Gila County Community College District to cut ties with EAC
A long-lasting relationship between Gila County’s college campuses and Eastern Arizona College will come to an end next summer.
In a May 8, 2023 special meeting that went into executive session, the Gila County Provisional Community College District (GCPCCD) Governing Board voted to terminate its educational services and programs contract with EAC on June 30, 2024. The decision came two months after GCPCCD, formed in 2003, celebrated its 20th anniversary. The contract will remain valid until the termination date, and a GCPCCD press release stated that the Board recommended no changes to the contract.
The press release said the two colleges will work together in the next 13 1/2 months to see that Gila County students are able to finish their certificates and degrees.
It added that, while they have valued the relationship with EAC, the Governing Board felt a “different type of educational partnership” would benefit the District as it seeks fully organized status with the State of Arizona and regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. Such a partnership, the release stated, “will better position the College for a more sustainable post-secondary educational future.” At this date, the nature of that collaboration remains to be seen.
An informational town hall will be held in late July 2023 at the EAC Gila Pueblo and Payson Campuses, to communicate plans, answer questions and address the concerns of students and college staff.
“While it was EAC’s intention to continue providing educational services under the current contract, the College will work to develop a plan to close operations in Gila County, and assist faculty, staff and students in this effort,” EAC stated in its own press release. “Eastern Arizona College wants Gila County residents to know that it has been a great honor to work with them throughout the years.”
As he – like everyone on campus – was preparing for May 11th’s graduation ceremonies, Dr. Phil McBride, senior dean of the EAC Gila Pueblo and Payson campuses, told the Silver Belt that the college will work with the Higher Learning Commission and GCPCCD during the transition “to protect our existing students and ensure they receive the education needed to complete their certificates or degrees.”