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November 2008 Highlights at a Glance

Workplace Excellence

 Workplace Excellence Award

Arizona Western College named A Great Place To Work

AWC beat out 39 other local businesses to be named the overall winner for the 2008 Workplace Excellence Awards.

The Workplace Excellence Awards celebrate workplace culture and excellent people practices in local businesses. In order to qualify, a business must first be nominated by employees who do not represent top management. AWC received multiple nominations. Nominated businesses are then invited to complete an application detailing their people practices and workplace culture.

Arizona Western College was chosen, according to the panel of five out-of-town judges, in part for the following criteria:

• Work/Life Balance - a four-day workweek, onsite child care and fitness centers, flextime, massage, paid sabbaticals available for both faculty & exempt employees, massage.
• Lifelong Learning – tuition assistance, Center for Teaching Effectiveness, Professional Development Day, robust staff training and development model.
• Visioning Strategy – all employees are invited to contribute, and embedded in the vision are strong commitments to employee empowerment, innovation, diversity & learning.

 Dr. Schoening and AWC staff receive Workplace Excellence Award

In it's 4th year, winners and runners-up were recognized in small, medium and large categories.

Arizona Western College joins the ranks of well-respected past winners, including Desert Veterinary Clinic (2005), Yuma Regional Medical Center (2006), and PapaSan Rice Bowl (2007).

Additional judges’ comments included:
“For an employer of this size, this organization truly offers a great variety of ways to practice work/life balance – making it an innovative place to work.”

“They actually practice what they preach in continuing education opportunities and they have been able to significantly increase their diversity practices. They also use the “promote from within” philosophy by furthering the education and skills improvement of employees.”

“AWC expanded their employee recognition program in support of excellence, innovation and creativity.”

“They also emphasize respect for employees’ intellectual abilities, opinions (where it is safe to disagree), skills and ideas. Employees are encouraged to grow and learn and are not stereotyped.”

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Ribbon Cutting for Dr. Kathryn Watson Child Development Learning Lab

Unveiling the Dr. Kathryn Watson Child Development Learning Lab plaque

On Thursday, November 6, Arizona Western College honored the long-time work of local educator Dr. Kathryn A. Watson by dedicating the new Child Development Learning Lab in her honor. The CDLL building’s first mission is as a teaching laboratory for childcare providers and early childhood educators, a mission that has been foremost in Dr. Watson’s career for over 30 years. 

During the ceremonial ribbon cutting, Dr. Watson was recognized as a tremendous asset to both Arizona Western College and the community. Dr. Watson began her teaching career at AWC in 1977 as a professor of Family Studies. Throughout her career, Dr. Watson has advocated for new facilities for the Child Development program at the College. These efforts greatly assisted in plans for a new Child Development Learning Lab facility to be included as an integral part of the AWC 2004 Construction Bond project. In her career at AWC, Kathy has served as Division Chair for the Human Services Division, in interim Division Chair positions across the College, currently serving as Interim Associate Dean for the Science, Math, and Agriculture Division of the College. Dr. Watson has been recognized for her teaching and leadership excellence as the Arizona Vocational Home Economics Teacher of the Year, the Yuma County Education Foundation College Teacher of the Year, and the AWC Teacher of the Year. Additionally, Dr. Watson earned the Teaching Excellence Award for Arizona Community Colleges, the Arizona Family and Consumer Sciences College and Universities Award, and the Arizona Established Leader Award. In 2003, Dr. Watson received the prestigious Athena Award from the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce which honors women for their professional accomplishments and dedication to their communities. Kathy has served on the AWC Foundation Board, the NAU National Alumni board and currently holds a position on the Yuma Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees. Arizona Western College is pleased to recognize her lifelong commitment to education and Arizona Western College by naming the Child Development Learning Lab the Dr. Kathryn A. Watson Child Development Lab.

 Dr. Schoening and Louise stand with her room plaque

Louise Schoening has also been honored with the dedication of a classroom in her name in the new CDLL building. Mrs. Schoening, wife of Arizona Western College president Dr. Don Schoening, has been recognized for the dedication of much of her life to improving the lives of children in the areas of education, literacy and health care. Besides her time teaching in both public schools and at the college level, she has served as a school board member and has initiated and served as director of a migrant care educational center. She has been dedicated to programs for special needs children, including launching a child care center that mainstreamed all children, and by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for school-based health care systems. Louise also successfully chaired a $51,000,000 library bond campaign in Yuma that resulted in the construction of five new libraries. Mrs. Schoening has been a passionate lifelong contributor of her time and effort to better the lives of children. Arizona Western College is pleased to recognize Louise Schoening for her love of children by naming the Scorpion room in her honor.

