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Dec 15 14

Dr. Olson Attends White House Summit, Announces Commitment to Increase Student Success

by Barnes,Donna C.

Dr. Shari OlsonPhoenix, AZ – December 8, 2014 – South Mountain Community College announced new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college as part of the White House College Opportunity Day of Action Summit on Thursday, Dec. 4.

Dr. Shari Olson, South Mountain Community College president, and Dr. Rufus Glasper, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District, joined President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden and educational leaders from across the country at the summit.

“The collective energy of educators from all over the country came together and formed a collaborative spirit,” said Dr. Olson. “Everyone committed to continue efforts to increase educational opportunities for all students, especially those who are low-income, first-generation and underrepresented. I was honored to represent South Mountain Community College and be a part of this historic day.”

At the summit, South Mountain Community College made the following commitment to improve student success:

We pledge to focus on diverse course delivery options, such as condensed and paired Developmental Education courses, in order to accelerate student progress and success. These delivery options are supported by a new student intake process that includes a mandatory New Student Orientation and student success course.

At the summit, President Obama announced new steps on how his administration will help to support college opportunity, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.

President Obama has also announced a $1,000 annual increase in Pell scholarships and a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.  Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared with 54 percent in the top quartile

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite locations, SMCC’s Guadalupe site and SMCC’s Laveen site. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.


Dec 8 14

SMCC Announced as 2015 Bellwether Award Finalist

by Barnes,Donna C.

Phoenix, AZ – December 5, 2014 – The Community College Futures Assembly announced yesterday ten outstanding community college programs (in each of its three categories) as the Finalists to compete for the 2015 Bellwether Awards. The Assembly had issued a call for Bellwether Award nominations in the fall of 2014, and 30 finalist colleges in three categories were competitively chosen from the applicants. The field of Bellwether nominations was very competitive this year with over 300 Bellwether applications. Prior to the application process, about 1,000 community college programs were nominated from a wide range of agencies including peer institutions, conferences, and the media.

South Mountain Community College was selected as a finalist in the area of Instructional Programs and Services, co-sponsored by the National Council of Instructional Administrators for it’s program “From Rhetoric to Reality: Innovating for Success at a Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution”. This category represents programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college. In addition to SMCC, the Maricopa Community College District was also selected as finalists in this category for it’s Maricopa “Millions OER Project: Scaling Use of ExtraOERdinary Materials”.

Representatives from SMCC will present at the Assembly on January 26th, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Winners will then be selected from each category by a panel of national experts within each category. The winners will be announced on Jan. 27th at the annual meeting in Orlando.

For more information, consult the Community College Futures Assembly website,



South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite locations, SMCC’s Guadalupe Center and SMCC’s Laveen Center. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

Dec 3 14

MCCCD Leaders to Join White House Summit on College Opportunity

by Barnes,Donna C.

TEMPE, Ariz. – Dec. 3 – Dr. Rufus Glasper, Chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges, Dr. Eugene Giovannini, President of Maricopa Corporate College (MCOR), and Dr. Shari Olson, President of South Mountain Community College (SMCC) will join President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Biden at the White House College Opportunity Summit tomorrow, Dec. 4. The Summit will bring together colleges and universities, business leaders, nonprofits and others that are committed to supporting more college opportunities for students across the country.

This year’s summit will focus on building sustainable collaborations in communities with strong K-12 and higher education partnerships to encourage college going, and supporting colleges to work together to dramatically improve persistence and increase college completion, especially for first generation, low-income, and underrepresented students.

For information on how to cover the Summit, please email and include “College Opportunity Summit Coverage” in the subject line.

About Maricopa Community Colleges and MCOR:

The Maricopa Community Colleges system includes 10 colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale and South Mountain, two skill centers, and several satellite campuses and business/ industry, technical and customized training institutes. It also includes the Maricopa Corporate College, which delivers market-relevant, customized workforce solutions and education for students and employees in virtually every industry sector. Through a strategic business partnership model, MCOR assesses workforce training needs and develops and delivers customized and integrated solutions to meet those needs throughout all levels of an organization.

The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Dec 2 14

2015 STEM Jobs Approved Colleges List Released

by Barnes,Donna C.

2015 STEM Jobs ApprovedPhoenix, AZ December 2, 2014 — South Mountain Community College announced today that it has been designated a

2015 STEM JobsSM Approved College by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting individuals in transition with education and career opportunities, and creator of STEM JobsSM media, education and career resources for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. The 2015 STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges inaugural list is the first of its kind to rate universities,

South Mountain Community College was among over 1,600 schools participating in the STEM JobsSM survey process. Schools submitting surveys were scored on publicly available data and responses to proprietary questions around three key indicators of success: STEM job alignment, STEM job placement, and diversity in a school’s STEM programs. The assessment and rights to the STEM Jobs ApprovedSM Colleges designation were available to qualifying schools. SMCC will be featured in the Winter 2015 issue of STEM JobsSM magazine, along with the entire 2015 list of STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges.colleges, community colleges and trade schools on their responsiveness and relevance to high demand, high growth STEM occupations.

