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PCC, Popular as Ever, Yet Stretched to the Limit

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College is as popular as ever, but the college is facing more challenges than ever before, too.Asking a mere $45 a credit, PCC will venture into the 2002-03 school year this fall with an annual student population of more than 105,500 and 25,100 full-time equivalent (FTE) students. That is a growth of 6.5 percent total headcount and 7.4 percent FTE from the year before, and far exceeds the 2 percent annual enrollment growth planned for in the budget. As fall term commences on Monday, Sept. 23, PCC will be stretched to the limit to continue to offer an accessible and affordable education to all.For example, fall term anatomy and physiology courses at the Sylvania Campus filled within seven minutes of the start of registration. At the Financial Aid office, workers have processed 120 percent more applications (from 7,393 to 16,266) this year than they did in all in 1998-99. With limited staff and resources, department officials are asking students to be patient when waiting for their applications to be processed. In addition, college officials ask that students arrive early, and if possible, find alternative methods of transportation such as Tri-Met or PCC’s shuttle bus (503-977-4242), car pooling, or getting dropped off at campuses the first several weeks of the term."The work that staff and faculty have done for PCC students has been admirable, especially in these tough fiscal times,"said PCC President Jesus "Jess"Carreon. "With their help, this college will continue to be a valued resource for learning and a beacon of hope for thousands of Oregonians for a very long time."Here’s an overview of what is new this year for PCC:BudgetThe PCC Board of Directors adopted the college’s general fund fiscal year budget of $121,523,698.* By campus, the distribution of expenditures includes $34,678,571 for the Sylvania Campus; $16,866,922 at the Cascade Campus; and $13,528,481 for the Rock Creek Campus.*Note: Due to unpredictable state funding forecasts, the budget numbers may change.The total includes all operating expenditures for the 2002-03 fiscal year and is the college’s primary operating fund for all major instructional programs, instructional support and services. The board’s formal adoption of the budget followed certification from the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission at the end of a public hearing in late June. The levy to property owners will be $.2828 per $1,000 of assessed value. In addition, the college’s tuition rate increased $5 per credit hour for 2002-03, from $40 to $45.PCC NewsPCC is moving full-steam ahead with bond construction projects across its district. The college will kick off construction projects at the Cascade Campus with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3, (time TBA) at the southeast corner of Killingsworth Street and Kerby Avenue, across the street from the campus library. The ceremony will mark several years of planning for the $57 million expansion of the Cascade Campus, made possible by bond money from the November 2000 election. The phase one projects include an addition to the Jackson Hall science building; the construction of a new physical education complex, and the remodeling of the Student Services building. The ceremonial groundbreaking represents not only new construction, but also an expansion of the Cascade Campus outside of its architectural footprint. With the Cascade construction projects, as well as other PCC bond construction activity, PCC will make "a committed and focused effort to involve minority, women and emerging small businesses on the projects,"said Steve Sivage, director of Plant Services for the college. The college began building its new $18-million Southeast Center, hosting a "wall razing"ceremony Aug. 14 at the new site, which is located at the corner of Southeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street. More than 100 people from the community and college were in attendance. Once the dust settles from the construction, the new 94,000-square-foot complex is targeted to open in fall of 2003, allowing the college to bring more lower-division college courses to outer Southeast, as well as English as a second language classes, alternative high school offerings, pre-college and professional-technical classes.Large-scale construction projects at Sylvania and Rock Creek will begin next spring. Current activity centers on design development, and the remodeling of classrooms and elevators. The Sylvania Campus will build a general classroom and distance learning facility, and at Rock Creek there will be a new library/student services building, plus new science labs in Building 7. The Portland Teachers Program (PTP) added a new partner, bringing increased opportunities for students. In a signing ceremony in August at the Cascade Campus, University of Portland President David T. Tyson brought the university into the program. With the new agreement, the University of Portland will pay tuition for up to 10 PTP students each year, planned for full phase-in by 2010. The Portland Teachers Program is a collaborative effort of Portland Public