The Need for Continued Innovation Moving Forward

Over the past several weeks, my work has intersected with national and local communities which has clearly and convincingly validated the importance of our unwavering commitment to teaching and learning leading to student success and completion. In each instance, I was reminded that solving the current vexing social, business, economic and cultural challenges is dependent upon the “fair-minded” critical and creative thinkers matriculating from PVCC. Let me share a few examples.

Recently, Drs. Kishore Dash and Dina Preston-Ortiz and I presented at the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) in Fort Worth, Texas. Our topic was the innovative PVCC Small Business Certificate program delivered in partnership with the Fresh Start Women’s Center. During the presentation, attendees affirmed how critical our work is in preparing women as successful entrepreneurs as a key leverage point in local economic development.

While serving on a panel addressing the topic of “Equity in K-12 Education in Arizona” at the recent Arizona Business and Education Coalition (ABEC) Conference held here in Phoenix, my platform was to articulate our position in the education ecosystem desiring to close the attainment gaps. Given the Maricopa Community Colleges’ role as the largest provider of higher education for first-generation, underrepresented students, the stakes could not be higher and PVCC is committed to being part of the solution.

At the local level, as a community Board member for the Foothills Caring Corps, I have been assisting with the development of their new strategic plan. During this iterative process, it is apparent that new and innovative PVCC programs such as our integrated public health and continuing programs such as dietetic technology will meet the growing needs of the senior population in the north east valley.

While engaging with the external communities we serve, I realize how important innovation is to the future success of PVCC.

In an effort to infuse innovation deeper into the PVCC organization, we are re-booting the process to award the former Puma Pathway Grants through the new Puma Innovation Grant program. These funds are designed to catalyze programmatic innovation so that we can continue to meet local, state, and national social and economic needs.

The Puma Innovation Grant program is designed to encourage us to “try something new and innovative in a rapid format…” and is built around the design thinking principles requiring solving a specific problem, developing a rapid prototype,  and assessing success. Watch for more information soon.

I remain confident that the learning organization value of “all points leadership” will lead to unwavering advancements in innovation.