“With the list of STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges we’re able to help parents, students and guidance counselors evaluate how well education is translating into real-world jobs, and how responsive institutions are to meeting those demands,” said Daniel Nichols, President of STEM JobsSM. “We’re pleased to showcase schools like South Mountain Community College as a school leading the way in this area.”

For more information about SMCC’s commitment to students interested in STEM fields of study and careers, visit  For more information about STEM JobsSM ratings, visit

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite locations, SMCC’s Guadalupe Center and SMCC’s Laveen Center. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

Dec 1 14

Win $1,000 for Your Business

by Barnes,Donna C.

2014 Student Venture Pitch Competition


On Tues., Dec. 16, from 2-5 p.m., the second annual Student Venture Pitch Competition (SVPC) will take place in the South Mountain Library Community Room.

You will have three minutes to provide an overview of your businesses, describe your customers, and outline the benefits your business would gain from the prize money. Prizes will be awarded for first through fifth place, audience choice and best business idea with social innovation.

Participants compete for prize money before a panel of distinguished judges, which include successful investors, entrepreneurs and experienced, entrepreneurial-minded practitioners in the business community.

The competition is open to all SMCC students registered for a minimum of three credit hours in fall semester and who own or are ready to start a business!

Applications for the SVPC are available in BE-146 or online at

At the spring competition, five students won venture funds:

  • Kyle Stadler (1st, Laugh Addicts)
  • Eric Navenma (2nd)
  • Lisa Springfield (3rd)
  • Richard Newsome (Audience Choice)
  • Sierra Stuart and Kyle Stadler (tied for best social innovation

For QUESTIONS contact:
Bruce McHenry, Business Faculty
Director – Community Entrepreneurship Center
South Mountain Community College

Oct 17 14

SMCC Took Home the Honors at National Entrepreneurship Conference

by Barnes,Donna C.

National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship recognizes the President and three students

Dr. Shari Olson

[Phoenix, AZ October 17, 2014]— SMCC President, Dr. Shari Olson, has been named the 2014 Entrepreneurial President by the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).

Since arriving at SMCC in 2011, Dr. Olson has made it a priority to focus on entrepreneurship by implementing a strengths-based model that has created a culture where staff, faculty, and students are continually encouraged to find innovative ways to employ their strengths and deeply engage in their work.

“Research has shown that up to 50 percent of jobs will be consultant or freelance by the year 2020. I am committed to providing programs where students can recognize their talents and abilities in order to succeed in an entrepreneurial society,” said Dr. Olson. “It is imperative that we create opportunities for students to learn more about taking control of their path to success and to supporting an entrepreneurial culture across the campus. I’m honored to be recognized by NACCE for my efforts in fostering the principles of entrepreneurship at South Mountain.”

NACCE also recognized student entrepreneurs Diana Monell, Lovelyn Omari and Gus Barnes, who each received a cash prize for their demonstrated innovation and creative accomplishments in businesses they are operating while attending college. All three students were enrolled in SMCC’s Small Business Entrepreneurship classes where they acquired the skills, tools and knowledge needed to succeed in a profit-based business.

“My experience at SMCC afforded me the opportunity to develop my business by cultivating connections with like-minded professionals and students and provided me with the tools and mentor-ship needed to ultimately reach my professional goals,” said Diana Monell. “If becoming your own boss is your passion and is your ultimate goal, I recommend SMCC’s Entrepreneurship program! It will empower you to pursue your dream while giving you the flexibility to further your education.”

The three students won a total of $3,000 in cash made possible by donations from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) and the C. Lowell Harriss Scholarship Fund.

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite campuses, SMCC’s Guadalupe Center and SMCC’s Laveen Center. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

Oct 17 14

SMCC Student Entrepreneurs Nationally Recognized

by Barnes,Donna C.

National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship awards three student entrepreneurs

[Phoenix, AZ October 17, 2014]— Three South Mountain Community College (SMCC) student entrepreneurs were honored at the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) conference earlier this month.

Diana Monell, Lovelyn Omari and Gus Barnes received cash prizes for their demonstrated innovation and creative accomplishments in businesses they are operating while attending college. All three students were enrolled in SMCC’s Small Business Entrepreneurship classes where they acquired the skills, tools and knowledge needed to succeed in a profit-based business.

Diana Monell, a bilingual bookkeeper with more than 30 years of experience, realized that she had a skill she could offer the growing number of Latino-owned businesses in greater Phoenix. “I recognized that many small firms had a need for Spanish-speaking bookkeeping services, but could not afford to hire a full-time employee,” Monell stated. “I knew that I could offer these services, but didn’t know how to get a businesses started. Taking the entrepreneurship class at SMCC provided me the guidance I needed to get my business off the ground.” Monell is now the owner of Lady D Bookkeeping Services and has several clients.

