Strategic Innovation Projects in the Works Across District

May 3, 2018

Faculty, staff collaborating on $193,000 worth of student-centric projects

Yuma, AZ (May 3, 2018) –  Twelve AWC Innovation Fund projects, which were funded in January as part of the AWC Strategic Plan 2025, are underway at four locations in the college district. These Innovation Fund teams are focused on creating student-centered, thriving communities, and several of them are starting to see great things happen.

Parker Student Engagement Fund, $5,000, Kathy Ocampo. A faculty and staff team took La Paz students on a trip over spring break to San Diego and Los Angeles. The adventure included cultural diversity and awareness activities, community service, along with four university visits. Interested students participated in a pre-trip workshop which discussed trip topics and project requirements. Some of the other activities linked to the project include a community Open Mic night, workshops on emotional intelligence and using homework apps, and many student engagement opportunities outside of the classroom.

South County Ambassador Program, $6,000, Omar Heredia. This program is recruiting student ambassadors for South County, to mirror the Yuma campus experience. The program has a goal of recruiting five students total, and three students have been accepted. Students begin serving as ambassadors in Fall 2018. Two students are still needed for the San Luis and/or Somerton area.

Business Incubator Project, $22,500, Karyn Van Why, Marc La Fond, Moses Diaz De Leon, Randy Nelson, Shahrooz Roohparvar. Space for the business incubator has been identified at the AWC Downtown center, curriculum is in development, and a logo is in the works. The Incubator sponsored the recent AWC-NAU Yuma StartUp Weekend.

San Luis Home Away from Home, $35,000, Susanna Zambrano. A designated area at the Alicia Valdez AWC San Luis Learning Center has been cleaned and prepped to be converted to a student-friendly outdoor recreational space. Soon the area will be secured and furnishings, games and kitchen appliances along with a cooling system will be installed.

Border Radio Project, $27,500, Dave Riek. A group of student announcers has been hired and is being trained in program development and radio show hosting duties. On April 30, KAWC AM1320 transitioned to KOFA 1320 Border Radio, and it features significantly more local music and student-hosted programming.

Student Seating and Charging, $20,000, AWC Student Government Association, Daniel Ramirez, Shara Roberts. The Shadle Learning Resources (LR) Atrium on the Yuma campus is the space identified for this project, to provide our students with more space to study, collaborate, and recharge their devices and their own energy.  This summer, the old planters outside of the library are set for demolition to make room for flexible (moveable) student seating and charging areas.

Welcome Center, $40,000, Mandy Heil. The team has worked with vendors to select clear glass walls, modern technology, and sleek new furniture. This new 3C entry space will feature signature artwork for the walls, spirited graphics, and two charging stations. A new sidewalk was recently poured providing direct access to the 3C front doors from the front parking lot.

Native Indian Student Success $8,500, Michelle Thomas. This project team has partnered with local tribes to plan three upcoming College Success events to help increase the college-going culture in Yuma and La Paz counties. The committee has been working in collaboration with tribal leaders and education departments from Cocopah, Quechan, and Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) to put on these events as a way to encourage more students to consider higher education.

Writing @ AWC, $7,300, Eric Lee. As part of the Writing @ AWC, the Communications Division is hosting the Spring Writing Institute on May 4, when Michael Neal, an associate professor of English at Florida State University leads a workshop exploring the intersections between composition, digital technologies, and writing assessment.  The workshop counts as Writing Intensive certification and is part of professional development for our faculty, which directly impacts our students.

Art Garden Beautification, $6,300, Eric Lee, Brad Pease, Martha Martinez. This project is a collaboration between several academic and college departments, and is still in the works, to improve and beautify the space between the CTE building and the Student Success Center, creating opportunities for public performance and art exhibition.

Mobile Mini-Makerspace, $4,600, Angie Creel, Wendy Hoag. The AWC Academic Library recently hosted an Open House to demonstrate its Mobile Mini-Makerspace, a collaborative space designed to stimulate creative problem solving, hands-on learning and exploration. The Makerspace features tools like Oculus Rift (virtual reality), Little Bits and Makey Makey technology kits, to help prepare students for critical 21st century STEM skills, while boosting self-confidence, fostering a spirit of discovery and promoting the mind-body connection in active learning.

South County Mentoring Program, $1,000, Maria Guzman. Teams are launching a San Luis and Somerton Matador Mentoring program. Paperwork and recruitment kits have been completed. This is a very collaborative team, and the goal is to recruit 20 students in San Luis and 40 in Somerton. The purpose of the program is to mentor students to successful outcomes as college students.

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