FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: JULY 28, 2023
GILA COUNTY PROVISIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT,
EASTERN ARIZONA COLLEGE REACH AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE
REGARDING TERMS OF ACCREDITATION TRANSITION
After Meeting with Senate President Petersen, EAC Agrees To Continue Admitting New GCC Students As Termination Date of Contract Is Extended Until 2025
PAYSON - Students seeking to begin coursework at Gila Community College campuses for the upcoming Fall 2023 semester can continue to do so under an agreement in principle reached between the Gila County Provisional Community College and its accreditation partner, Eastern Arizona College (EAC). The agreement in principle – which extends the termination date of the contract between the two organizations until June 30, 2025 – comes on the heels of a Tuesday, July 25th meeting with Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen, who intervened in the matter at the request of GCC leadership.
“We’re elated that EAC has agreed to do what’s right for the students of Gila County,” said Dr. Jan Brocker, the President of the GCC Provisional District Governing Board. “We look forward to implementing the orderly transition we proposed when we gave EAC 14 months’ notice that GCC would seek a new accreditation solution. This takes the pressure off our students and staff, which has been our top priority since Day One.”
EAC’s proposal, outlined in a letter from President Todd Haynie, essentially meets the terms laid out by GCC’s Board and Interim President Janice Lawhorn in communication with Haynie and in the meeting with Sen. Petersen. Haynie wrote: “EAC will offer courses and programs in Gila County at the Gila campuses for a final two-year period through, Spring 2025.” Per the letter:
● EAC will admit one final cohort of two-year students in Fall 2023 such as nursing, cosmetology, dual enrollment, and CTED programs.
● No additional cohort of students will be admitted for two-year programs after the Fall 2023 semester.
● For one-year programs, EAC will admit students until the Fall 2024 semester, after which no new students will be admitted for one-year programs.
● In the final semester of the contract, Spring 2025, only semester-length credentials and classes that allow students to finish their currently declared degree or cert will be offered.
● Courses that are single semester in length, including personal interest courses, will continue to be offered through the Spring 2025 semester.
“We are tremendously thankful that Sen. Petersen took the time to listen and to meet with both sides,” said Brocker. “The Senate President’s mandate to solve this situation immediately was key, as was his willingness to enforce some degree of accountability for the potential loss of educational opportunities by our students. This represents a huge win for all concerned and we look forward to working with EAC to finalize the details ASAP.”
Gila County Provisional Community College District
Interim President, Janice Lawhorn, Ph.D.
President GCPCCD Governing Board, Jan Brocker, Ph.D.
On Monday, May 8, 2023, the Gila County Provisional Community College District (GCPCCD) Governing Board approved the termination of the Eastern Arizona College (EAC) Educational Services and Programs Intergovernmental Agreement and Operating Agreement, effective June 30th, 2024. The Governing Board President, Dr. Jan Brocker, was authorized to work with GCPCCD legal counsel to notify EAC of the termination and to work through the impending transition.
The GCPCCD Governing Board wants to clearly state that it has not recommended any changes to the current contractual agreement with EAC, which will be in effect until the stated termination date. Over the next 13 ½ months, both colleges will work to ensure that students enrolled through the GCPCCD Payson and Gila Pueblo (Globe) Campuses will be able to complete coursework, certificate requirements, and degree program requirements. A two-year teach-out, commencing on or before the termination date of June 30, 2024, is required by the Higher Learning Commission, the institutional accrediting agency for EAC.
In forming a provisional district in 2003, the intent of the College was to go through the process of being recognized by the State of Arizona as a fully organized Community College district. While GCPCCD has valued the long-standing relationship with EAC, the Board felt that a different type of educational partnership will better position the College for a more sustainable post-secondary educational future in Gila County.
Additional information regarding a smooth transition will be forthcoming at a Town Hall at both the Payson and Gila Pueblo (Globe) Campuses in late July to communicate plans, answer questions, and address and alleviate the concerns of students and College employees.
Inquiries may be directed to Interim President Dr. Janice Lawhorn at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Governing Board President Dr. Jan Brocker at email@example.com.