Lovelyn Omari already had a loyal following when she took the entrepreneurship class at SMCC. Her expertise and over 15-years of experience in hair braiding had provided her with a list of steady clients and a growing social media presence, but she needed to formalize her business. While in the class, Omari was able to take advantage of the resources offered and set up an official business with the Arizona Corporation Commission. By the end of the class, Asabea Braiding was on its way to becoming a household name in braiding. was the invention of Gus Barnes. “I wanted to develop a referral site to help people locate local businesses to shop, eat and play where discounts, rebates or points are offered,” explained Barnes. Already understanding the small-business community, he took the entrepreneurship course to develop his marketing strategy and sales pitch. is live and gives businesses and customers a place to connect.

The three students won a total of $3,000 in cash made possible by donations from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) and the C. Lowell Harriss Scholarship Fund.

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite campuses, SMCC’s Guadalupe Center and SMCC’s Laveen Center. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. 

Sep 23 14

SMCC Named to Victory Media’s 2015 Military Friendly® Schools List

by Barnes,Donna C.

[Phoenix, AZ September 23, 2014]—South Mountain Community College announced today that it has been designated a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds.

Now in its sixth year, the Military Friendly® Schools designation and list by Victory Media is the premier, trusted resource for post-military success. Military Friendly® provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. The methodology used for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past six years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

The survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students and is available free of charge to the more than 8,000 schools approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

For more information about SMCC’s commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite campuses, SMCC’s Guadalupe Center and SMCC’s Laveen Center. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

Sep 18 14

Former SMCC Pitcher Gets Call to the Big Leagues

by Barnes,Donna C.


Former South Mountain community College left-handed pitcher Daniel Coulombe became the 4th Cougar to make his Major League Baseball debut on Tuesday night as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched a perfect inning in relief during the Dodgers 10-4 loss against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.

Coulombe, originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, pitched one season (2010) for the Cougars before transferring to Texas Tech University and becoming a Red Raider. On Tuesday, he received news he had been called up to the big leagues. He arrived in Denver and entered his MLB game in the seventh inning to pitch a three-up, three-down frame with a strikeout, lineout and fly out.

The Dodgers currently hold a two-game lead in the National League West Division with less than two weeks of the regular season remaining.

SMCC players that have made a major league debut:

  • Scott Lydy, SMCC (1989), May 18, 1993, Oakland Athletics
  • Cody Ransom, SMCC (1995-96), Sept. 5, 2001, San Francisco Giants
  • Chris Duffy, SMCC (2001), April 7, 2005, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Daniel Coulombe, SMCC (2010), Sept. 16, 2014, Los Angeles Dodgers

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite campuses, SMCC’s Guadalupe Center and SMCC’s Laveen Center. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. 

Sep 14 14

Six Cougars selected to Sophomore All-Star Game

by Barnes,Donna C.

South Mountain CC will be sending six representatives to the Sophomore All-Star game for the ACCAC on Friday October 12th. The ACCAC Division 1 game will be played at 7:30pm in the main stadium at the Peoria Sports Complex. The showcase game takes place in front of hundreds of college and professional scouts. All six representatives were member of the 2011-12 SMCC baseball team.

Two pitchers and four position players will participate in the All-Star Game.  Lane Doty, All Conference in 2012 as a first-baseman will play the outfield. Doty posted a .335 batting average with 65 hits as a freshman.  Jordan Frabasilio, also a converted outfielder, had 7 doubles, 4 triples, 1 home run and 29 RBIs as a freshman.  Pitchers Vinny Lujan and Mike Ebersole will each throw an inning. Lujan had 21 strikeouts in 24 innings for the Cougars in 2012, while Ebersole led the team in ERA at 2.33 in 27 innings with 4 saves. Catchers TC Mark and Colton Frabasilio will share the catching duties in the All-Star game. Mark had 17 extra base hits and 26 RBI in 2012. Colton Frabasilio had 34 hits and 21 RBI last season.

Sep 10 14

SMCC Stars Scholarship Fundraiser Concert

by Barnes,Donna C.

Stars Foundation Scholarship

Featuring Isola Jones, Sept. 19

Experience the drama of the opera! Join us for “Romance, Deception and Revenge in Opera”, Friday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. Get a glimpse of the universality of opera and its timeless as well as contemporary relevance!

The performance is staged with costumes from 4 different operas: Samson and Delilah; The Tales of Hoffmann; The Marriage of Figaro and Aida.

Isola Jones along with voice students Dawn Corso, Vanessa McGlothan, David Hsu, and Jonathan Ireland will perform in scenes from these operas. The performance will be narrated by Liz Warren, Director of the SMCC Storytelling Institute.

Sep 5 14

District 5 Governing Board Candidate Forum

by Barnes,Donna C.

SMCC will be hosting a special forum featuring the District 5 incumbent candidate, Mr. Alfredo Gutierrez, running for the Governing Board of the Maricopa Community Colleges District, representing South Mountain Community College, Gateway Community College and Estrella Mountain Community College.