“It’s nice to be a part of it (the building)…it’s not just a building…it’s a vital program that students and faculty will learn from. It’s an honor to be a part of it,” Louis Schoening, honoree.

In addition to Dr. Watson and Mrs. Schoening, two former directors of the CDLL have been honored with special trees in the CDLL playground area. Marlene Evans was the CDLL Director from 1967 – 1989. Florentina Leal served as Assistant Director from 1980 – 1989, and then succeeded Ms. Evans as the Director, serving until 2004.

Ribbon Cutting

The new CDLL is one of the first buildings to come online as a result of the voter-approved $73,850,000 facilities bond election in 2004. An additional three million dollars for the almost 250,000 additional square feet in classroom, lab and program space came from an AWC foundation fund drive.

As a lifelong learning community, we can celebrate the future of higher education in our district with the addition of the new Child Development Learning Laboratory. It will support community childcare education and training programs. The faculty will expand the preschool-level training as well as toddler and infant training programs.

The four-year construction process, which includes the CDLL, the Science and Agriculture Complex and the College Community Center, has been strategically managed to accommodate new construction with a minimum of disruption to our educational programs. With input from the community, faculty, students, and staff, each project was individually tailored to the meet the future needs of our communities, while remaining within our resources.

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Haunted Homecoming 2008

Tricycle Races

AWC's Campus Life and Foundation were the sponsors of the 2008 Haunted Homecoming.  Frieghtening events and activities were scheduled for the campus.

Each day there were Tricycle Races around the fountain and a rock climbing wall was on display. Students, faculty and staff were invited to attend several speakers and a Talent Show.

The Talent Show's winners were 1st place- Fransisco Hernandez; 2nd place-Bruno Garcia
3rd place-Arlyn Alvarez.

The week wrapped up with a Haunted Homecoming Dance and the traditional Homecoming Football game. 

Dr. Schoening &
Mr. Bob Olsen


During a Pre-game ceremony Ruth Whisler and the Arizona Western College Foundation named local leader Bob Olsen, as the recipient of the first Prestigious Allumni Award.

2008 King & Queen


After campus voting, the 2008 AWC Homecoming King and Queen were crowned: George Yanez and Kimmy Clark...Congratulations...

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Public Safety Institute


Dawn Holts & Greg Lopez recognized by Dr. Schoening and Marcus Johnson

Arizona Western College is proud to acknowledge that two of their Emergency Medical Service Instructors have been certified as National Association Emergency Medical Services Instructors. Dawn Holts and CWO4 Greg Lopez attended the National Emergency Medical Services Educators Conference in St. Louis, Missouri where they participated in the national exam. The certification is new to the profession and Dawn and Greg are among the few in the nation that hold this prestige’s certification as EMS Educators. All of AWC’s EMS Lead Instructors are now Nationally Certified.

Dawn Holts is one of Rural/Metro Fire Departments EMS Supervisors. She has been involved in EMS for over 10 years and has been teaching for AWC since 2006. She is the Lead Instructor for the Campus EMT programs. Dawn also spent 8 years as a Navy Corpsman in the United States Navy.

CWO4 Greg Lopez is the Emergency Services Officer for Crash Fire Rescue at MCAS Yuma. He has been involved in EMS for seventeen years and has been teaching with AWC since 2003. Greg is the Lead Instructor for the MCAS and AWC Fire Academy EMT Programs. Greg is also a Reserve EMT/Firefighter with Rural/Metro Fire Department here in Yuma.

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SEMC Presentation

Dr Schoening & the AWC team presents at a National Conference

A team from AWC has been invited to present strategies at a national enrollment conference in southern California November 16-19.

Dr. Don Schoening-AWC President, Dr. Joann Linville-Interim Vice President for Learning Services, Carole Coleman-Director of Financial Services and Controller, and Linda Elliott Nelson-Dean of Instruction will deliver the AWC strategy for enrollment and retention to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions (AACRAO). There will be 900 persons attending from institutions throughout the US, Canada, and 5 other countries.

