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Position Profile – Vice President of Learning




South Mountain Community College (SMCC) is a comprehensive community college offering transfer and general education, a range of programs and certificates that address workforce and occupational education needs, and reflects the diversity of the surrounding community – a rich mix of rural, urban, and suburban neighborhoods. Students arrive from Phoenix, Laveen, Tempe, Guadalupe and the surrounding areas to attend classes at the main campus or the additional site in Guadalupe. Approximately 6,000 students are enrolled at SMCC; 70 percent are first-generation college students and place into developmental course work, and 48 percent intend to transfer to a university to further their education. With more than 75 percent of these students identifying as a minority, SMCC has been federally designated as a Minority Serving and Hispanic Serving Institution. The college has a unique partnership with the Gila River Indian Community and offers courses on the Reservation that fill immediate job needs of the tribe. Small, personalized classes are offered days, evenings and online, and are led by an engaged and accomplished faculty with career and academic counseling to enhance a holistic student experience. SMCC is a Strengths-Based Institution, helping students first determine their own personal strengths, and then strategizing with them to maximize those strengths within academic and career choices. Unique, noteworthy and/or nationally recognized programs include the Storytelling Institute, the Foundations Academy, the growing fields of Network Security, Programming, and Pharmacy Tech, the Bilingual Nursing Fellowship Program, Early College, and the Community Entrepreneurship Center. SMCC is the founding college within the District of the Achieving a College Education (ACE) program. The award-winning South Mountain Community Library is a state-of-the-art facility created in partnership with the City of Phoenix. South Mountain Community College is an active participant in the HLC Open Pathways process for Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2019-20. The college is widely known as being an open and friendly institution. It is a college with a big heart – welcoming, engaging and helpful.

Recently, student engagement at South Mountain scored above the national benchmark in all five areas: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners, with the largest increase in academic challenge and student-faculty interaction. The Aspen Institute has named SMCC a Top 150 Community College for three consecutive years. The college has been a Bellwether Award Finalist for its Developmental Education Initiative and Community Entrepreneurship Center/Initiative.




The Vice President of Learning (VPL) serves as the Chief Academic Officer by leading, planning, organizing, evaluating, and administering the academic and occupational instructional programs for the learning-centered college and centers. In conjunction with the Vice President for Student Development, new programs will be developed to meet the diverse needs of the student body, and in conjunction with the Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, the Vice President will develop and administer budgets and provide informational technology for instruction. The Vice President works collaboratively with the Vice President of Student Development, the Associate Vice President of Technology, and the Dean of Research, Planning and Development to maximize opportunities for the college community.




Program Excellence. Academic Leadership, Program Review and Accreditation. Provides oversight to the college’s academic programs and assessment activities including the development of a Master Academic plan that aligns with the strategic plan of the college. Plans and monitors division and academic support center actions plans, program review and facilities and technology planning for general education, developmental education, workforce development, counseling, dual enrollment, business and information technology, performing and fine arts, science, mathematics, English, reading, social sciences, communication, fitness and wellness and the integrated public/college South Mountain Community Library. Provides leadership for HLC accreditation and specialized accreditation, the Learning Resource Center, concurrent enrollment programming, the Center for Teaching and Learning that promotes innovative approaches to learning and teaching.

New Initiatives, Innovation and Partnerships. Champions new initiatives with community and business leaders to raise donations for targeted initiative and scholarships. Leverages community partnerships and business relationships to maximize learning opportunities for all learners. Builds and maintains relationships with community partners, K-12 school districts and business and university leaders. Serves as a member of college and district councils and committees.

Academic Program Efficiency and Effectiveness. Provides oversight and supervision for the curriculum process, classroom based courses and online/hybrid course delivery, working with division chairs to develop and design curriculum program review, and the preparation of the master class schedule. Develops and reviews budgets, prepares and monitors budgets. Provides leadership in the development of the annual academic calendar, the college handbook, the college catalog and other related academic affairs publication, reports and documents.

Leadership and Supervision. Serving as the Chief Academic Officer, the Vice President of Learning provides support and supervision of the college’s faculty including, hiring, faculty load assignments, monitoring projects, evaluation and dismissal of faculty, granting of appointive status, and other personnel issues. Promotes and leads planning for the integration of innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Champions shared governance, faculty professional and growth development opportunities. Supports conflict resolution including instructional grievances and complex legal issues. Advocates and engages a commitment to collegial, consultative processes of shared governance, commitment to community outreach and workforce program development.

Collaborative Partnerships. Provides collaborative leadership with the members of the Executive Team. Collaborates with Vice Presidents from sister colleges, and the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs to provide administrative support, development of operational processes and procedures that will affect the “One Maricopa” strategic transformation.