Governing Board members hold key positions in determining the well-being of our colleges and district. Community members and voters are invited to participate in this candidate forum opportunity to meet Mr. Alfredo Gutierrez and dialogue with him about goals, priorities for the coming years, future direction, and offer suggestions and ideas.

For more information about Mr. Gutierrez please visit

September 17, 2014
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Free and open to the public.

South Mountain Community College
Library Community Room
7050 S. 24th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85042

Sep 4 14

Mobile Pantry Distribution

by Barnes,Donna C.

South Mountain Community College Mobile Pantry Distribution Begins Friday, September 5, 2014

On September 5, South Mountain Community College employees and students will help their community by packing FREE boxes of food as volunteers for the St. Mary’s Food Bank Mobile Pantry Distribution.

Fresh fruit and vegetables will be available for all families or individuals in need.  The Mobile Pantry is open to the public and free of charge. No identification or qualifying is required.

The Mobile Pantry takes place every two weeks from 7:00am – 9:00am at the South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center.

Distribution dates for the semester are as follows:

  • September 5 and 19
  • October 3 and 17
  • November 7 and 21
  • December 5 and 19.

South Mountain Community College is located at 7050 S. 24th Street, Phoenix, just north of Baseline Rd.

For additional information, please call 602.243.8065.

May 14 14

SMCC Men’s Baseball

by Barnes,Donna C.

Congratulations SMCC Cougars!

The Cougars of South Mountain CC won the 2014 Region 1 Division 1 Championship on May 8th and 9th. South Mountain defeated Cochise College by the scores of 2-1 and 11-10 (11 innings) last week to earn the opportunity to host the 2014 Western District Playoff. Sophomore Melvin Gray won the Region Tournament Most Valuable Player Award. Freshman Tyler Erwin was the winning pitcher in both games last week, while freshman Jeff Carter had 12 total hits in the Region Tournament. South Mountain will participate in the Western District Playoff this week (Thursday through Saturday) along with Cochise College (Region 1 runner-up), Western Nevada College (Region 18 champion), and Trinidad State JC (Region 9 champion).

Apr 28 14

Digital Education Innovations

by Barnes,Donna C.
SMCC named a Top Ten Mid-Size College for Digital Education Innovations

The Center for Digital Education named the winners of their Annual Survey April 3. Among the other winners, SMCC was recognized for innovative uses of technology to achieve first-rate student learning environments. Survey questions and criteria examined and scored areas of digital and emerging technologies, such as use of mobile devices and technology integration into curriculum; strategic planning and data management; and professional development, including availability of technology tools and training for faculty and students. In addition, colleges were surveyed on their technology priorities, infrastructure and networks, collaboration and outreach efforts and use of technology innovations.
Apr 1 14

No Fooling – New SMCC Website Launched April 1st!

by Barnes,Donna C.

Here are the Top 5 innovative changes to the website:

#1 Responsiveness: The new website is designed to be responsive for any screen size or mobile device. That means, no matter what platform you are using, you will see the website at its full capacity.

 Custom Class Schedule & Complete Listing of Degrees & Certificates:  A custom class schedule was the number one student request, and the web team delivered. The students will now be able to quickly find information about their classes, helpful information about class availability, and information about their instructors. SMCC students will also now have all the information they need to complete a degree program at their fingertips.  Students will be able to easily see the classes they need take, the availability of those classes, and when they are offered.

# 3 Aesthetically Beautiful:  The new website is just better looking. There is more space and less words, which makes it easier to read. It is also laid out strategically, to make it easier to read.

#4 Athletics Highlighted:  The Athletic portion of the website, has been specifically designed to better promote our athletic teams and sports activities.

#5 New Directory: There are now over 500 people in our new SMCC Directory on the new website. What’s going to be really advantageous to all, the directory is automatically updated, so it will contain all the latest information. Also new….adjunct faculty are now listed in the directory.

There are many more changes to the new website.  It is sure to be a great advantage for our students, the community, and we hope you enjoy it! Visit us at


Mar 20 14

Music Under The Stars

by Barnes,Donna C.

SMCC Presents “Music Under The Stars,”
A Free Outdoor Concert on March 28

College Music Program Takes Center Stage in Outdoor Musical Revue


The South Mountain Community College Music Program will spotlight its talented students, as well as community performers, in “Music Under The Stars,” an outdoor concert set for Friday evening, March 28.Led by Performing Arts Division Chair Dr. Jerome Garrison, the groups performing will include the SMCC Community Concert Band; the SMCC Day Jazz Band; the SMCC Latin Jazz Band; and Carmela ya Mas, Latin Jazz and Salsa Band. The concert will end with a special guest performance by Phoenix jazz-fusion band Catfish Groove Farm. Open seating for the free concert will be on the lawn of the college’s Performing Arts center Amphitheatre. Spectators are invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs, and picnic in the shade of the SMCC Performance Hall.


