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Interim Chancellor hosts listening tour

The newly appointed interim chancellor for Maricopa Community Colleges (MCCD) visited Mesa Community College (MCC) on Feb. 25 to hear the concerns and opinions from MCC faculty and staff. 

Steven Gonzales moved from his previous role as President at Gateway Community College to interim chancellor on Jan. 25, 2020, following the resignation of previous chancellor, Maria Harper-Marinick.

 Gonzales is hosting a district wide listening tour by attending all MCCD campuses. 

“The intent of this listening tour is to help inform the kind of work that we will do,” Gonzales explained. “It’s to inform the work that needs to be done over the next several months and take advantage of this short time, and also be able to hand off some information to the person coming in.”

The open space dialogue encouraged MCC employees to share their ideas on the improvement of campus life and structure. 

Gonzales asked questions consistent across every listening tour stop and faculty had the opportunity to respond. 

The first question regarded missed opportunities for the entire district. One by one faculty and staff were given a microphone to speak. Concerns such as cohesiveness, financial opportunity, and professional training were brought to attention. 

The next question concerned the biggest challenges the institution faces. The biggest repeated challenge was the pathway from a community college to a university and lack of credit to Maricopa colleges. 

A member of the MCC education program discussed how a student’s teaching degree names only their university, not their community college.

Staff discovered issues of which not everyone was aware. After a representative from Disability Resources and Services (DRS) spoke on the lack of representation of DRS officials in the district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, Gonzales responded by calling for communication and inclusion. 

To conclude his visit, Gonzales asked the staff, “Why do you work for Maricopa and what is the ideal working climate for you?” The common response remarked the dedication given to every student and improving their lives by giving them opportunities echoed in the room.  

“If we do this right over the next several months, we should be able to have some sort of effect on the culture of this organization,” Gonzales added when discussing the purpose of the visits and the goals he has as interim chancellor. 

The conference was live streamed to those who could not attend, but has since been taken down. Gonzales concludes the remainder of his tour in March.

About Author

Kierra Sharman is a sophomore at Mesa Community College, majoring in journalism. She is the senior reporter for the Mesa Legend and has written for other community papers since 2016.