Drs. Sylvia Lee and Jana Kooi, Pima Community College campus presidents for years, have switched positions.
Lee, president of the Northwest Campus on Shannon Road since its inception, has gone to the Community Campus as its president. Kooi, who served as president of the Community Campus for 18 years, is now at the helm of Northwest Campus.
The change "keeps me professionally alert," Kooi said recently in the Northwest president's office. "I like to be pushed. We don't want to have a dull, static life."
The exchange represents professional development for each. "Part of that is taking on different opportunities," Kooi said. "Sylvia Lee and myself were in the queue to do it."
Kooi brings "exceptional community connections and partnership experience to the Northwest Campus," Lee said. "Jana has played a vital, long-term role in the development of the college's online programs, adult education, and workforce and business development."
The Community Campus is "fairly untraditional," a campus without walls with considerable distance learning, Kooi said. Now, "to be on a campus that actually has students running around that you see every day is wonderful."
She's found "a forward-looking campus," and said "the partnerships are just superb." Kooi's intent is to "build upon what they already have," with more innovation and program development."
"This is terribly exciting for me," Kooi said. "I can't tell you how hospitable everyone has been." The staff is "bright, energetic and insightful. We have a good time, and we are getting work done."
Summer enrollment on the Northwest campus was up 25 percent. It is "the fastest-growing campus in the system," Kooi said. "We serve the county. Where the population goes, we need to go." She is anticipating a 15 percent increase in fall semester enrollment as compared to a year ago. Classes begin Aug. 26.
Kooi, who worked for 17 years as a community college teacher and administrator in Michigan and Illinois, said Pima Community College "has grown and developed. It's done a marvelous job becoming more sophisticated, and moving into the 21st century."
Northwest and all the Pima campuses are redoing their student services areas, creating "a more functional" space where students can take care of admissions, registration, payments, counseling and more in one stop.
"It becomes very simple for them," Kooi said.
Pima students often take classes at several campuses. In the center, they'll be able to sign up for any class at any campus. Work should be done by the end of October. The campus on Shannon is also adding parking spaces.
The new assignments are intended for at least two years. After an evaluation, "if it's still comfortable, and things are going well, we'll probably stay on," Kooi said. "This is my position. It's not temporary. I consider it permanent. Otherwise, you can't do justice to the position."