The concert will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 28.


The SMCC Performance Hall Amphitheatre is located on the east side of the Main Campus, at 7050 S. 24th Street in Phoenix, just north of Baseline Road.


Music lovers of all ages are encouraged to attend. Admission is FREE! Donations will be accepted.


South Mountain Community College is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges.

Mar 4 14

“Relay For Life” Kick-off

by Barnes,Donna C.

The SMCC planning committee is busy gearing up to host our 3rd American Cancer Society “Relay for Life” event, scheduled for Fall 2014. On Monday, March 24, 2014 at 4:30 p.m., you’re invited to a Celebration and Kickoff in the Performing Arts Amphitheater. Have fun and find out how you can donate, join a team, and encourage survivors to participate. Come find out #WhyIRelay! This year, “Relay for Life” will take place Friday, October 24, 2014.

View flyer for more information.

Jan 28 14

SMCC Celebrates Black History Month

by Barnes,Donna C.

(PHOENIX, Ariz., Jan. 24, 2014)—During this year’s month of remembrance honoring the unique and rich history of African-Americans in the United States, South Mountain Community College presents a series of cultural festivities.

Students, faculty, alumni, and the community are invited to attend all free events.

Jan 27 14

Phoenix, Az – SMCC Named as One of Top 150 in The Country

by Barnes,Donna C.

Nation’s Signature Recognition of Excellence, Chosen from over 1,000 Community Colleges Which Serve Nearly Half of All Undergraduates in US

Washington, DC, January 24, 2014 – Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, this week the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named South Mountain Community College (SMCC) as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds.

The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

The Aspen Institute identified the top 150 community colleges through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures.  Together, the 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the Prize represent the diversity and richness of the entire sector:

  • They are located in 37 states across the nation;
  • They represent urban, rural, and suburban markets; and
  • They encompass big community colleges and small community colleges—from Miami Dade College in Florida serving over 100,000 students to Carver Career Center in West Virginia serving fewer than 500 students.

A full list of the 150 community colleges is available at Prize winners will be announced in early 2015.

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.  “Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility for every American” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap for community colleges nationwide.”

South Mountain Community College (SMCC) and 149 other community colleges were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. The formula used to select the colleges was devised by expert analysts at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in consultation with an expert advisory committee convened by the Aspen Institute. The data focus on student retention and completion, considered from three perspectives:

  • Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 “full-time equivalent” students)
  • Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric      over time)
  • Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and      low-income students)

To ensure full representation of the range and diversity of the sector, adjustments were applied with respect to mission, size, and minority representation.

Ten finalists will be named in fall 2014. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2015.

South Mountain Community College is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges.  For more information about SMCC, visit

Jan 24 14

Making a Difference

by Barnes,Donna C.

SMCC’s Club Teach Makes a Difference through their “Fall Into The Season Of Giving” 2013 initiative!

Our most sincere thanks to members of our SMCC community who helped make the holiday season memorable for 51 children in the refugee program through the Catholic Charities, a non-profit organization.

Your thoughtfulness and generosity is truly appreciated.

“It meant a lot to the children whose smiles were forever imprinted in our memories,” said Dr. Eufemia Amabisca, Bilingual Education Instructor and Club Teach Advisor.

Click on image to view full size!

Nov 22 13

Majoring in Engineering? Take Free Classes!

by Barnes,Donna C.

Are you planning to major in Engineering?  Here is your chance to take courses for FREE!  SMCC has started an innovative new program to promote enrollment and success in their Engineering courses. The program is open to all* students who register for an Engineering course at SMCC.

Courses offered in spring 2014 are:

ECE102:  Engineering Analysis Tools and Techniques 2 Credits

Prerequisites:  Two years of high school Algebra or MAT120.
Meets Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am-12:40pm.  1/14/14 – 5/8/14.
Initial Cost: $162 (in-county residents only. Non-county residents will must pay additional fees, which are not reimbursed)

ECE103:  Engineering Problem Solving and Design 2 Credits

Prerequisites:  ECE102 and (MAT151 or MAT187).
Meets Tuesday/Thursday 9:00am-10:40am.  1/14/14 – 5/8/14.
Initial Cost: $162 (in-county residents only. Non-county residents will must pay additional fees, which are not reimbursed)

EEE202:  Circuits and Devices (Lecture & Lab) 5 Credits

Prerequisites:  ECE103, MAT276, and PHY131.
Meets Tuesday/Thursday 5:00pm-8:20pm.  1/14/14 – 5/8/14.
Initial Cost: $405 plus a lab fee of $20, for a total cost of $425 (in-county residents only. Non-county residents will must
pay additional fees, which are not reimbursed)

Students must pay the tuition and lab fees at the time of registration. Halfway through the semester students still enrolled in the course and earning a C or better will get half of their tuition and fees reimbursed. Students successfully completing the course with a C or better will get the second half of their tuition and fees reimbursed when the semester is over. Additional information is attached. Interested students should enroll soon, as each course is limited to just 24 students.

