2022-2023 Winners

Districtwide Winner

Up-Skilling Adult Education Students: A Collaborative Career Training and Partnership Pathway Model

Rio Salado College

In an Inside Higher Ed report, Gandal (2021) stressed, "To achieve greater equity, community colleges must bridge the divide between noncredit and credit programs." Rio Salado College (RSC) Adult Education (AE) has initiated multiple innovative partnerships to create college bridge solutions and help noncredit adult education students access and succeed in college-level career training programs. RSC AE’s innovative workforce preparation partnerships support a diverse population of adult learners who embody the mission of community colleges and remain vital to Arizona’s local economy.  RSC AE’s innovative integrated education and career training partnership solutions are impactful, collaborative, and scalable. They reduce costs and remove barriers for underprepared learners. These creative partnerships help learners build academic and employability skills to access, persist, and complete college-level coursework and seek fulfilling careers with family-sustaining wages.

Team Members

RSC Adult Education Team: 

  • Tamara Cochran, Dean of Instruction and Community Development, RSC
  • Kim Anderson, Southern Manager, RSC 
  • Rodney Bennett, Navigator, RSC 
  • Michael Benvin, Tempe Manager, RSC 
  • Marina Bilgin, Northern Manager, RSC 
  • Lily Beth Brazones, VLA Manager, RSC 
  • Simin Broumand Kia, Thomas Supervisor, RSC 
  • Christina Calderon, Thomas Manager, RSC 
  • Elizabeth Cole, Director, RSC
  • Aliza Dodell, Southern Supervisor, RSC 
  • Tara Gallardo, Navigator, RSC 
  • Melanie Hagman, Avondale Supervisor, RSC 
  • Barbara Khalsa, Associate Dean, RSC 
  • Melissa Lawrence, Surprise Manager, RSC 
  • Neely Lewis, Surprise Supervisor, RSC 
  • Miranda Lopez, Director, RSC 
  • Beatriz Montes de Oca Valadez, Avondale Manager, RSC 
  • Nicole Sabino-Coker, Downtown Supervisor, RSC 
  • Dr. Nuria Sanchez, Director, RSC 
  • Jennifer Shaffer, Director, RSC 
  • Kelly Stewart, Associate Dean, RSC 
  • John Van Meter, Site Manager, RSC
  • Andrea Vazquez, Downtown Manager, RSC 
  • Adam Wetterhan, Navigator, RSC 
  • Nikki Zimmerman, Workforce Supervisor, RSC 
  • Regina Hernandez-Garcia, Northern Instructional Supervisor, RSC
    • RSC Adult Education Instructors/Staff at Locations, VLA, and Partner Sites
    • RSC Faculty Chairs and Student Affairs
    • Phoenix College and South Mountain Community College
    • West-MEC
    • Chicanos Por La Causa


The Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP) is a collaboration that fosters a culture in which K-14 teachers/faculty and administrators are encouraged, supported, and expected to grow professionally through a commitment to improving student success in mathematics. AMP is a professional development program for Arizona K-14 mathematics teachers that emphasizes instruction and curriculum development as emerging from a process where teachers are focused on student thinking. Our guiding philosophy is that student achievement can only be increased by first enhancing teachers’ knowledge and skills in both content and pedagogy. When teachers have a profound understanding of the mathematical ideas that they teach, they are better able to select and adapt effective tasks, ask probing questions that prompt students to think deeply, and assess students’ learning in meaningful ways. AMP has been collaborating with CGCC partner schools for two years to promote excellence in mathematics education.

