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CCC filling positions to meet new requirements

Coconino Community College is hiring new faculty and offering current faculty tuition reimbursement to meet new accreditation requirements.

According to CCC spokesperson Larry Hendricks, about 25 percent of CCC’s nearly 200 faculty members did not meet the requirements during a 2016 audit of full- and part-time faculty.

However, the community college is still in good standing with the Higher Learning Commission, the agency that provides accreditation for community colleges, colleges and universities in western and central states.

Hendricks stated in an email that the HLC required that all faculty at higher learning institutions must have a master’s degree or a combination of education/work experience that equals a master’s degree in the subject that they teach by the fall of 2017. Faculty who teach dual enrollment classes for the Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology (CAVIAT) program have until 2021 to meet the new requirements.

In order to get CCC staff to that level, the community college has assigned professors who don’t currently meet the requirements to classes and subjects they are eligible to teach or created an action plan for those faculty who needed additional classes to bring them up to the standard, Hendricks stated. In order to help part-time professors meet the requirements, CCC is also offering tuition reimbursement.

“We will be out of the woods in the next year, year and a half. These are the same standards faced by NAU, and by taking these measures, CCC will ensure its continued accreditation with the HLC,” said Dudley Gardner, CCC’s provost.

CCC was one of the first schools within HLC to develop a process and plan for addressing the issue.

The community college is also recruiting nationwide for new faculty that meet the requirements to fill in any shortfalls in classes. Hendricks said last year the community college hired full-time biology, anthropology and geology instructors and plans to hire full-time math, English, Spanish, philosophy/religion and nursing instructors this year.

CCC also plans to fill some positions by hiring local part-time instructors. Interviews for the positions are set to start after graduation, Hendricks said. The community college already has 97 applicants.

The hiring upgrades come after last year's proposed tax hike failed at the polls.  The tax hike would have pumped $3 million more into the CCC general fund by 2019 to help the college offer new degree and workforce technical courses plus reinstate some dropped programs at the Page campus.

The ballot measure came less than a year after Colleen Smith took the reins as new CCC president. College leaders have not committed to another tax hike campaign.  

The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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