To register, please visit or call 602-243-8336.

*Students who are repeating a course are not eligible to receive money for the course being repeated.

Oct 2 13

SMCC Presents 26th Annual Handel’s Messiah, Dec. 7

by Bowen,Eva M.

College Celebrates Holiday Season Tradition

WHAT: The twenty-sixth annual performance of Highlights from Handel’s Messiah will be presented December 7 at 6:30 p.m. at South Mountain Community College.

Under the direction of Dr. Jerome Garrison, SMCC Music Faculty Chair, more than 80 vocalists and instrumentalists will participate in this year’s performance, comprising the Community Concert Choir and Orchestra.

Year after year, the performance proves to be one of the most moving musical pieces of all time.

• Saturday, December 7
• 6:30 p.m.
• SMCC Performance Hall, 7050 S. 24th Street in Phoenix (just north of Baseline Road.)

TICKETS: Donations Will Be Accepted At The Door

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• Call 602.243.8353
South Mountain Community College is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges.

Sep 30 13

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: New York Times Best-Selling Author Victor Villaseñor Visiting SMCC

by Bowen,Eva M.

SMCC Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Wednesday, October 9th!

South Mountain Community College will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with campus festivities, food, and lectures from New York-Times Best-selling author Victor Villaseñor. Villaseñor is a Mexican-American writer best known for his New York Times bestselling novel Rain of Gold. Villaseñor’s acclaimed written works, as well as his inspiring lectures, have earned him numerous awards and endorsements, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Villaseñor’s works are often taught in American schools.

A gifted and accomplished speaker, Villaseñor, in his candid and heartfelt manner, brings a fresh perspective to a number of universal themes, including pride in cultural heritage, the strength of family, dedication to education and personal achievement, the power of the written word, world harmony and peace.

Schedule of events on October 9, 2013:
8 a.m. Book Sale – Throughout the Day
(SMCC Learning Resource Center Patio and Performing Arts Center Lobby)
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Campus Lecture, SMCC Performing Arts Center
12:30 p.m. Book Signing, SMCC Performing Arts Center
7 p.m. Public Lecture, SMCC Performing Arts Center
8:30 p.m. Book Signing, SMCC Performing Arts Center

Sep 27 13

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! New York-Times Best-selling author Victor Villaseñor to visit South Mountain Community College

by Bowen,Eva M.

New York Times Best-selling author Victor Villaseñor will visit South Mountain Community College on October 9th!

Villaseñor is a Mexican-American writer best known for his New York Times bestselling novel Rain of Gold. Villaseñor’s acclaimed written works, as well as his inspiring lectures, have earned him numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Campus Lecture – 11 a.m.
12:30 p.m. Book signing immediately following lecture

Public Lecture – 7 p.m.
8:30 p.m. Book signing immediately following lecture

Performing Arts Center​

Sep 23 13

Inspired by Cupcakes – The Path to Success, Do What Makes You Happy!

by Bowen,Eva M.

Inspiration can come from many places. On September 12th, for many of the 800 SMCC students, faculty/staff, and members of the community in attendance at his presentation, it came from Johnny Cupcakes! All of the people that I talked to said they felt the lecture was very motivating, humorous, and it made them think about life and owning a business a little differently. They were very impressed by Johnny’s dedication to providing a very special and creative experience for his customers. Many told me how impressed they were that SMCC would do something of this nature for students and the community.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but so are profound thoughts and statements. Here are some direct thoughts from those in attendance:

· “I was very honored to participate in this event and it was just what I needed. It had been many years since I attended college and re-entering at such time when a successful, diligent, and humble person as Johnny Cupcakes would give of his time and expertise to those whom are entrepreneurs or just trying to find their niche, was very enriching. Thank you SMCC staff for exceeding the purpose and bringing this enlightening and exciting event to our campus. Thank you Johnny Cupcakes and your staff for answering the call.” – Saidah Jahi, 1st year Business Student

· “Many students were excited to see that determination and hard work pay off. It’s amazing everyone is lining up to get his stuff and they don’t even know him.” – SMCC Faculty Member

· “It was very, very, very good. My girlfriend was very interested in his t-shirts. Now I’m going to be a consistent buyer. He is really into his customers.” – Alex Harper, Community Member.

· “I am extremely happy I came.” – Byron Webb, Transfer student, 52 years old.

· “It was good information. He’s a maverick. He’s someone that took on a challenge the hard way and he was courageous in doing it. Encouraging to see that SMCC promotes entrepreneurship at this college.” – Fernando Gaytan, Tempe.