Team Members

  • Dr. Scott Adamson, Residential Mathematics Faculty, CGCC 
  • Dr. April Strom, Residential Mathematics Faculty, CGCC 
  • Dr. Trey Cox, Residential Mathematics Faculty, CGCC 
  • Dr. Jim Vicich, Mathematics Faculty Emeritus, CGCC 
  • Prof. Pamela Woodbury, Mathematics Division Chair, CGCC 
  • Dr. Greg Peterson, President, CGCC 
  • Dr. Bill Guerriero, Vice President of Academic Affairs, CGCC

Colleges, the District, and the Foundation managed and operated separate scholarship applications and systems. This approach created a variety of byzantine barriers for our students seeking to enroll and obtain tuition support. Additionally, the timing and notification of awards were variable. Students weren’t being notified in a timely manner. The District and Foundation came together in collaboration developing a remarkable multi-year initiative. They set out to solve these problems: increase the accessibility, streamline the scholarship applications, and timely notification of scholarship awards.

Subsequently, the collaborative team across the District came together to define the problem & create the solution. The team identified a platform called NextGen which was acquired through a rigorous procurement process leading to its implementation across the system. The project required two parallel systems to simultaneously accept scholarships during the testing phase. Success was achieved and the NextGen Scholarship Manager Platform combined both College and Foundation scholarships into one easy-to-use system. It streamlined the process and enabled students to easily apply for hundreds of scholarships with one portal increasing scholarship applications dramatically!

Team Members

  • Bea Rendon: Student Services Director - Systems/ District Financial Aid Operations, DO
  • Annette Linders: District Director of Financial Aid Operations and Compliance, DO
  • Julie Smith: SIS Production Manager, Information Technology Services, DO
  • Aimee Pearce: Assistant Director, Financial Aid, and Student Affairs, DO
  • Karley Mellberg: Scholarship Fund Administrator- Foundation, MCCCDF
  • Vickie Ungor: Student Services Analyst Senior, DO
  • Joseph Cooper: Software Developer Specialist, DO
  • Brian F. Spicker, President and CEO, MCCCDF

The focus of this program is to provide students with the much-needed research skills to be successful in STEM fields. According to a report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in January 2021, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2019–29 employment projections show that occupations in the STEM field are expected to grow 8.0 percent by 2029, compared with 3.7 percent for all occupations.”  So it is imperative colleges help address that growing need by providing these types of programs that have been proven to increase persistence and completion. The program was offered through a partnership between EMCC STEM Center of Excellence and the EMCC Development Office. The program was held during both the fall and spring sessions from August 2022 to May 2023. Faculty Research Mentors will create and lead students through a STEM research project to gain valuable research skills such as the development of team ethics, problem-solving, and communication skills and a better understanding of their career path while also acquiring specific STEM lab-related skills. Included in these were; 3D design, 3D printing, using/troubleshooting analytical lab equipment, extracting DNA, pouring gels, working with chemicals, and more. Participants worked with STEM faculty, STEM lab staff to get the support they needed to be successful, many of them claiming it was a life-changing or major confirming experience.

Team Members

  • Jonathan Robles, Director Alumni, Corporate & Foundation Relations, Office of the President, EMCC 
  • Liahla Roberts, STEM Coordinator, STEM Center of Excellence, EMCC
  • Debra Maihofer, Program Analyst, Corporate & Foundation Relations Office of the President, EMCC
  • Kimberley Harrell, Vice President of Academic Affairs, EMCC
  • Filippo Posta, Math Faculty & STEM Director, EMCC

The SIS Attendance Tracking System (SATS) is a fully integrated solution for attendance tracking, which updates the student attendance records in real-time, eliminates data duplicity, removes shadow systems, provides a scalable architecture, leverages SIS security, and can be adapted for any other institution in MCCCD and as a direct consequence of its implementation, allows the Student Services and Clock Hour Programs areas to streamline their operations while empowering the students to record and keep track of their time punches without having to depend on faculty members or college staff.

