CLARKDALE – The Town of Clarkdale heard an update on Yavapai College’s Verde Valley Campus by Dr. James Perey Tuesday evening at the Administration Building Community Room.
Dr. Perey - Executive Dean/Campus Executive Officer for the Verde Valley Campus and Director of University/Governmental Relations for Yavapai College – gave a presentation on the institution’s community outreach presentations.
The college is focusing on improving outcomes, and exploring ways to increase retention and graduation rates. A faculty mentorship project is underway, according to Yavapai College, offering personalized support for first-time college students. The Strategic Enrollment Management committee has identified the need to focus on personal enrichment and strengthening ties to high school counselors and teachers, said college president Dr. Penny Wills in a community update release.
There has been a 4 percent increase in Yavapai College enrollment, with strides being made to drive up that number. Many enrolled are first generation college students, said Dr. Perey. This tends to light a spark in the family, leading some parents and other relatives to take a class. The college is now teaching four generations, Dr. Perey said in his presentation. The college aims to look at grades Pre-K to 16 to discover where the underserved populations are.
Marketing and Recruitment
The college is looking to ramp up marking efforts. Printed materials about Yavapai College will be available for the older population, and information will be dispersed through social media for the younger generations, said Dr. Perey.
The college is pushing for more community events, and Nov. 15, the college will be hosting the “Explore Yavapai campus” for the public. Campus tours have already been given to hundreds of middle and high school students, said Dr. Perey in his presentation.
If financial aid wasn’t available, higher education would only be available to those who could afford it.
Dr. Perey said that 61 percent of students attending Yavapai College receive financial aid.
According to the community update from Dr. Wills; 2,849 students received financial aid in 2015-2016 and $13.8 million of tuition assistance was provided to students that year through grants, loans, scholarships, and other sources.
President Obama’s push for free community college isn’t exactly a free lunch, said Dr. Perey, and said it was a restructured Pell.
Yavapai College will be given a grade card, he said, and will be held accountable for placement and jobs, which could affect the amount of financial aid dispersed to students.
There will be an early alert for student development, said Dr. Perey.
The college also will look at the tiers of students. Upper tier students tend to move on to a university. The middle tier – students who didn’t excel in high school and have a grade point average of a 3.0 or below – will receive more focus. They will be receiving remediation prior to college entrance. It is estimated that about 60 percent of students need remediation, according to the presentation.
Thanks to a new partnership with the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education, said the college, Verde Valley high school students will be able to earn college credits while taking courses in welding, fire science, and media arts.
The performing arts classes have flourished, going from 19 to 85 students. This is in part because of Red Rock High School students and the new structure of being able to take a class or two as opposed to having to commit to an entire program, said Dr. Perey.
Other classes bringing momentum to campuses include film, hospitality, and culinary courses. The college looks to expand CNA and nursing programs, and hopes to include a medical assistant program as well.
Dr. Perey said that in regards to the local economy, the college has focused on the big three: viticulture/enology, culinary, and hospitality.
In other business:
Sewer pipe relining project
Council discussed and approved the proposal from SAK construction in the amount of $92 per-linear-foot for a sewer pipe relining project. The 12-inch sewer pipe running from VW Bug Lane to the Wastewater Treatment Plant will be relined to improved flow, said Utilities/Public Works Director Wayne Debrosky.
Council discussed and approved amending outdated language in ordinances relating to vacancies in council, automatic bonding, primary elections, health and sanitation, and property maintenance code as explained by Town Clerk/Financial Director Kathy Bainbridge.
Council also approved amending outdated language in traffic and parking related ordinances, as explained by Clarkdale Police Chief Randy S. Taylor.
Council also discussed and approved a resolution which declared the Refuse Collection Code as public record.
Council discussed a remedial action work plan for United Verde Soil Program, and was set to consider approving the city’s official comments to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
Council authorized City Manager Gayle Mabery to make changes to the draft letter as she speaks with the environmental group.
Councilmember Bill Regner praised the group that put the compressive packet together, and thanked them for their impressive work.