· “It was very interesting. Makes me think out of the box.” – Eddie Bridges, 2nd year business student

· “It was very insightful. I thought it was cool. I like seeing someone come from nothing and doing great things.” – Deanna Cuellar, SMCC Student

· “The best thing I took from the lecture was to never give up, it doesn’t matter what people think.” – Julianna, 2nd year Early Elementary student

· “It was motivating, his personality, personal style. You have to love what you do. Whatever you do, love it. Do it the best. It wasn’t all hype. There was a lot of content.” – SMCC Student

Awesome points everyone! After Johnny’s lecture, it was time to buy some exclusively made for Arizona t-shirts, posters and other items from his pop-up shop in the Student Union. Hundreds stood patiently in line to get some of his gear and also for the opportunity to meet him. The atmosphere was very upbeat – even for those who waited for hours. Johnny is known for staying until he has met everyone, and on that night he didn’t disappoint! The event did not end until the very last person got some time with Johnny, amazingly at 2:30 a.m. in the morning!

Overall, the entire Johnny Cupcake experience was more than many could imagine. Thank you Johnny for coming to South and thank you SMCC faculty and staff for providing this life changing experience for many!

What did you learn most from the lecture? Feel free to leave your comments below!

(SMCC Marketing & Communications)

Sep 17 13

OH WHAT A NIGHT! An Evening with Johnny Cupcakes at SMCC

by Bowen,Eva M.

Thursday night, SMCC’s gym turned into something worthy of a rock star! There was upbeat music playing, film crews, TV cameras, big screens, and amazing lighting, as 800 students, faculty, staff, and members of the community flowed into the gym to take their seats. The atmosphere was fun, loud, and you could just see the look of anticipation on everyone’s face as they waited for Johnny Cupcakes to take the stage.
The crowd was greeted with a slide on the screens that said, “Hi I’m Johnny Cupcakes. I think everyone should do more of what makes them happy.” After he was introduced, Johnny walked on the stage to thundering applause. In a bright green t-shirt bearing his name with a whimsical cupcake-themed print, Johnny had the audience mesmerized from the beginning of his lecture. He shared lots of personal advice and stories, which were both motivational and humorous.

Throughout the lecture, Johnny emphasized the importance of branding, word of mouth advertising, and constantly reinvesting back in your business. He shared many words of wisdom and I wanted to share some of them with you. Here are 15 stand-out quotes from his lecture:

Life according to Johnny:
1. “Be positive, set goals, stay out of trouble, utilize your resources and think outside the box.”

2. “If you learn how to be an entrepreneur, you can move those practices into anything.”

3. “Get the tools necessary to become an entrepreneur: Your business card, your resume, and a website. Remember to put some thought into them; they are all an extension of your personality. You will never know when an opportunity is going to present itself.”

4. “The little details are very important in whatever you do. They heighten the experience. Those details can help your brand grow.”

5. “Three things to remember when meeting people. Have good eye contact, a good handshake, and stay positive.”

6. “You have to spend money to make money.”

7. “Be careful about going into business with friends. Money makes people act funny.”

8. “If owning a business was that easy, everyone would have a business and it wouldn’t be so special.”

9. “Your job doesn’t define who you are, and just because you don’t like your job, don’t act like you are miserable.”

10. “When it comes to school, don’t act like it’s a race. You’re spending your time and money to be here. You don’t have to finish on someone else’s schedule. Graduate at your own pace.”

11. “Try to figure out what you’re passionate about.”

12. “If I could go back in time, I would have done some things differently. I would have taken my English and Business classes a lot more seriously.”

13. “Every job is a stepping stone to something better. So represent your job well.”

14. “The best thing you can get from tonight is the power of networking. Meet strangers, unless they drive a white van.”

15. “Remember, if you’re not failing, you’re not learning.”

Johnny Cupcakes’ lecture was filled with good advice. Who better to tell how they felt about it than those in the audience? In part two of this blog about the lecture, we will hear from students, staff, and members of the community.

Eva Bowen
(SMCC Marketing & Communications)

Sep 8 13

Inspiring Students

by Bowen,Eva M.

This week I had to chance to sit down with several SMCC students to discuss Johnny Cupcakes’ upcoming lecture on campus. Saidah Jahi, a first year student, wondered what all the fuss was about. “I had never heard of Johnny Cupcakes, but when I first came to enroll and I saw flyers all over the place, I was like who the heck is Johnny Cupcakes? So I looked him up on the internet and read a little bit more about him.” Jahi is also an entrepreneur and once she learned more, she felt that Johnny’s lecture would help her learn more about businesses in the 21st century.

Johnny Earle, known as Johnny Cupcakes, was voted America’s #1 Young Entrepreneur by Business Week magazine in 2003. He’s a famous entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean owning your business is what his message is about. The core of Johnny’s lectures deal with being creative, innovative, and most of all doing something you enjoy and have passion for.

First year student Casey Manues says all students will benefit from Johnny’s message. “Even if you are not trying to open up your own business, it’s good to be business savvy and understand the concepts of it,” said Manues.

If you are still deciding whether or not to attend the lecture, maybe Matt Hobel can change your mind. “He has had a lot of success and clearly he has made a lot of money. People like that have a lot of information they can share with young students like us. So why not take advantage of the resources we have like Johnny Cupcakes,” said Hobel, a second year student.

