an intern on Fort Huachuca by the time he graduated from Buena High School. He quickly earned a bachelor’s in computer science with a minor in mathematics and a master’s in electronics and computer engineering. He received the top award for his master’s computer engineering project at ASU. As a student at Cochise and after graduation, he was active with the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). He provided an example for others of the many opportunities to get ahead via dual enrollment, placement testing, and summer courses. At 20, David was hired as a senior engineer for Lockheed Martin, where he wrote a contract proposal, developed and managed the largest computerized educational training for the U.S. Army at Fort Eustis, Virginia. In 2005, just six years after leaving Cochise College, LaClair founded Insignia Technology Services, which provides enterprise class IT services to commercial and federal customers in software development, mobile computing, system engineering, cloud hosting and security. Insignia was recognized for its growth, culture and leadership and is a multi-year Inc. 500 awardee.

Javier Fimbres goes by “Shorty” and is known around Douglas, where he graduated from high school, for his signature role with the Douglas Food Bank, for which he earned the first Carol Huddleston Volunteer of the Year Award from the Arizona Community Foundation of Cochise in 2015. Shorty played baseball at Cochise and keeps in touch with many teammates. His career was with the City of Douglas Water Department. After graduating from Cochise in the 1970s, he coached Little League and Babe Ruth teams and introduced Tee Ball to the community. He was a member of the National Guard and served in the Middle East during Desert Storm. He volunteered in various capacities with the local school district. In retirement, he built a track for dirt bikes at one of the city’s parks and can often be found organizing golf tournaments. All in all, his nomination said, he’s a person who has committed personal time, effort and interest for the benefit of others.

Mary Hall Pope (‘78) has a great reason for missing the induction next month. A graduate of the Cochise College Aviation Program, she flies regularly to London, Frankfurt and domestic destinations for American Airlines. One of the first women to pursue flight training at Cochise, she has been an ambassador for the aviation program for 40 years. Mary supports amateur auto racing, a hobby she inherited from her father. At the Willcox Inde Race Track, she works with drivers, inspects race cars, and sometimes competes for fun. She also works with Arizona’s black lab rescue and encourages young women to enter the Cochise College flight program. Asked for a resume, Mary said she “never really needed one; in aviation, it’s certification, attitude and reputation that speaks for an applicant. I got that in the Cochise flight program.”

I can’t think of a better endorsement than that, and I’m proud that these alumni were able to take advantage of educational opportunities made possible by the visionary founders of Cochise College.

J.D. ROTTWEILER, Ph.D., is president of Cochise College. Contact him at

Bring family and friends to Haunted Union

Cochise College will be holding its annual Haunted Union from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 in the Student Union on the Sierra Vista Campus.

The event is open to all ages, students as well as members of the community, to enjoy carnival games, costume contests, Haunted Union Flyerand food on campus while fundraising for Cochise College clubs.

Attendees buy tickets, $0.50 each to use at the carnival and food booths manned by student clubs.

For more information about Haunted Union, contact Student Government Association Sierra Vista Campus at

Apply now for scholarships and financial aid

The Cochise College, Financial Aid Office, recommends students to submit the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This reminder is for students who are planning to attend college next school year (fall 2020, spring 2021, and summer 2021 semesters).  

Cochise College’s federal school code is 001072.

Financial aid processing may require several steps and can take six to eight weeks to complete. Additional documentation may be requested by students who have already begun the form. Students can check their college account to find out if other documentation is needed.

Cochise College’s online Award Spring scholarship application system is also open for students applying for financial aid for the 2020 – 2021 academic year.

March 31 is the Award Spring scholarship application deadline.

May 1 is the priority deadline for Financial Aid.

All students at Cochise College can apply for scholarships through the Award Spring link. 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 application process, as soon as possible after October 1.

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

College offers a free film showing in honor of National Disability Month

In honor of National Disability Employment Month, Cochise College’s Multicultural Film Series will present “Wonder,” a film depicting the story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) who was born with facial differences. The film shows his extraordinary journey when he enters mainstream school after being homeschooled all of his life.

According to the Baltimore Sun, “Wonder” has a “wonderful message about tolerance, acceptance, understanding, and respect.”

The characters are crafted to show complex personalities. For instance, The Wrap points out that the film is a “reminder that even the people who might be making us miserable have their problems and their people who are making them miserable.”

Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson star as Auggies’s parents.

The public is invited to this free event. Light refreshments will be provided free of charge.

For the Douglas area, the film will be shown on Wednesday, October 2, at 6 pm in the Community Room (in the Student Union Building) on Cochise College’s Douglas Campus.

For the Sierra Vista area, the film will be shown on Thursday, October 3, at 6 pm in the Horace Steele Room (in the Library Building) on Cochise College’s Sierra Vista Campus.

The film is rated PG and is 113 minutes long. This event is sponsored by Cochise College’s Humanities/Fine Arts Department and the Multicultural Film Series. For more information, contact Tanya Biami at (520) 515-5316.

Annual Pit Fire Pottery Festival held Oct. 4

The annual Pit Fire Pottery Festival will be held on Friday, October 4 starting at 5:00 p.m. on the Cochise College Douglas Campus. The festival showcases the arts and raises funds to support the Cochise College art program. The free event will feature artists, live music, performances, art displays, vendors, savory soup from the Cochise College Culinary students, and fireworks. This year, several scholarships will be awarded to art and culinary arts students. The headliner band will be Chris Kane Trio.


Each year, one talented student studying ceramics is selected to make 1000 soup bowls. Kathryn Hill, a student, attending classes on the Sierra Vista campus was chosen to design and create bowls for the festival.