Team Members

  • Leah Smith-Thompson, Student Services Supervisor, GWC
  • Cassie Capizzi, Student Services Analyst,GWC 
  • Kristie Fok, Director of Admissions & Records, Registrar, GWC
  • Leo Serrano Mena, Network and Systems Specialist, GWC
  • Michael Tapscott, Massage Therapy Instructional Svc Coord Senior, GWC
  • Mike Kapadya, Program Analyst, GWC
  • Toni Peoples, Beauty & Wellness Instructor Senior, GWC
  • Kelly Escoto, ECG Technician Instructor Senior, GWC
  • Joanne Perez-Arreola,Student Help Desk Coord, Instructor Senior, GWC
  • Bruce Thompson, Computer Foundations Instructor, GWC
  • Jay Hernandez, Meat Cutting Instructor Senior, GWC
  • Robin Diehl, Beauty & Wellness Instructor Senior, GWC
  • Mona Starks, Training Devel Consultant, GWC
  • Steve Gerlock, Business Systems Analyst, GWC
  • Chad Fingerson, Software Developer Senior, DO
  • Cheryl Laieski, Information Technology Director, DO
  • Hector Lara Rochin, Software Developer Specialist, DO
  • Joseph Cooper, Software Developer Specialist, DO
  • LeAnn Reyes, Business Systems Analyst Sr, DO
  • Neeraj Sharma, Information Technology Mgr, DO
  • Paulette Schnyder, Business Systems Analyst Sr, DO
  • Julie Smith, Information Technology Mgr, DO

The Reimagine Teaching and Learning Project (Reimagine) at Glendale Community College started in 2019 and is comprised of three primary ways to participate: 1. The cohort experience for faculty participants to re-envision their courses through a semester-based, 16-week cohort experience; 2. An individualized faculty project to re-envision their courses; and 3. Grant opportunities for individual faculty, staff, or departments to implement a program or idea that aligns with the primary objectives of the project. 87 faculty have participated in the Reimagine Teaching & Learning project in the last four years by completing a cohort or individual project. As a result, these faculty have redesigned their courses around high-impact teaching practices. Additionally, Reimagine has awarded almost $120,000 in grant funding to twenty-one different projects, including innovative technology, professional development, and resources to help improve our students' learning experience and success.

Team Members

  • Meghan Kennedy, co-Director, Center for Teaching, Learning and Engagement, GCC
  • Jennifer Lane, English Department Chair and Residential Faculty, GCC 
  • Scott Schulz, VPAA, GCC 
  • Beth Eyres, Faculty co-Director and Residential Faculty, GCC 
  • Cheryl Colan, Instructional Developer, GCC 
  • Jennifer Alton, Program Analyst, GCC 
  • Polly Laubach, Training & Development Coordinator, GCC

The iBelong Student Success Initiative is to efficiently deliver high-impact experiences both inside and outside the classroom with equity for all students at Mesa Community College. By Intentionally and fearlessly dismantling structural barriers to empower ALL students to THRIVE, by providing access to the tools and resources to be successful in this new reality of innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that not all students have access to the tools and technology to be successful. As a response, the iBelong Student Success Initiative has focused on student success by providing a common learning technological platform (iPad bundle) to facilitate students’ education across all learning environments. The opportunity is to provide modern mobile learning environments focused on student success. This environment supports the way students live and learn. It also promotes community stewardship and career readiness while inspiring a sense of belonging for ALL students.

Team Members

  • Patricia Herrera, Instructional Technologist, MCC 
  • Beth Alsen, Education Studies Faculty, MCC 
  • Alvin Bridges, Associate Vice President: College Technology Services, MCC
  • Timothy Williams, Customer Support Supervisor, MCC 
  • Patrick Fischer, Thunderbird Tech Studio (Student Support), MCC

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Employee Engagement (CTLEE) has been redesigned and reorganized as an overarching department to support the learning needs of all employees and focuses on a "what is possible" approach to learning support.

Team Members

  • Sam Fraulino, Software Developer Senior, PVCC
  • Lynn McClelland, Co-Director CTLEE and English Faculty, PVCC
  • Sofia Pijanowski, Office Coordinator, PVCC
  • Michaelle Shadburne, Co-Director CTLEE, PVCC

Phoenix College is proud to partner with Whataburger, through the restaurant's signature Feeding Student Success program, and with St. Mary's Food Bank, to help alleviate food and basic needs insecurities. As part of these partnerships, Whataburger provides financial and product support for the newly branded Bumstead's Resource Room - Powered by Whataburger, housed in the Student Union. And, St. Mary's Food Bank hosts food distributions at the PC campus supporting students and the community. 