Schools, Portland Community College, Portland State University, and now the University of Portland, to increase the diversity of the teaching corps in Portland’s classrooms.The Institute for Management and Professional Development has recently broadened its alliance with the City of Portland. The partnership calls for the PCC program to become the training arm for professional development credit classes for City of Portland employees. Classes are offered throughout the Portland metropolitan area and online through distance learning. Carreon, a long-time leader within the ranks of two-year colleges, has been selected chair-elect of the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Carreon assumed his new position July 1, and will become chair of the board July 1, 2003, serving one-year terms in each position. Carreon and the board of directors of AACC will help lead the nation’s two-year colleges as they begin their second century of service and face a series of major challenges.Workforce TrainingWith the help of Portland Community College’s Customized and Workplace Training (CWT) department, the northwest Portland steel foundry ESCO has been transformed from a facility crammed with excess inventory and slowed by unnecessary downtime to a sleek, just-in-time operation. ESCO collaborated with PCC’s CWT in late 2000 to apply for federal dollars available through the U.S. Department of Labor and the Oregon Community College and Workforce Development department. The $100,000 grant was used to fund eight focused events – also known as Kaizen Blitz, a Japanese continuous improvement model. Nearly half of the plant’s 118 hourly employees took part in the focused events. Each group followed a common set of ground rules designed to promote openness and identify bottlenecks. Now ESCO and PCC are sharing their successful project with other trainers and businesses. A severe shortage of state-licensed radiographers prompted health care organizations and PCC to team up to expand the Radiography program. The highly regarded Sylvania Campus program received $160,000 from 14 health care groups to grow the program, adding faculty members to increase class offerings. Four of the health care groups have also signed on to provide clinical sites for students to train. The program which currently serves 36 students, will now be able to expand to 48 students. The PCC Radiography program is one of two programs in Oregon and the only program in the metropolitan area. The graduates regularly achieve a 100 percent pass rate on their licensing exam with an average score of 88, five points above the national average.Another medical career program, nursing, is also exploring ways to increase its enrollment to address the metro-area nursing shortage. A proposal on the table calls for teaming up with area hospitals. PCC Nursing Director Julia Emblen said she believes the proposal, termed "ad
opt-a-student,"has merit and hopes to see it implemented. The program would start with a pilot group of five to 10 additional nursing students, and then keep expanding. The nursing students would each have a nurse mentor at participating hospitals. The program currently graduates 70 to 75 students each year.New ProgramsPCC now offers an Emergency Medical Technician program at the Southeast Center. The new program offers career training for entry-level positions in emergency medical settings. These include ambulance companies, fire and police departments, and various other industries requiring emergency services. After successful completion of the associate’s of applied science degree, a student is eligible to apply and take respective state certification exams. For more information, call 503-788-6205.The Aviation Science program at the Rock Creek Campus now has a new component – Helicopter Commercial Flight. The new class is for students interested in earning an instrument rating along with their commercial certificate, or for those entering the commercial pilot program. For more information, call 503-614-7246.To discover more about all that PCC has to offer, from traditional students to seniors who want to continue their lifelong learning, stop by any of the college’s three main campuses at Sylvania (located at 12000 S.W. 49th Ave.), Rock Creek (17705 N.W. Springville Road) or Cascade (705 N. Killingsworth). To begin your education, access the PCC Web site at: Students are welcome to walk in and register, or use PCC’s automated touchtone telephone registration system, TRAIL at 503-977-5000 or toll-free at 1-866-822-1010; on the Web site at the PCC Online Services link; by fax at 503-977-4988; through the mail, or consult the fall term PCC Schedule of Classes, mailed to district residents in August.Available for the first time this fall is a PCC DVD "College That Fits Your Life."Produced by the Public Affairs department, the DVD will operate via a DVD player connected to a TV or a computer. The DVD will provide general information about the college, student life and Portland; interviews with current students, graduates, and faculty; and links to the college Web site for information on admission, registration, financial aid and specific education and career training programs.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »