Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Featured Library Resource: EBSCO eBooks

screen shot of web interface for EBSCO EBook collection

Need a book for an assignment but don't have enough time to make a trip to the library? 

The EBSCO eBook collection contains more than 130,000 titles from leading university presses and academic publishers.

This collection is available to students 24/7 and has a built in-citation tool to help with your reference list or works cited page.

What are you waiting for? Check it out today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Preparing For Rio's May 5 Commencement

Image of Rio Salado President Dr. Bustamante surrounded by graduates.  Quote: "We encourage you to make the most of the talents you've been given, the education you've earned and move forward with confidence, spirit and determination.  Image of 2015 graduation seal

Congratulations Class of 2015!

We are pleased you will be joining us for Commencement 2015.  We look forward to celebrating your accomplishments. This downloadable, two-page fact sheet will help you and your guests prepare for this special day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Comerica Theatre

400 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Program Timeline Overview
5:30 p.m. - Student Arrival Check-in at box office entrance on 4th Avenue.
6:00 p.m. - Assembly of Candidates Begins
7:00 p.m. - Ceremony Begins
8:30 p.m. - Recessional

For more information contact Eric Wibbing at 480-517-8156 or

Commemorative Video
DVDs of the ceremony can be purchased at the event for $20 and must be paid at the time the order is placed. Cash or credit cards will be accepted. Orders can also be placed through email requests between now and Monday, May 25 by submitting to DVD orders take 6-8 weeks to process.

Visit this web page for the latest updates. 


4 Steps to Transfer Your Online Degree

Snapshot from U.S. News web landing page for this story: "4 Steps to Transfer Online Associate Credits to a 4-Year Online Program.

It literally pays to talk to your academic advisor-- especially if you're an online community college student transferring to a four-year online institution. 

This online story by U.S. News & World Report education reporter Ian Quillen emphasizes the steps you should take before transferring. Included are perspectives from Rio Salado Director of Academic Advisement David Hall.

The Communiversity at QC provides students with 40+ educational programs including certificates of completion, associate, bachelor and graduate degrees. Each program pathway allows students to have a seamless transfer from one institution to another in one convenient location.

Academic advising is available in-person at the Communiversity at QC. Stop by or schedule an appointment by calling 480.384.900.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Early Childhood Ed Scholarship

snapshot of ECE students in a group, from Bright Horizons web page

14th Annual Bright Futures Scholarship Provides Help to Aspiring Early Childhood Education (ECE) Teachers

flier for scholarship.  See accompanying text for details.

Bright Horizons® has launched its 2015 Bright Futures program and developed an award to encourage students of great promise to continue pursuing their dreams of teaching young children.

To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in a program in ECE or related field. Students must also have completed a minimum level of coursework in their program. See application for complete requirements.

Get started  now. 

All applications are due June 10.

Bright Horizons Family Solutions is the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored early care, education and work/life solutions. With centers around the world, Bright Horizons is the partner of choice for hundreds of organizations, including more than 80 Fortune 500 firms and has been named fifteen times as one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For."

Learn more about Rio Salado's Online Early Childhood & Human Development certificate and degree programs by visiting this web page.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrate Earth Day 2015

an image of the Earth with four large recycle symbols surrounding it.
Celebrate Earth Day's 45th anniversary by learning about the history of this globally recognized holiday, and how you can get involved!

Get involved locally now with the Town of Queen Creek's Recycling Contest. Help sort the recyclables from the trash and you could WIN a brand new bicycle!

Learn how you can make a career out of being sustainable with Rio Salado's Sustainable Food Systems program.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Early Childhood Open House, April 23

group of young children lie in a circle with their heads touching.

RSVP for the Early Childhood & Human Development Program open house, sponsored by Rio Salado College, on Thursday, April 23, at the Communiversity at QC!

The open house will provide information about our certificate and degree programs and other professional development opportunities available.

When: April 23, 2015
Time: 5:30 -7 p.m.
The Communiversity at QC
21740 S. Ellsworth Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85142

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Enjoy appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Meet the Rio Salado Early Childhood and Human Development program team
  • Network with your colleagues
  • Tour our Queen Creek facilities

Please RSVP by April 21 to 
or by phone at 480-517-8818.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taking Notes From Live Lectures

image of an empty classroom

One of the biggest struggles students face is managing note taking while their instructor is lecturing. Is it necessary to write down every word? Can one pay attention and write at the same time? Can the instructor just hand out his/her notes?

In short: No. Yes. Absolutely not.

The biggest key to capturing the most important information in a lecture is by preparing beforehand. Believe it or not, there’s something to those colorful, expensive rectangles you are lugging around in your backpack.

First, those textbooks can do so much more for you than act as paperweights. Second, those reading assignments given by your instructor are not just archaic torture devices.

In all seriousness, completing reading assignments before class (rather than during and/or after)will do the best job of preparing you for taking notes. 

Think of the reading as a movie preview—reading gives you an idea of what your instructor will be discussing in class and it allows you to anticipate which information is most important.

Most instructors are not going to spend class retelling what is in the book, so if it is mentioned in the book and again in class this is a sign from the testing gods that the information is important.

