Higher education leader calls for a ‘community of colleges’

Rupus Glasper

Rupus GlasperAs the leader of one of the nation’s largest community college systems, Rufus Glasper, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District, believes it is time for universities and community colleges to think and act outside traditional boundaries to become a “community of colleges”—colleges with common interests and shared values that benefit their students.

Such is the premise of Glasper’s upcoming presentation as the next speaker in Northern Arizona University President John Haeger’s Speakers Series. His presentation, “Beyond the Boundaries of Colleges and Communities,” will begin at 3 p.m. Nov. 2 in Ashurst Auditorium. A reception will follow.

The presentation will be webstreamed live at www.tv.nau.edu/president/.

Nearly 2,400 students take classes at NAU distance learning sites throughout Maricopa County, and the university has programs and partnerships with a number of schools in the Maricopa County Community College District, including Glendale Community College, South Mountain Community College and Mesa Community College, among others.

Glasper calls the district’s relationship with NAU “strong and comprehensive,” with a large and growing number of programs and degrees offered by NAU on Maricopa’s campuses and through online learning.

The Maricopa Community Colleges and Northern Arizona University are strong as individual institutions, Glasper says, “but we will be stronger if we see clearly and act responsibly on the opportunities open to us when we envision ourselves as a continuum of higher learning serving students in Maricopa County.”

Glasper, who took the helm as chancellor for the district in 2003, has held executive leadership roles with Maricopa County Community Colleges for more than 20 years. Active in his community, Glasper is co-chair of Gov. Janet Napolitano’s P-20 Council, chair of the Arizona Health Facilities Authority, a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Phoenix Art Museum board of directors, and past chair and member of the board of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Glasper received the Kellogg Foundation Fellowship in Community College Leadership in 1990.

Glasper earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Luther College and a master’s and advanced degrees in school business administration from Northern Illinois University. He received his doctorate in higher education finance from the University of Arizona.

Two other speakers will round out the President’s Speakers Series. Robert Shelton, newly appointed president of the University of Arizona, will speak at NAU in February, while NAU President John Haeger will wrap up the series in April by taking a collective look at issues addressed by his guests to identify the implications they may have on NAU.