College Course Offering Tied To Interests Of Community

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A survey of attendees at the recent Business Showcase showed a "strong preference" for computer training courses, business courses and fire, nursing and certified nursing assistant programs on the Payson campus of Gila Community College, Dean Harry Swanson told the Board of Governors at the meeting Thursday.

This summer Gila Community College will offer 31 credit courses. The drafted course list for fall 2006 has 103 credit courses.

In addition, eight, noncredit, continuing education real estate classes will be offered summer and fall.

"I'm pleased with the range of courses to be offered on the Payson campus," said board member Larry Stephenson.

He said he was glad to see that most fall courses had instructors already identified.

Chairman Robert Ashford said he did not think there would be trouble filling the few empty positions.

English, math, science and computer instructor Todd Longfellow was chosen as the Spring 2006 Special Teacher.

Swanson said when he asked Longfellow if there was anything he would rather be doing, Longfellow said, "I want to be just what I am -- a teacher. I'm betting that educated people make better decisions."

In addition to semester-long courses, the college is also offering forums and workshops such as the Discovery Forum science and liberal arts lectures offered on the reclamation of Fossil Creek and wildfires. The next lecture is at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, in the Community Room. Students from Dr. Joe Shannon's biology class will be giving presentations on environmental research they have conducted.

May's student of the month Jared Smith will be one of the presenters.

At 6 p.m. Monday, May 8, Rim Guidance and the Payson Police department offer the lecture: "Meth: Payson's Problem, Too."

The college and the PPD are still discussing police academy courses to be offered on the Payson campus, possibly this summer.

Thursday's board meeting was Don Crowley's first as an appointed member. Crowley was appointed in April by Gila County school superintendent Linda O'Dell to fill the vacancy left when Dick Wolfe resigned.

"I'm sure he's going to add a lot of value to our board," Ashford said. "I know he has a great vision for our community college."

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