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Catherine Ripley: Higher Education Must Face a New Reality
November 7, 2022 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM MST
Public education in Arizona has been crippled. The Republican state legislature took $1 billion away from K-12 public schools and used it to expand school vouchers to benefit religious schools and home-schooling. Arizona public schools are the worst in the nation in terms of per-pupil funding, teacher salaries and graduation rate. Republicans even enacted a new book ban to stop teachers from instructing about authors of color and LDGTQ topics.
Catherine Ripley is the Chair of the Pima County Community College governing board. She is working to adapt to the fast-changing direction of higher education and investigating how community colleges must adjust. Annually, 30,000 students attend the public community college to learn trade and technical skills.
Meanwhile, the college’s accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, will continue to monitor the college’s sometimes-divided five-member Governing Board — based on complaints from two board members.
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Catherine Ripley is the Chair of the Board, elected in 2020 for the 2021-2026 term. Earlier, she served as the Executive Director for the Pima County Democratic Party and taught Political Science at Pima Community College.
She was one of the first women accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy, where she earned a B.S. in Engineering and Political Science. She served as a Naval Officer for 26 years in leadership tours that spanned the globe, including two tours as a U.S. diplomat.
While in uniform, Catherine spent several years teaching Leadership and Military History at Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Northeastern University. She earned her master’s degree in National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
After her military retirement, she worked as an international business development executive at Raytheon Co. in Tucson.