  • Reaffirmation of accreditation takes place 2019/2020 with a focus on program review and improved graduation rates. The work is well underway and on schedule.
  • Increase enrollment through collaboration with strategic enrollment management initiatives including implementation of Guided Pathways
  • Sustain and expand collaboration between student affairs and academic affairs and other functional areas
  • Bring courageous, collaborative decision-making to bear on issues having wide impact on academic affairs and the college
  • Operational and organizational changes at the Maricopa Community Colleges in the midst of budget constraints require the ability to assess, support, and yet evaluate keenly matters that impact the best interests of SMCC, its mission, vision and values
  • Organizational processes will benefit from evaluation and implementation of more strategic, efficient, collaborative, and transparent procedures that are always focused on student best interests



  • Earned Master’s degree from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution
  • Five years of increasingly responsible instructional, administrative leadership experience in a higher education institution, including the supervision and evaluation of faculty
  • Post-secondary teaching experience
  • Budget management experience, including resource allocation, strategic planning and implementation
  • Experience in accreditation, curriculum development and delivery formats, assessment, and instructional program evaluation
  • Experience with both transfer education and career and technical/occupational education programs
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to students, faculty and staff




  • Earned doctorate in higher education leadership or related field from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution
  • Two (2) or more years of Dean level leadership experience or higher in a comprehensive community college in a complex system
  • Full time teaching experience, especially at a community college
  • Leadership experience with Student Success initiatives such as Guided Pathways, Early College, Retention and Developmental Education
  • Leadership experience in starting new academic and workforce development programs
  • Leadership experience in writing, managing and implementing grants
  • Experience working with college foundations and/or fund raising activities
  • Successful leadership experience establishing and maintaining effective relationships with K-12, 4-year institutions (articulation agreements), community, and business and industry partnerships
  • Experience with design and implementation of Gallup’s StrengthQuest assessment in credit and non-credit student success programming within higher education
  • Demonstrated experience with and support of Shared Governance as a college-wide decision-making model, accustomed to data-informed decisons
  • Technology savvy – understand and support the role technology plays in work processes and the holistic student experience
  • Organizational planning skills, systems thinker, ability to prioritize initiatives
  • Curriculum development experience
  • Interest-based negotiation experience
  • Assertive, strong and timely decision-making that is the result of transparency, inclusiveness, broad participation and communication
  • Visionary, transformational leadership that is innovative, entrepreneurial, believes in measured risk taking, is motivating, ethical, high integrity, authentic, optimistic, and collaborative
  • Track record of supporting team and professional development
  • A visible and engaging leader
  • Ability to empower the creativity and talent of the academic affairs division




Ten individually accredited colleges, two skill centers, and multiple satellite locations comprise the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) located throughout metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona. The District was established in 1962, and has since grown to serve over 200,000 students annually in credit and non-credit programs, making it the largest provider of post-secondary education in the state of Arizona and one of the largest providers of higher education in the United States.

MCCCD is recognized as one of the most innovative community college organizations in the country, is a board member of the League for Innovation in the Community College and RC 2020, a group of innovative, large community and technical colleges located in the United States and other parts of the world.

In a time of defunding of higher education, the District maintains exemplary financial stability as one of a few community college districts nationally to hold a Triple A bond rating from all three rating agencies. Today, the district’s colleges and centers offer comprehensive educational programs in university transfer, occupational, professional, special interest, and continuing education curricula to serve the needs of the county area. The Maricopa Community Colleges has an operating budget of over $774 million and employs approximately 10,000 people including 1,600 full-time faculty, 5,100 adjunct faculty, and 3,100 administrative, clerical and support staff.

Eight Maricopa Community Colleges were named among the Aspen Institute’s top 150 community colleges in the United States, the signature acknowledgment of high achievement and performance recognizing exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earning, and access and success for minority and low-income students. Each year the Maricopa Community Colleges receive awards and recognition for innovation and best practices in community colleges. Its leaders proactively serve on the boards of associations and organizations that further the mission of the community college nationally, regionally and locally.




The President of South Mountain Community College and the search committee invite applications for the position of Vice President of Learning. All inquiries, nominations and expressions of interest are confidential and are to be directed to the search consultant. Do not apply through the District job portal. While the position is open until filled, applications received by the soft deadline of December 22, 2017, are guaranteed full consideration.
Marti J. Cizek, President
Cizek Associates, Inc.
2415 East Camelback Road, Suite 700
Phoenix AZ  85016

A complete application includes (email transmissions strongly encouraged):

  • Chronological resume
  • Letter of interest aligning experience with the Position Profile
  • References (6 minimum to include direct telephone and email)


South Mountain Community College and the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) are EEO/AA institutions and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.



COMPLETED – Discovery Sessions held to gather input regarding desired attributes of the next Vice President of Learning, Search Committee assembled, Position Profile finalized, advertising venues determined and launched

NOW – December 22, 2017– Advertising and Recruitment Efforts. December 22 is the soft deadline for receipt of all requested application materials of interested persons. To be guaranteed full consideration, applications should be received by this date. The search firm is involved in the ongoing evaluation and appraisal of the backgrounds of those who express an interest in the position.

Mid-February 2018 – Semifinal Candidate Interviews.  This is a confidential search process and the identities of those who are interviewed at this time remain confidential – forever.

Early to Mid March – Final Candidate Interviews on Campus. Candidates visit South Mountain Community College and participate in a variety of activities, meet with various constituent groups on campus including internal and external stakeholders and Public Forums. Only the identities of Final Candidates will be made public.