The reading provides a roadmap for what is key information, but instructors typically have lots of ways they are subtly cluing students into potential test questions.

image shows an unseen person taking notes in a notepad.
The least subtle clue is when instructors write information on the board, put information in a Power Point presentation, or display the information in some way for the entire class to see. 

Things like changing voice inflection, vigorous hand gestures, or varying facial expressions can be more subtle, but still very important clues.

Most instructors have developed a pattern with such things and resourceful students can pick up those patterns within a few weeks of class starting.

Finally, adopt a positive position when it comes to taking notes. Look at it as a way to help you stay engaged with your instructor as well as the material during those extremely rare moments of boredom.

Part two of Taking Notes from Live Lectures will include tools that can be implemented immediately—and none of them involve recording the lecture!

Contributed by Amberly Lebeck-Brown on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

Tom Hanks on Community College

images from New York Times web page relating to article.  Illustrations of diplomas shaped into different objects by Maƫlle Doliveux.  Portrait of Tom Hanks by Vivienne Flesher

Take Pride. You're in good company and on the right track!

Check out this inspiring New York Times article by Tom Hanks, I Owe It All to My Community College.

Hanks credits Chebot Community College with shaping his future and explains the importance of community colleges for students across the country.

We are delighted to help you on your educational journey and encourage you to take advantage of the programs and services we provide.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NAU Higher Education Information Session

Event web banner, featuring student.  Text is outlined fully below.
En route to higher learning with Northern Arizona University in mind? 

Take advantage of NAU's Higher Education Information Session, Wednesday, April 22 at the Rio Salado Conference Center.

Learn about NAU's 30-hour MCCCD Partnership Program, and develop social entrepreneurship and leadership skills to thrive in new and changing environments in higher education.

NAU/MCCCD Information Session
M.Ed. Community College
Higher Education
Rio Salado Conference Center
2323 W 14th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
5-6 p.m.

For more information contact NAU Transfer Specialist, Gina Stephens at 602.776.4677 or by email at

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Early Childhood Program Pathway

a teacher sits at a small table with three young children as they complete an art project.
Interested in earning a degree or certificate in Early Childhood & Human Development? Rio Salado College is offering a certificate-to-degree program with in-person class options at the Communiversity at QC!

Learn more about the program here, and check out the latest schedule of summer and fall in-person classes here.

For additional information regarding Early Childhood undergraduate and professional development opportunities please contact a Rio Salado student services specialist at 480-517-8580 or email us at

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ten Ways to Reduce Math Anxiety

Feeling overwhelmed by the math learning curve and anxiety of taking math tests? You're not alone. Here are some great tips from Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

1. Learn to relax when you are nervous and tense. Reduce math anxiety by using meditation and deep breathing techniques in stressful situations.

2. Change negative thoughts like “I can’t do this," "I’ve never been good at math," and "I won’t finish in time” to positive thinking. You can do this!

3. Imagine yourself succeeding. Visualizing is a technique used when preparing for a performance. See yourself relaxed and successfully completing math problems.

4. Tackle the easy problems first. Scan your assignment to see which problems you can easily solve. This will help you build confidence and help you relax in preparation for more challenging problems.

5. Employ physical activities. In addition to deep breathing, try squeezing a stress ball and consider a walk or run

6. Prepare for exams early. When cramming for an exam you are likely to quickly forget. Build a study plan where you practice material over a period of time. This will ensure you have a better mastery of the material and less chance of forgetting when under stress.

7. Be good to yourself. Balancing school, as well as, your personal activities can be challenging. Your body and mind function best when we practice good eating and sleeping habits.

8. Learn the “why” of concepts. Under stress, short-term memory is usually the first to go. Math is not just a set of rules but one where concepts build on what came before. Understanding the “why” behind the rules will help you solve multiple types of problems.

9. Use support services.  Take advantage of tutoring and counseling services. These services are available free of charge to students. Also consider joining a support groups for adults with math anxiety. Don’t try to do it along. Reach out!!

10. Reward yourself when completing a difficult assignment or an exam. This is the time to take a break, stop, relax and pamper yourself.

There many more strategies at your disposal. Visit this Rio Salado Academic Success Toolbox for more self-help techniques.

Contributed by Dr. Jean Tease on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

At a Glance Guide to Summer & Fall 2015 Classes

Here's a handy, online listing of in-person classes that will be available to you this summer and fall at the Communiversity at QC:

Check for the latest updates at

Thursday, April 2, 2015

San Tan Toastmasters Celebrate 5 Years

two toastmasters members stand together outside of an event

Join the San Tan Toastmasters to celebrate five years of community service on Tuesday, April 7, 7- 8:15 p.m., at the Community at Queen Creek!

Toastmasters is a non-profit community service focusing on developing communication and leadership skills.

Complimentary refreshments will be served.

The Communiversity at QC hosts the San Tan Toastmasters every Tuesday, 7 p.m. - 8:15 p.m., at the Communiversity at Queen Creek. Sessions are free to attend.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn in a self-paced atmosphere of fun and fellowship.

