Hoping to thaw chilly relations between the Rim Country Education Alliance (SLE) and Gila Community College (GCC), the GCC board voted to launch a curriculum committee at its meeting Feb. 16.
GCC board member Tom Loeffler will head up the committee to create programs that would integrate GCC students into a four-year institution’s degree tracks.
“It would be of benefit to us to see what type of program is out there and then sit down with ASU (Arizona State University) or other institutions and see what kind of project we work out with them,” said Loeffler.
Loeffler said some people accused the GCC board of delaying the land sale to the SLE by raising questions. In a resolution, the GCC board asked for more land and questioned the appraised value of the property.
“It came out we were obstructing this process and that this delayed putting this on the Board of Regents’ agenda,” said Loeffler.
However, the issue still has not gone to the Board of Regents due to a lack of agreement between the SLE and ASU, not as a result of anything the GCC board did, said Loeffler.
In addition, the GCC board had no legal standing in the purchase of the property because by statute it many not buy or sell property.
Board president Larry Stephenson agreed it’s time to begin researching how GCC could aid students transitioning into a Payson four-year institution.
“It’s only a matter of time before a new campus sits on the available land. How our students articulate with this four-year campus is critical,” said Stephenson.
Already, GCC works with the state’s three universities. Recently, ASU and GCC started the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program. GCC already works with Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona on similar programs.
Designed to help community college students save money on tuition, these programs allow participants to spend the first two years of their college career taking less expensive classes at the community college and then complete the last two years at the four-year institution. Throughout the process, the student remains in contact with representatives of the four-year university to guarantee not one credit hour of instruction gets wasted in the transition from the community college to the university.
The other GCC board members agreed with Loeffler and Stephenson. The new committee will report to the GCC board at the next meeting in a month.