Renewal is what’s happening at Cochise College

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

J.D. RottweilerAttendees of Cochise College’s 54th commencement in May were among the last to see the Douglas Campus Student Union in all of its shabby chic glory. The college this summer is modernizing the union and the art program facilities to create more inspiring learning and living space for students.

Gone from the Student Union, first built in the 1960s and remodeled a few times since, is the track mounted accordion curtain that legions of employees and students have struggled to open and close when attending functions in a cordoned-off space in the cafeteria. Also gone are the disco balls, the decade of origin you can probably guess, though they’ve been used occasionally at various functions in recent years.

Hopefully, the environment that will be in place when students arrive for the fall semester will help them and alumni to overlook the loss of the vintage digs in which memories were made. Renovation of the Que Pas snack bar constituted Phase 1 of the complex Student Union remodel. The Que Pas no longer serves food but still is a student hangout, with tables for dining or study, billiards and ping pong tables, and access to the porch to be modernized in the future. Further into the building will be a convenience store where students can pick up snacks, toiletries and other small items, and a community room/classroom that can seat up to 80-100 people. The flow of the serving and payment area will change somewhat, and there will be new kitchen and serving equipment (and the return of a soft-serve ice cream machine!). The kitchen floor is now coated in slip-resistant Granite Grip. The dining area includes storage for tables and chairs that used to be stacked in a corner, and it will have new paint, carpet, window coverings and LED lights. The dishwashing area has been relocated and the restrooms remodeled. Under the floors and behind the walls are new pipes and wiring. I’m pleased to report that the distinctive brick arches in the Que Pas and the two nearby fireplaces with their shiny copper hoods remain.

Though the Student Union space most recently used as an art gallery is smaller, the college has made new investments in the art instruction areas in the 1900 Building, previously a metal butler building that was still occupied though it long ago reached the end of its useful life, and the 2200 Building, which opened about 10 years ago to welding, arts and agriculture.

The north side of the 1900 Building, which some might remember as an agriculture classroom, is being demolished. The south side, most recently used as a somewhat meandering indoor/outdoor art learning space, is being reroofed and converted into an airy 3,000-square-foot outdoor kiln area that will include three electric and two gas kilns. Students will have easy access to new art classrooms just steps away in the 2200 building. An outdoor fabrication area was enclosed to create a 2D art classroom for 24, a clay room, a glaze room and two additional art classrooms with plenty of storage space. The ceramics classrooms are intended to help mitigate dust that can impact a student’s final product. The space incorporates an open design and plenty of natural light, and an outdoor area that has been prone to flooding is being regraded.

We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and knowledgeable facilities, maintenance and custodial staff to help with these projects. I can’t name them all but want to extend sincere thanks to every employee, contractor and inmate laborer who is going above and beyond to turn these projects into reality, as well as to those who will accommodate student needs until the projects are complete. You are proud of this institution and it shows.

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

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 $50, based on a sliding scale according to household income.

Registration for classes on the Sierra Vista and Douglas campuses is from July 15 through August 7 for classes starting Tuesday, August 13. Apply at the Adult Education/1400 Building in Sierra Vista or the Adult Education/400 Building on the Douglas Campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

At the Benson Center, registration sessions are offered between 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 14-15. Benson classes begin Monday, August 19.

At the Willcox Center, registration sessions are offered at each location between 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 13-14. Willcox classes begin on Monday, August 19.

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 the Adult Education web page, for more information.

Register now for fall classes

Cochise College has released its Fall 2019 schedule of courses. Students can register either online through MyCochise or in person at any campus or center.
Fall semester classes begin Aug. 19. Find out more important dates and deadlines by viewing the Academic Calendar.

If you are a current student with less than 15 credits completed before the end of the summer semester, you must make an appointment with your advisor before registering for fall 2019 classes.

Tuition and fees for fall classes are due by Wednesday, July 17, 2019, by a payment plan, financial aid award, Veteran’s Benefits or payment-in-full. Registration will continue with payment due the same day that you register.

For more information, contact Admissions and Registration at (520) 515-5336 or 5415 or Advising at (520) 515-5483.

Complete Financial aid application

The Cochise College Financial Aid Office is reminding students who are planning to attend college in the fall that now is the time to complete the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Go to Cochise College school code is 001072.

The fall semester begins Monday, Aug. 19. Financial aid processing may require several steps and can take six to eight weeks to complete. Additional documentation may be requested from students who have already begun the form. Students can check their college account to find out if other documentation is needed.

For more information, call the Financial Aid Office at (520) 515-5417.

Summer camps start in June through July.

Cochise College’s annual Summer Campus kicks off on June 3. There are 22 different activities for students in grades 4-12.

Summer camps engage students to continue learning even when school is not in session. All camps are held Monday-Thursday on the Sierra Vista Campus and cost $125/week.