Team Members

  • Michael Armsby, Maintenance Ops Manager, PC 
  • Eric Berg, English Faculty, PC
  • Joshua Blankette, CWR Agency, PC
  • Miguel Enriquez, Custodian, PC 
  • Christy Flora, Public Relations Marketing Manager, PC 
  • Chuck Fortino, Media/AV Supervisor, PC 
  • Seth Goodman, Grant Manager, PC
  • Stephanie Green, Nutrition Faculty, PC
  • Ambar Guillen, Program Specialist, PC 
  • Luis Gutierrez Lucero, Maintenance Ops Technician, PC 
  • Joseph Gonzales, Media Design Analyst, PC 
  • Peniella Irakoze, PC Student
  • Abdalkarim (Alex) Abualkheir, PC Student
  • Brandon Larkin, Deputy CIO, PC 
  • Sandra Matsusaka, Maintenance Ops Manager, PC 
  • Doug McCarthy, Director of Operations, PC 
  • Diana Martinez, Student Service Specialist, Sr., PC 
  • Christine Moore, Librarian, PC
  • Vashi Worley Moore, Senior Student Services Specialist, PC
  • Aris Mosier, Student Services Manager, PC 
  • Judy Sanchez, Chief Development Officer, MCCCDF  
  • Brian Spicker, President & CEO, MCCCDF 
  • Deb Spotts, Development Director, PC

SCC’s NAU Bachelor of Science in Biology Program is an evening 2+2 program created to meet the diverse needs of our student population, including working students and students caring for families. The program prepares students for a career as a biologist or for advanced study (e.g. medicine, conservation, veterinarian science, environmental law).   All SCC residential biology faculty teach in the program, taking advantage of the depth and expertise of the department.  An integral component of science education is research. The program has strong research partnerships with NAU, ASU, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, SRPMIC Environmental and Natural Resource Department, Maricopa County Flood Control, U.S. Forest Service, and AZ Game and Fish that provide fourth-year students with hands-on experiences. Two NAU Biology at SCC students have received the prestigious NAU Hooper Undergraduate Research Award.  The program serves the Greater Phoenix area, with students entering the program from most of our MCCCD colleges.  The first cohort was launched in Fall 2020 and celebrated their graduation Spring 2022. SCC proudly welcomes its fourth cohort in Fall 2023. NAU Biology at SCC is dedicated to academic excellence for its students and can serve as a model for the development of similar programs.

Team Members

  • Dr. Patty Ashby, Natural Sciences Division Director, Biology Professor, SCC 
  • Dr. John Weser, Life Sciences Department Chair, Biology Professor, SCC

It is a collaboration of Native PFLAG, Phoenix Indian Center, and South Mountain Community College to provide the only Two Spirit Powwow in Arizona. A powwow is a cultural celebration that brings traditional singing, dancing, storytelling, and drumming, and more together. The two spirit powwow provides an opportunity for those who do not identify as gender binary and brings together from tribes across our state and nation to dance, honor, and celebrate together. Our campus, being on tribal land serves as an ideal space for this annual event and for our Native American community partners. These annual powwows (since 2019 to the present) benefit our community to embrace and celebrate the Native American and the LGBTQIA+ communities in an annual free (remove community) event on our campus.  It began as a brainstorming grassroot effort to provide a unique opportunity for faculty, staff, students and for community learning to occur and to celebrate, embrace, appreciate, and foster these two cultural communities in an annual free event on campus.

Team Members

  • Gerard Begay, Student Services Analyst, SMCC 
  • Donicio Jensen Bobadilla, Program Analyst, SMCC 
  • Kyle MItchell, Program Analyst Senior, SMCC
  • Shelia Lopez, Native PFLAG, Intel, System Software Quality Engineer  
  • Micheon Gorman, Phoenix Indian Center, Development Officer