Hill started taking courses at the college since she was in the 11th grade. “When I took my first pottery class, I was ecstatic to learn how to use a pottery wheel,” Hill recalled. “My family is one of artists. I remember as a young child making pots and stuff out of clay and enjoying it.” 


When asked about participating in this year’s pit fire festival, Hill said, “I am so honored. I hope the bowls I created inspire others to take on a project that might seem impossible. If I can make 1000 bowls, then anyone can complete a big task as I did. I want people to realize their potential.” 


For $10 you can purchase the hand-crafted ceramic bowl and fill it with savory soup made by the college’s culinary arts club. This year All of the proceeds support the college’s art department and clubs who participate as vendors. 


Please be aware many vendors accept only cash, and there are no ATMs on site.


 A pit fire is an ancient method of “baking” clay that has been placed in a hole or pit dug into the ground with a wood fire burning above, resulting in pieces covered in swirls of colors and patterns. Cochise College celebrates this technique with a festival to celebrate the arts. 


The Pit Fire Lighting is scheduled to be around 7:00 p.m. Dry, windy, and unstable weather may delay the Pit Fire Lighting. On Saturday morning, students and volunteers will dig the pots out of the coals. 


For more information, go to or like the Cochise College Pit Fire Festival Facebook page.

Event helps students, parents begin financial aid process

Students who plan to attend college can get free, on-site professional assistance completing financial aid forms and talk to financial aid professionals about financial resources and how to apply at FAFSA Night.

Representatives of Cochise College will answer questions and assist students in applying for financial aid and scholarships. This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, October 9, 5-7 p.m.

    • Buena High School, Lecture Pod, 5225 E. Buena School Blvd. Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

Wednesday, December 11, 5-7 p.m.

    • Buena High School, Lecture Pod, 5225 E. Buena School Blvd. Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

Wednesday, February 12, 5-7 p.m.

    • Buena High School, Lecture Pod, 5225 E. Buena School Blvd. Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

Students and their parents can receive help filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be submitted automatically through the internet. By filling out the application, students can learn whether they qualify for grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study funds.

Students who are 23 years old or younger, single and have no dependents should bring a parent. Parents can attend with their student or come in their place. Both students and parents should bring their 2018 tax-return forms, student and parent’s social security numbers, W-2 forms, or other income information. Students who are 24 years old or older, married or have dependents, serving in the military or have served, can attend without a parent and should bring their own 2018 tax-return forms, W-2 forms, or other income information.

Information about accessing scholarships will be available. Students do not need to bring anything to support their scholarship applications but can learn more details at and follow up with questions at the event.

FAFSA Priority Deadlines:

Cochise College – Friday, May 1, 2020

Northern Arizona University – Friday, November 15, 2019

Arizona State University – Wednesday, January 1, 2020

University of Arizona – Sunday, March 1, 2020

To learn more, call the Cochise College Financial Aid Office at (520) 515-5417. Additional information about financial aid and scholarships is available on the college website at

Fall bonfire celebrates student learning

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

J.D. RottweilerNot long after I arrived at Cochise College, an event that showcased our students and academic programs drew my attention. The Pit Fire Festival was in its third or fourth year, and it was drawing crowds to the Douglas Campus to celebrate the traditional firing of ceramics. Many community members and art groups attended, and the festival was a collegewide collaboration of departments and student organizations.

The visibility of the Art Department and the popularity of the classes helped put Art on a list of four campus A’s that became priorities for investment and enhancement. The others were aviation and athletics, both of which were renewed a few years later, and agriculture, which will see some changes in the next few months.

The result for the Art Department included the construction several years ago of a stage for the pit fire and other events, and this year, a major renovation of the art classroom building, to include the construction of an outdoor kiln area. Student and community interest in the program made it clear that these projects were important.

Attendees of this year’s pit fire festival will have a chance to walk through the new learning space. But while they’re appreciating the new, they’ll also get to witness the traditional. The festival that in past years has been carried out with a theme this year is going back to basics.

What do I mean by that? We’re refocusing on one of the educational aspects that first inspired the event, and that is traditional firing of pottery. Ancient residents of the Southwest made utilitarian pottery without the benefit of a modern kiln. Instead, they formed vessels from clay, dug a wide shallow pit, lined it with ceramics, built a structure of flammable material, lit a fire and kept it at a high temperature for long enough to cure the pieces.

Our pit fire is very similar. A pit is dug on the northeast side of campus. Art faculty bury hundreds of pieces of student work under wooden pallets. The fire is lit around 7 p.m. It burns large and hot for many hours, making a fabulous backdrop for musical and dance performances, as well as a dinner of homemade soup and bread made by culinary arts students. The fire’s glow can be seen for miles around. When the coals have cooled over the next few days, the pieces are removed. Sometimes there have been exhibits of the work. This year, some of it will be available at Sierra Vista’s Art in the Park. This includes leftover bowls made by one art student chosen to make 1,000 of the same piece, available to pit fire guests for a small donation.

I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a fall Friday evening than relaxing by a bonfire with a bowl of soup, and sharing student learning and achievement with friends and supporters from across the county. Join us from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at the Douglas Campus to witness this fantastic experience for yourself. And thank you to APS and all of the others who have provided financial support for art scholarships over the years. We look forward to celebrating the new and the traditional with you again next month.

J.D. ROTTWEILER, Ph.D., is president of Cochise College. Contact him at

College closed for Labor Day

Cochise College will be closed Monday, September 2 in observance of Labor Day. The normal class schedule and regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, will resume Tuesday, September 3 at all campuses and centers.