AWC’s Strategic Enrollment Management Committee (SEMC) presentation will be offered to a group of almost 100 nationally represented colleges and universities at the AACRAO Strategic Enrollment Management Conference. It is one of 64 breakout sessions chosen from more than 100 proposals that were submitted. The AWC session is one of 10 solicited presentations.

“The AWC team was invited to the SEM Conference after I heard them present at the American Association of Community Colleges conference in Philadelphia last April,” Bob Bontrager, Director, AACRAO Consulting & SEM Conference. “The team gave an outstanding presentation that I was sure would be of interest to the SEM audience. Many community colleges around the country are seeking to manage their enrollments more strategically, to better serve their stakeholders and achieve financial stability. The SEM process described in Philadelphia is one of the better models I have seen. I am very pleased to have AWC on the SEM program.”

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Desert Classic 08


Arizona Western College hosted the 2nd Annual Desert Classic ’08 Basketball Tournament November 13th and 14th at ‘The House’ on the AWC campus. The tournament-presented by Chicago Title and National Bank of Arizona-will bring six top basketball teams from around the Mountain, Central and Eastern time zones to join the two Matadors’ basketball teams for a two-day, eight-game tournament.

The men's Matador team beat Delaware Tech (76-67) and Clinton College (69-60). And the women's Matador team beat Phoenix College (69-53) and Owens College (65-49).

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8th Annual Family Night

Sparky the FireDog gives hugs at Family Night

Arizona Western College invited one and all out to campus for the 7th Annual Family Night on November 20th.  Since 2001, thousands of people, young and old from the Yuma area have joined students, faculty and staff for a great night of food, fun and education. This year kids can ride on a mini-Ferris Wheel.

This year, AWC would like to thank Time Warner Cable for their generous donation of a $500 Visa card that was given away to a lucky student.  Family Night began in 2001 as a means to highlight AWC’s technical programs on campus (Welding, automotive, etc.) but has since expanded to include the entire college and NAU-Yuma too. Many of the campus clubs cook during the evening.

“We encourage all displayers to be creative with their booths. Many put together very creative games and offer prizes as well,” Mel Parker, Family Night Coordinator.

The entire family is invited to attend. In addition to food booths guest will find game booths, a petting zoo, a hot air balloon, music from the AWC Pep Band, face painting and a lot more for all ages!

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Domestic Violence Awareness Night

County Supervisor Russell McCloud lead the audience in waving glow sticks

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is October...but AWC's Domestic Violence Awareness Team wanted to continue the mementum into November. 

At the Matador's last home football game Terri Lambert and Kathryn Brooks organized a half-time presentation to call attention to Domestic Violence year round.

The Matadors wore purple medical tape, the children were handed purple glow sticks and purple balloons were set free in rememberance of those lost due to Domestic Violence.

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CDLL Parade

CDLL children on parade

Arizona Western College’s Child Development Learning Lab (CDLL) is holding their Annual Story Book Parade in the CDLL Courtyard. The children will be dressed up and parade around the Courtyard It will last about 20 minutes beginning at 9:15am on Thursday, October 30th.

The children dress up as favorite book characters and bring the book in with them. We are encouraging literacy and allowing for some fall fun and dress up and play.

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Jazz Concert and Music of the Season 

Jazz band performs

AWC Jazz 1 and Jazz 2 joined the Yuma High Jazz Ensemble in an evening of Big Band Jazz. The groups met at Snider Auditorium to play songs from the Big band era.

All donations were to support the Yuma High Band Program.

Come and enjoy some great music of the holiday season with the AWC Community Band in a most spectacular venue! The AWC Community Band will be performing December 8th at 7:00PM at Gila Ridge High School's Performing Arts Center.

The band will be playing the great music, new and old, of the Christmas Season. There will also be an audience sing-along to get everyone involved in this joyous time of year. This is one not to miss, especially if you enjoy Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride," one of the quintessential works defining the Holiday Season. 

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CEA Chili Cook-Off

And the winners were...South County!!

The 8th Annual AWC Classified Employee Association Chili Cook-Off on Thursday, November 6th revealed some flamin' hot cooking on campus.

