Posted by Robert Homann on Sep 06, 2017
Sharon Stinard introduced our speaker for the day - Dr. Jacquelyn Elliott, President of Central Arizona College.  She has Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English and an Ed.D. degree in education.  She has 22 years of experience in a variety of administrative positions in 2-year and 4-year colleges. She has been President since July, 2016.
She grew up on an Indian reservation and her parents had not attended college. Dr. Elliott spoke of the importance to her future of receiving encouragement to attend college.  One program very influential in that decision was the Upward Bound program.  She proudly announced that CAC had just been notified that the college was going to become an Upward Bound program site. 
She shared with us some of her initial observations about CAC after a little over a year on the job.  She called CAC a "Diamond in the Desert".
1. Operating over 5 campus locations is a challenge. 
2. The college offers 159 degree or certificate programs which she thinks is too many for the size of the college.  Maybe 60 would be a more reasonable number.  What programs make sense for these times?
3. Community relationships need to be improved and that is one of her goals over the next 2-3 years.
4. Fundraising needs to be improved.  The college raised only $145,000 last year and 13% of that came from staff at the college.
5. She has had success meeting with employers in an attempt to align the college's offerings better with the needs of businesses.  The pharmacy tech program is one example of a successful new program. The construction industries have a crying for need trained carpenters, welders, electricians and plumbers and she plans to have the college respond with training programs for these skilled trades.
6. She wants to improve internal communications with staff and faculty as well as empowering employees closest to an issue to make the decisions to solve the problem.
7. The retention rate at CAC is 32% which can be improved.
Thank you Dr. Elliott for your transparency about the college and for sharing your hopes and dreams for the future of your students.