Toastmasters will help you:
  • Develop better speaking and presentation skills.
  • Learn to think quickly and clearly on your feet.
  • Build strong leadership abilities.
  • Hone your listening skills.

For more information about the celebration or attending a session, please contact the Communiversity at QC at 480.384.9000

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Student Spolight: Welcome Home Ranch

Snapshot of Welcome Home Ranch web page and grounds.

A horse neighs. Another whinnies. The air is ripe with the distinct smell of barn. In the distance, hooves clomp along the hay-strewn ground, accompanied by the rhythmic tapping of…computer keyboards? Yes, a typical day at Welcome Home Ranch is in full swing.

Situated on 55 acres in the shadow of Gilbert’s San Tan Mountain, Welcome Home Ranch is work, home and school for 25 young men who have faced drug and alcohol addiction.

The property is one of three addiction recovery facilities that make up the Canada-based John Volken Academy.

“The concept is a two-year program where boys overcome their addictions, receive career and educational training and gain the tools they need to be successful in life,” said Brad Barrett, Education Director for Welcome Home Ranch and former superintendent of the Gilbert School District.

“At Welcome Home Ranch, we board 150 horses, operate a feed store and sell produce,” Barrett said. “One of the biggest responsibilities the boys have is putting on weekly rodeos and other public equine events in the arena. It’s a business and every boy has a job to do to keep the business going.”

Jobs include cleaning out stalls, feeding and washing the horses, working in the feed store, cooking, cleaning and maintaining the two onsite houses where the residents live.

When they are settled in and adjusted to life on the ranch, the boys have the opportunity to enroll in classes to further their education. Enter Rio Salado College, a pioneer of online learning in Maricopa County, and one of the largest community colleges in the nation.

“You can enroll in classes at Rio Salado every Monday,” Barrett said. “That’s perfect for us because boys come in at different times during the year.”

Online classes also work well with the ranch’s structured approach to daily living. Each day has dedicated time for chores, group sessions, life skills training and education.

“I think the biggest benefit to online classes is the ability to progress at your own pace,” said ranch resident Ryan Male, 22. “You can finish a class in one week or 16. It’s completely up to you.”

Male works hand in hand with Barrett to run the education department and credits the ranch program for finally helping him turn the corner on his addiction.

“I had actually been to nine other programs prior to this one,” Male said. “I ended up using drugs while at each of them. I sat in circles and talked about how I was going to stay clean and sober. I used to come up with awesome plans, but they never translated beyond the walls of the program.”

What made this program work?

“The John Volken Academy is work-based therapy,” Male said. “It’s a real-life simulator. The two years of practice and peer accountability offered here is what sets this program apart from all the rest.”

When Male first came to Welcome Home Ranch, he expected to only stay for a couple months. Now 21 months later, he has emerged as a role model and mentor for the other students.

Each day he makes himself available for tutoring in the ranch classroom – a small nondescript room tucked away in one of the horse barns.

“It feels great to pass a class with an A, but it also feels great when one of the guys I'm working with does the same,” Male said. “The program has given me the opportunity to watch dozens of students find their direction in life, and allowed me to lend a helping hand. It’s very rewarding.” 

Male has 40 college credits under his belt, maintains a 3.90 grade point average, and is a member of Rio Salado College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I don’t know if there is anything more satisfying than feeling like you’re on the right path,” Male said. “It’s funny to think that it’s all led through a horse barn!” 

As if on cue, barn manager and ranch resident Alex Bingham, 23, pauses in the corridor outside the classroom while returning a horse called Felicia to her stall.

Felicia peers through an open window and gazes in at the students as if to say, “You know this is a barn, right?”

Bingham laughs.

“Horses keep you honest,” he said. “Animals can read people. That’s why I feel at home in the barn.”

For Bingham, Welcome Home Ranch has been an addiction recovery program and a pathway to the next chapter in his life. Clearly finding his true passion – horses -- Bingham has a farrier job lined up after he completes the program, and hopes to one day own an equine facility.

Male will graduate from the John Volken Academy in August, and will transfer to Arizona State University in the fall, with plans to pursue a degree in engineering.

“I’m pretty interested in biological and genetic engineering,” Male said. “I find it fascinating that the most complex and efficient material on the planet is biological and that it all stems from the genetic code of a single cell.”

Those comments show just how much of a transformation Male has undergone.

“I came to the ranch with half a commitment, zero direction, and a desire to live in my own drug-induced reality,” Male said. “Now I’m a man of commitment. I have direction and purpose in life, and a huge desire to live in everyone else's reality for once. This opportunity has been the spark that lit the engine that will fuel me for the rest of my life.”

This story can also be found in the March 21, 2015 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College. 

Photos by Rio Salado Designer Bayi Smith.
Photo 1 – Barn manager and Rio Salado student Alex Bingham tends horses 
Photo 2 –
Rio Salado student Ryan Male supervises a classroom session
Photo 3 –
Rio Salado student Cameron Lewis in the horse barn classroom 
Photo 4 – Rio Salado student Alex Bingham pets a horse called Luna 

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We encourage you to share your student success stories.  Learn more in this RioNews blog.  #RioGrad