Archive for Yavapai Community College


Exhibit by Nathaniel Foley on view until September 15

The Yavapai Community College Verde Valley Campus Art Gallery is  featuring an exhibit by Nathaniel Foley entitled, “flight of obscurity XII.” The Exhibit will be at the Art Galley until September 15.

The Community College describes the exhibit as sculptures “consisting of cones integrated with spires held together under tension, supported by utilitarian containers. This fragile relationship of forms exposes the delicate balance between grace and imminent danger, like the fleeting ballet of courting birds or hostile dogfight between foes. Referring to aeronautical form, the sculptures communicate tension and dance in direct opposition to fundamental forces.”

The Art Gallery is open from Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to- 3 PM. It is closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The Gallery is located at 601 Black Hills Dr. F-105, Clarkdale, Arizona 86324.


Verde Valley and Prescott politicians dual to persuade the State Junior College Board each side has the “best” location

The Blog has attached a short essay that portrays the early political struggle between the Prescott and Verde Valley politicians over the location of the first Community College in Yavapai County. This was the first of many political confrontations between the two sides of Mingus Mountain over Yavapai community College.

The dispute began in 1965. Both sides recognized the significant impact of locating a community college in their community in terms of its economic impact and overall impact on the residents. As with almost all political battles over the past 50 years involving Yavapai Community College, Prescott came out the big winner.

The essay below is in PDF format and may be downloaded by you if you choose to do so.




College says enrollment was too low to open any of the courses

Verde Valley Executive Dean James Perey reported that he has been forced to cancel all hospitality certificate courses offered at the Sedona Center prior to the start of the 2017 fall semester. His report came during an interview with Zachary Jernigan, whose article about the Center appears in the August 30 2017 edition of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Perry was quoted in the article as saying: “We need to regroup and evaluate what happened. … Look at our demographic and who to target.” Perry is also apparently considering partnering with Northern Arizona University’s hospitality program to align coursework at the Sedona Center with offerings at NAU.

Perry was also quoted in the article is saying that the College “can’t do this without business and industry … Partnerships” in the local community.

The Blog recommends a small blue-ribbon committee of Sedona business and political leaders be immediately assembled to help the College assess the reasons for the failure of this certificate program to obtain sufficient enrollment.


No formal explanation of absence from office March 21 to April 11

The cloak of secrecy around the whereabouts of Yavapai Community College President Penelope Wills from March 21 to April 11 is odd.  Staff, faculty and Board members either don’t know where she was or when asked refuse to disclose her whereabouts during that period or the purpose of her visit. 

Three sources have claimed to the Blog that she was in Auckland, New Zealand during a portion of that time. They also claim that Verde Campus Dean James Perey will visit New Zealand this summer–something about wine. 

It also seems odd that at neither the April nor May Governing Board meetings that Wills’ reported on the three-week absence from the District.  While her travel during the academic year is of little actual significance, the ability to cloak the travel and its purpose from the public illustrates the ease with which a bureaucrat paid about a quarter million dollars a year who runs a publicly financed entity can keep matters from the public.  The incident also illustrates the power Wills’ exercises over her subordinates to keep something as mundane as her travel from the public.   Obviously, this kind of behavior raises questions about what else is being kept from the public?


Hearing disability advocate questions absence of adequate facilities for deaf and hearing impaired

Hearing disabilities advocate Jack Clevenger asked the Governing Board to look into the situation at the Performance Hall for those with hearing disabilities.  Clevenger reminded the Board that the Americans for Disability Act requires facilities for the hearing impaired.  He also suggested that the 11,000 residents of Prescott with hearing impairment would begin considering attending concerts and other events if the facility fully complied with ADA.

The Board did not indicate it was going to put the issue on a future agenda. It was silent. (It might.)  Query:  Is the College in violation of the ADA?  Should the College be more receptive to persons with disabilities like Jack Clevenger? The Blog believes that President Penelope Wills should specifically address those concerns at the March Board meeting.

You may view Mr. Clevenger’s three minute presentation below.





No benefits to enclosing Center area

The Governing Board was told November 1, 2016 that Sedona residents oppose spending $1.7 million to enclose the outside area of the Sedona Center.  The dispute over spending this amount of money is between the College staff that wants the space enclosed and the citizens who do not.

money-flowing-like-water-3Citizens argued that the unnecessary expenditure and unnecessary enclosure will “irrevocably destroy the architecture of the building.” 

They also argued that for taxpayers of the County that the college is making an extremely poor financial decision. According to the taxpayers, enclosing the Center area increases by at least 40% the total cost of the culinary program. It does this without adding any programming or educational benefits to the students—young or old.

The video presentation made to the Governing Board on this issue can be viewed by clicking here.


Legislators writing guest editorial used faulty information

An editorial published in the Verde Independent on November 1, 2016 contained false and misleading information about Yavapai College’s commitment to the Verde Valley. Click here to read the editorial.  The editorial was allegedly authored by the two Arizona District 6 representatives, Bob Thorpe and Brenda Barton.

false-informationThe Blog suspects that they either did little or no research before they jointly authored the editorial or were intentionally provided misleading information by a source they thought they could trust.  Either way, the editorial was incredibly inaccurate.

In a letter to the Verde Independent of November 6, 2016, Mr. Paul Chevalier, the head of the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee that has studied the College’s commitment to the Valley for the past two years, commented on the lack of accuracy in the editorial allegedly written by Thorpe and Barton.  He wrote:


Re: Commentary by Reps. Bob Thorpe and Brenda Barton: This story sounds impressive but the facts are wrong and I wonder why the political authors didn’t do some fact checking before putting their names to it.

I chaired the recently shut down Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee for its full existence of just under two years. Our Committee, after much study, found very different facts from those quoted in the article above.