This year CEA had the most cooks entries ever.  After many folks stopped by and placed their votes the winning team was the group from South County!

The proceeds from the Chile Cook-Off go to the Classified Employee Association. The funds are used towards activities for the AWC Classified Employees such as the cook-off, the AWC Christmas Party, and the spring classified in-service, etc.

You've got 365 days to start working on your recipe for the 9th annual chili cook-off!

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Look Homeward, Angel

AWCTheater Performs

Arizona Western College Theatre presented Look Homeward, Angel this month at AWC Theatre.

Look Homeward, Angel is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Thomas Wolfe, one of the most important writers in modern American literature. The play chronicles Wolfe’s family, friends and boarders at his domineering mother’s boarding house. Other key characters are Wolfe’s father, an alcoholic stone carver, his brother, a newspaper reporter who Wolfe adores, and his first love interest, a young woman named Laura.

The diverse and talented 18-member cast includes a dog, several first-time actors in lead roles, and an actor with SAG, AEA and AFTRA credentials.

Admission was free, but a donation of one of the following is requested: $5 to defray AWCTheatre production expenses, 5 canned goods for Yuma Community Food Bank or 5 items of clothing for Crossroads Mission.

AWCTheatre’s spring productions will include Honk, a musical version of the Ugly Duckling story, and The Importance of Being Ernest, written by Oscar Wilde.

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Angel Luna Displays Nationally

Whistle Mask

Angel Luna, Professor of Fine Arts at Arizona Western College, has received notification that his artwork has been accepted to the Analogous national juried exhibition in the Runnels Gallery at Eastern New Mexico University. The exhibition opens January 30, 2009 and runs to February 25, 2009. Luna’s pieces that will be displayed in the exhibition are “Border Monster: Whistle Mask”, “Gente Not Numbers:Coveralls”, and “Gente Not Numbers: Street Flower Seller.”
“Border Monster: Whistle Mask” also was one of five selected and awarded an “Honorable Mention” by Lucy Lippard. The juror is an internationally known writer, theorist, and activist. Lucy Lippard reviewed all submissions and juried the Analogous exhibition.

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Thanksgiving Feast

Yellowbird Apache Dancers

Arizona Western College and the Arizona Commission on the Arts will present a Thanksgiving Dinner Theater Show on Thursday, November 20th beginning at 6:00pm in the Ocotillo Lounge in the AWC Student Union on the main campus. Following the traditional Thanksgiving feast guest will be awed by a performance by the Yellowbird Apache Dancers.
The Dinner will be served at 6:00pm. The menu will offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal of roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, dinner rolls, tossed salad and pumpkin pie. Ticket prices begin at $15.00 for children ages 6-18 and AWC/NAU-Yuma students; $17.00 for seniors and Military and $20.00 for general public.
Following the Thanksgiving celebration the Yellowbird Apache Dancers will take the stage. The Yellow Bird Indian Dancers present a repertoire of authentic Apache, Southwest and Northern Plains dances which are colorful and educational. From exciting Hoop Dances to the beautiful Apache Rainbow Dance, the imagination is enhanced by native sign language and enchanting flute music. These exceptionally accomplished dancers are experienced in professional stage production.

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Classified Corner

Corrine Gray

Welcome to the Classified Employee Corner. This month we will continue to introduce you to the Classified Employee Association elected officers.

Treasurer of the CEA is Corrine Gray. Corrine is the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Instruction. Corrine is also the secretary for the Curriculum Committee. She has been with AWC for over three years. Before working at AWC Corrine lived in Bishop, California with her husband and 2 children for 15 years.

Corrine's Favorite part about the CEA is the memories and how the group develops creative fundraising activities to help the campus community: "Last year we made up Chili Jars as a fund raiser project, and I think I smelled like chili powder for a week!!"

When asked why she joined the CEA, Corrine comments:  "Being involved in the CEA allows me to feel that I am making a difference for the classified employees at AWC. Last year the CEA presented the “Fish Philosophy” to the classified employees as a professional development day. This was a great program to build friendships and have fun. "

Join the CEA as they will begin to introduce their members to the AWC community in the upcoming Highlights.

If you are a classified employee and would like more information on the Classified Employee Association email Pete Cassidy at

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