New programs this year are Kinetic Painting, Pottery Wheel Ceramics, 3D Printing, Coding with Scratch I, Game Design Using Scratch II, and Advanced Design Build Engineering II.

Programs that are back by popular demand are Video Game Design I, Rocketry, and Welding. Welding was the first class filled.

Visit the college website or contact Angela Moreno at (520) 515-3630 for more information.

College closed for Memorial Day

Cochise College will be closed Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day. The normal class schedule and regular business hours, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, will resume Tuesday, May 28 at all campuses and centers.

College offices on summer hours until August

Cochise College will start summer hours from May 20 through August 9. Offices at all campuses and centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Summer classes begin May 28. View the Academic Calendar to find out more.

Cochise College Dining hours:

Sierra Vista Campus Union Cafe

May 20 – August 9

Monday – Thursday

7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Friday – Closed

Downtown Center Cafe

May 20 – August: Closed for the summer and will reopen when fall classes begin.

Douglas Campus Dining Hall

Due to construction in the Student Union, we will only serve students with meal plans at a temporary serving area in Que Pas. This will be a modified brunch and dinner schedule (10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

Faculty, staff, and students, please be prepared to provide your lunch until the construction has ended in late July or early August.

Construction updates will be provided as available.

Registration for fall classes is going on now. The fall semester begins on August 19. Regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, resume August 13.

Commencement celebrates students, faculty, alumni

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

J.D. RottweilerThe month of May belongs to students, faculty and alumni. Friday evening, Cochise College awarded 1,596 associate’s degrees. What an amazing year of student successes and achievements.

Nobody sums up the value of Cochise College better than this year’s student commencement speaker, Rachel Hansen. Her speech celebrated her experience with dedicated and intriguing faculty who spend their lives immersed in curriculum so they can give real life perspective to lessons, who pour their hearts into programs to challenge students at all levels to think outside the box, and who share opportunities with past students that they believe would appeal to them.

What stuck out for her the most? The students. From new moms, single parents and veterans, to high school students and those seeking to follow in their parents’ footsteps, it is the students who make Cochise College what it is.

“Each of them – each of us – and our journeys are stories of true success. Our success didn’t come with an acceptance letter; it came only by way of hard work and dedication. For it’s not IQ, talent, or social standing that determines success – it’s grit. It’s unwavering perseverance, resilient passion, and the stamina to fight for your goals, not just for weeks or months, but for years – even decades.”

Commencement is an opportunity to celebrate faculty, too, and two recent retirees were named faculty emeritus.

A former student nominated Randy Dorman, who retired a year ago, for this honor. During 31 years at the college, Randy taught everything from basic arithmetic through the calculus sequence, differential equations and linear algebra.

“Without his help, I wouldn’t have earned my associate’s degree in mathematics. I know I’m just another face in the history of students he’s taught over the years…Still, he has made a difference in my life and many others…I’m hoping with this nomination I can sincerely show my thanks for what Mr. Dorman has done for me.”

Helen Garcia’s nomination points to her varied contributions as a faculty member in nursing. She developed the critical care clinical rotation and shared the challenges facing rural nursing education when she served on the Arizona State Board of Nursing Education Subcommittee. She served as a preceptor for three nurses pursuing master’s degree. Under her leadership, the Student Nurses Association at Cochise College grew from 10 to 80 members and volunteered on blood drives, in nursing homes, and at Echoing Hope Ranch.

Leading the Class of 2019 to their seats were two honored alumni marshals with stories of their own, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels (‘85) and Douglas High School Principal Dr. Andrea Overman (‘89).

Sheriff Dannels enrolled at Cochise while serving as a mail man at Fort Huachuca. He graduated in a year and a half, worked for the Bisbee Police Department, then climbed the ranks within the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office before being elected sheriff in 2012. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees along the way and attributes his success to his exposure to iconic leaders in Cochise County who he met through his classes at Cochise.

Dr. Overman’s story is one of persistence. Living and working in Douglas, she took Cochise College classes as she could. She later traveled, sometimes extensively, to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Having held a variety of teaching and administrative positions in the Douglas schools, it was upon accepting the position of principal that she felt her job and education aligned. She’s retiring and this is her last year with the school district.

This is a column about people and impact. Of all the visible accomplishments by Cochise College faculty and staff, none is more meaningful than the impact the institution has on students. You all make us Cochise College proud.

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

GED Recognition Ceremony

Cochise College Adult Education will recognize GED graduates from the past year. The Recognition Ceremony will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, in the Community Room in the Student Union on the Sierra Vista campus. The event will award High School Equivalency diplomas to Adult Education students who passed all five GED tests in the past year. Three students will also be inducted into the Adult Education Honor Society. One student will be recognized as a Wick Scholarship recipient. Two GED Grads will present keynote speeches. The public is welcome to attend.