The facts we uncovered showed that, with the exception of a two-year period when extra money was used to finally remodel a decaying campus in Clarkdale, less than half the money annually paid a) by the taxpayers of the Verde Valley and b) by the students for tuition and fees for classes on the Verde Campus, are used in any way for the benefit the Verde Valley.

The 89-percent figure quoted by the authors was ONLY for those two years when the campus was significantly remodeled. The fact is the Verde Valley is Yavapai College’s major “cash cow.” They use our money on the other side of the mountain.

Secondly the $1.5 million quoted as required to create/maintain a separate administrative college is a number the College President came up with in response to a question at a DGB meeting without any kind of a study to back it up.

This is in contrast with what the public of the Verde Valley have requested several times, which is an independent study to determine the costs of having a separate administrative college for the Verde Valley.

This was requested some months ago by Al Filardo, who was our representative on the DGB (and just resigned in frustration), then it was again requested through our committee formally supporting Al’s request and, most recently, it was requested again through the Verde Valley Forum, NAU is equipped to do such a study but the College District Governing majority from the other side of the mountain has refused it.

People who write stories citing facts, especially politicians, should fact check with more than one source before putting their names to the story.

These facts are so incorrect that it feels like two good representatives have just been used by whoever gave them this misinformation.

They have a right to be upset.

Paul Chevalier

You may read Mr. Chevalier’s letter in the Verde Independent by clicking here



College spin-masters use OLLI to explain decline

OLLI is independent nonprofit Institute with separate governing committee

OLLI exists on Yavapai Community College because of a two million dollar grant that was given to the College to set it up.

The Community College spin-masters seem to be using OLLI as their next excuse for the loss of 6,000 students (by audited headcount) in the last decade.  They use it because few in the County understand how OLLI was created and what it does.  Here are the facts.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes are found on the campuses of 119 colleges and universities from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska. Each provides a distinctive array of non-credit courses and activities specifically developed for seasoned adults aged 50 or older who are interested in learning for the joy of learning. 

OLLI operates free of College direct interference. It is a self-directed membership organization within Yavapai College, which means it has a  Governing Council and its own curriculum, finance, long range planning, policies and procedures and social committees.

The OLLI administration receives operating income from the $2 million dollars Yavapai holds in trust for it.  OLLI faculty are not paid.  OLLI accepts donations that are tax deductible because its is separate from the Community College.  Students receive no college credit for attending an OLLI program and normally pay a registration fee for the program that goes toward operating OLLI. Students are 50 or older.

OLLI states that “We are a membership organization within Yavapai College, created to meet the needs and interests of local retirement-age people.” The OLLI program has a staff in Prescott and a separate staff in Sedona. According to OLLI, “Our learning groups are discussion groups conceived, created and facilitated by our own members, who volunteer their time. There are no tests, grades, or college credits associated with our groups. Our members are excited about learning and sharing knowledge and thoughts. They gain a great deal of satisfaction in the process of stimulating and stretching their mental capacities.”

In an article appearing August 18 in the Verde Independent (click here to read the article), it was suggested the decline in students at Yavapai College was because “students who only took non-credit courses five years ago are taking courses through the college’s OLLI [Osher Lifelong Learning Institute] program.” 

Because of OLLI’s mission (stated above), the above quoted statement is puzzling.  Moreover, because headcount is based on students taking credit classes, that has little to do with the student decline.  That decline was measured using credit courses–the original reason Yavapai Community College was created.



Attends Post-Secondary International Network’s (PIN) 2016 Executive Leadership Conference at  Olds College in the heart of Central Alberta, Canada  held July 10-16

Yavapai College President Dr. Penelope Wills found a great way to get away from Arizona’s summer heat when she attended the Post-Secondary International Network’s (PIN) 2016 Executive Leadership Conference at  Olds College, in the heart of Central Alberta held July 10-16. According to the material distributed by the Conference, Conferees and guests spent five nights at the recently constructed 82-room, Pomeroy Inn & Suites extended-stay Hotel, built on the grounds of Olds College. Amenities included Hypnos Sleep System beds with premium Eden Indulgence linens, flat screen TVs, ergonomic workstations, free Wi-Fi Internet and Keurig Coffee station with a selection of Starbucks coffee.

delta lodge

There was a state-of-the-art fitness facility, pool, hot tub, waterslide, and fully equipped business center. The facility also includes an onsite restaurant and lounge bar.

Also featured is the Olds College Teaching Brewery which houses the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Diploma Program and also the commercial component for Olds College beer products. The Pomeroy Inn & Suites at Olds College has been ranked as the 17th Best Hotel for families in all of Canada.


Also according to the conference literature, conferees spent two nights nestled in the majestic Canadian Rockies at an elevation of 1,522 meters at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis. The Resort was described as the base camp to an outdoor adventure playground, offering a variety of guestrooms and suites, multiple dining and entertaining options, a full conference facility, and is home to the Summit Spa and Fitness Centre. Kananaskis Country is known for its kilometres of hiking trails, horse trails, mountain biking, backpacking and fishing. It was 45 minutes from Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise.

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College stonewalls Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee request for information

Refuses to allow VVBAC to hear from Marketing & Recruitment

For the Prescott based College Administration, too much knowledge is NOT a good thing.  That was the gist of the Administration’s response  to a request made  to the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee that it be allowed to ask some questions at a future meeting of the Marketing Director and the Recruitment Director.


Al Filardo reported at the May 11, 2016 VVBAC meeting that because the VVBAC had  talked months earlier with the former Marketing Director, that was all the information the staff was going to supply to the Committee. (Well, maybe it might change its mind sometime in the future but that was not definite.) The fact a new Marketing Director had since been appointed was apparently not relevant to the request.

So much for cooperation between the College Administration and the VVBAC.