Late March – recommendation, appointment and announcement of Vice President of Learning

July 1, 2018 – Start Date of Vice President


FAQ (click to expand)


Role of the Search Committee?

The Committee develops Semifinal Candidate interview questions, selects those to be interviewed, conducts confidential interviews and recommends Final Candidates to be interviewed by the College stakeholder groups. The College President has hiring authority for the Vice President of Learning and negotiates the successful candidate’s employment contract.

Search Committee Composition?

The Search Committee is composed of those who represent various constituencies of the South Mountain Community College community. We have made every possible effort to make sure that the Search Committee accurately reflects the college community at large.

Is South Mountain Community College using a search consultant?

Yes, the college has retained Cizek Associates, Inc. Cizek Associates is a national retained executive search and assessment firm headquartered in Phoenix, with additional Midwest and West Coast offices. Serving public and private sector client organizations, the firm has a higher education specialty practice, which is limited to the recruitment of senior level administrators. Marti Cizek will be assisting the College with the Vice President search.

Search Firm Contact Information:

Marti J. Cizek, President Cizek Associates, Inc. 2415 East Camelback Road, Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-553-1066 602-553-1166 fax

Why is the College using a search firm?

South Mountain Community College is using a search firm for a number of reasons including the proactive identification and recruitment of talented candidates for the Vice President position – especially those candidates who are not currently looking for a new position – and screening and evaluating potential candidates in partnership with the Search Committee. The search firm is the point of contact for all individuals expressing interest in the Vice President position and assists with many other aspects of the search, including the development of the search process Timeline, a comprehensive Position Profile, various document preparation, timely communication to all applicants and stakeholders in the search process, assistance to the Search Committee in the execution of its search responsibilities and thorough background and reference checking of candidates.


All inquiries regarding the Vice Presidential Search are to be directed to the search firm whose responsibility it is to respond to all nominations and advertising inquiries, screen and evaluate backgrounds and credentials as compared to the Position Profile document and make recommendations to the Search Committee regarding those candidates best qualified for the Vice President of Learning position.


What will the Search Committee and the search consultant do to ensure a diverse candidate pool?

South Mountain Community College and Cizek Associates are committed to identifying a diverse pool of candidates. Cizek Associates has a rich diversity network, has experience and a strong track record recruiting diverse candidates, and will provide critical access for any successful diversity recruitment effort.


How does someone apply for the position?

The soft application deadline is December 22, 2017. View the Vice President of Learning Position Profile, then the application procedures for all application information.


How do you nominate someone for the position?

Please get your nominations, recommendations and referrals to the search firm in advance of the soft application deadline of December 22, 2017. You may nominate someone for the position by providing his/her name and contact information to the search consultant at The search firm will then contact the individual, discuss the position using the Position Profile as a guide and assess the person as a potential candidate. All nominations will be treated with the level of confidentiality requested by the person offering the nomination, recommendation or referral. This means you can nominate someone anonymously.


How will we know how the search is progressing?

This is a confidential search process. Confidentiality ensures the integrity of the search, the privacy of potential candidates and provides the search firm the greatest flexibility in attracting the widest range of qualified candidates for the position.


The work of the Search Committee is also confidential and Search Committee members will not be able to share with you details of their meetings and discussions, but will respectfully refer you to this website. Any search updates will be posted to the portion of the college’s website devoted to this Vice President search. All media inquiries should be directed to Rob Schwing at 480-731-8851 or .


What opportunities will there be to provide feedback on Final Candidates?

Final Candidate interviews will include a variety of activities and meetings with various constituent groups, including a Public Forum. Feedback Forms will be available and this feedback will be forwarded to the appropriate individuals.


Where is the position being advertised?

Announcements have been posted to the following:

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Diverse Issues in Higher Education
  • South Mountain Community College website
  • Maricopa Community Colleges website
  • AACC Jobs
  • com



South Mountain Community College and the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) are EEO/AA institutions and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.



All committee members electronically sign a confidentiality agreement prior to serving on the committee.  Failure to maintain confidentiality and to adhere to hiring best practices is professionally unethical and will not be tolerated.



  • Dr. Camille Newton, English Faculty, Co-Chair
  • Guy Goodman, Dean Enrollment Services, Co-Chari
  • Liz Warren, Storytelling Faculty
  • Dr. Troy Melendez, Counselor
  • Stephen Puklin, English Faculty
  • Christianne Nieuwsma, Mathematics Faculty
  • Lydia Johnson, Librarian
  • Dolores Urbieta, Mathematics Faculty
  • Niall McCarthy, Computer Information Systems Faculty
  • Dr. Jacqueline Levy, Division Chair
  • Daniel Lacapa, Director Learning Center
  • Aryn Peppin, VPL Administrative Assistant
  • Delbert Cole, Manager Help Desk
  • Linda LaFontain, AAEC Principal
  • Fabiola Villegas, Student


Cizek Associates, Inc.
Marti J Cizek, President
2415 East Camelback Road, Suite 700
Phoenix AZ  85016







Judy Belsher, HR Director and Alicia Sangha, Manager of Organizational Development