PCC's classes some of most diverse in Southern AZ - Tucson News Now

PCC's classes some of most diverse in Southern AZ

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A new school year has begun at Pima Community College, a place that educates tens of thousands in our community each year.

The college draws from nearly every sector of the community, creating one of the most diverse learning environments in our area.

PCC is one of the largest community colleges in the nation. There are six campuses in our area, plus the school system has several learning centers.

This year's enrollment numbers stand at roughly the same as last year's: about 25,000 to 27,000 students will study at PCC this semester.

Late registration is underway, so PCC officials say that number could go up.

PCC is a very diverse campus with students of all ages and all sorts of backgrounds.

David Reece is a 53-year-old Tucsonan who started classes this summer. After years in construction, he says he's in classes with students half his age, studying digital arts.

"At first it was scary and then I thought about it. You know, a student is a student. You're never too old to learn. We go through life learning, whether it's a good experience, bad experience. Here in the academic setting, it's all good."

"The reason I love community colleges is for just that very purpose, that we serve anyone from 50, 60, 70-year-olds all the way down to folks who are transferring in from high schools, and in some cases you know, even younger. The fact that we can be a place for anybody who wants an opportunity to pursue their dream, that is exciting."

Lee Lambert has been chancellor since July 1. He has a lot on his plate as PCC runs the possibility of losing its accreditation.

The Higher Learning Commission found problems in several areas during its fact-finding mission earlier this year.

The college last month submitted a "monitoring report" talking about how it will improve the handling of complaints and faculty oversight of curriculum.  Now the college has until next summer to prove that it has remedied the problems the HLC found.

"Kind of scary," said Donna Gregory, a PCC student. "It was concerning to me as an older student i think what was going to be happening with transfers of credits and so on being at risk.I feel like now we are headed in the right direction.

"It grounds us into why we are here," Lambert said. "We are here for students, we're here for our community and our nation. Being able to us that as the foundation for why we are here, then everything else flows from that. being clear about why we are here I think just makes it easier, if you will, to navigate through the challenges. not that it's easy, but easier because you know why you're here."

Chancellor Lambert met with students at several campuses today. He says he wants to make sure he fully understands why the problems are the way they are and look at what already is in place at PCC.

He says he wants to focus on fulfilling PCC's mission of making sure students get paying jobs.

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