It’s resources like this that SMCC’s Business College and Community Entrepreneurship Center hope to continually bring to South. The goal is to provide timely, relevant information that will help everyone learn and grow, no matter who they want to be.

“Having the opportunity to attend and hear someone like Johnny Cupcakes who started from the ground up, which is where I am starting, what else can you ask for? It’s like having a Donald Trump right on your campus, “said Jahi.

It’s an event you don’t want to miss! We hope to see you on September 12th at 6:00 p.m. for the best seating in the SMCC Gym.

(SMCC Marketing & Communications)

Sep 3 13

Johnny Cupcakes, Johnny Who?

by Barnes,Donna C.

Johnny Cupcakes…Johnny Who? This week we unveiled to the campus that Johnny Cupcakes was coming to South. Everywhere you looked, you probably heard or saw something about Johnny Cupcakes! If you’re like me, your sweet tooth kicked in and you were probably asking, “Where do I get my cupcake?” I soon found out Mr. Johnny Cupcakes (real name Johnny Earle) has nothing to do with cupcakes…in fact he sells t-shirts. So since I was going to have to help tell everyone about the man himself – what do you think I did? I “googled it” baby, of course! I soon found out this Mr. Cupcakes was a very interesting guy.

According to the oh-so great Wikipedia:

“Johnny Cupcakes . . . is a clothing brand founded in 2001 by Johnny Earle. The clothing line uses cupcakes as the prominent design motif for its merchandise, often replacing iconic symbols with cupcakes. The brand’s insignia is skull and crossbones, with a cupcake silhouette replacing the skull. The Johnny Cupcakes line includes t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, jewelry, undergarments, and pins. Its flagship stores are located in Boston, Los Angeles, London‘s Carnaby Street, Oak Bluffs and Hull, Massachusetts, along with his online store, which ships worldwide. All Johnny Cupcakes retail shops are furnished extensively according to a bakery theme.” (

Wikipedia goes on to tell the origin story of The Cupcake:
“Earle says he initially started the Johnny Cupcakes brand “dewas Dewan.” The clothing line has its origins back in 2000 when Earle worked at the Newbury Comics music shop in Braintree, Massachusetts. Each day, his co-workers would coin a new nickname for him: Johnny Appleseed, Johnny Pancakes, Johnny Cupcakes, Johnny Coffeecakes, etc.

In 2001, while ordering screen-printed shirts for the metalcore band he played in (On Broken Wings), Earle ran off a few shirts designed with the “Johnny Cupcakes” nickname. Almost immediately, co-workers and store customers noticed the cupcakes-themed shirts whenever he wore them, and many inquired about how to purchase them. Sensing the demand, Earle started selling the shirts from the trunk of his car to local friends and acquaintances.

When On Broken Wings signed with a record label and began touring in 2002, Earle stuffed his suitcase full of Johnny Cupcakes shirts to sell at shows and give to other musicians on the bill. This helped expose his designs to new audiences across the country, and the brand began to develop a cult following. The following year, Earle quit the band to focus full-time on his fledgling business.” (

Sounds like an interesting guy, doesn’t he??? Okay, so this is just the intro, but stick around it gets juicy! This man literally went from zero to HERO!

Mark your calendars for September 12th, I promise you it will be the HOTTEST ticket in town!

SMCC Marketing Diva

So what did you think when you heard about Johnny Cupcakes? Fascinated? Excited? Leave a comment below. Thank you!


Sep 3 13

Why Johnny Cupcakes?

by Bowen,Eva M.

Why Johnny Cupcakes?

Because we know Johnny’s lecture has the potential to be very impactful for students, faculty/staff and the community, I wanted to share more information about Johnny Cupcakes. Last week we answered the question of who he is, so today we’re filling you in on why he’s being brought to campus.

“Our students deserve to hear his message,” said Shari Olson, SMCC President. Olson goes on to say, “We have keynote speakers for faculty and staff regularly. Why not include the student body? Students are the reason we are all here, and we are all invested in helping them connect with their passions.”

So what is Johnny’s message all about? Mr. Cupcakes speaks about the essence of truly being successful. “Real success is being happy doing what you love. If you do something you are passionate about, you work hard, you do it overtime, you do it until 3, 4, 5 in the morning it doesn’t feel like work and you’re happy. Even if you are not financially successful right away, you are emotionally successful and it affects almost every part of your life,” said Johnny Cupcakes.

Johnny’s company became so successful that requests came in from high schools, colleges, and universities for him to speak about entrepreneurship and running a small business. Johnny recognizes and speaks to the fact that many goals hinge upon higher education, and he conveys the importance of small business management, branding, product development, and marketing.

His inspiring message is why Johnny Cupcakes is headed our way on September 12th. Mark your calendars and be sure to come early as seating is limited. The evening promises to be educational, entertaining and inspiring – and that, my friends, will truly be the icing on the cupcake.

Hope to see you there!

Eva Bowen
(SMCC Marketing & Communications)