Arizona Western College Lands $5.9M Grant To Create Informatics Program

By Maya Springhawk Robnett
Published: Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 3:08pm
Updated: Friday, October 21, 2016 - 2:19pm
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Arizona Western College is located in Yuma, Arizona.

STEM education got a big boost recently out of Arizona Western College (AWC) in Yuma in collaboration with the University of Arizona.

The U.S. Department of Education granted the community college nearly $6 million to fund a new bachelor of arts program geared toward underserved students on the border.

The $5.9 million will be spent over a period of five years to develop curriculum, train educators and build the facilities. The award will fund a bachelor's program in informatics, based in south Yuma County — right on the U.S.-Mexico border. Informatics as a field focuses on how data is used and organized.

Jana Moore, the associate dean for academic and instructional support for Arizona Western College, is overseeing the grant’s implementation. She said a degree in informatics is especially useful in the Information Age.

“We know our lives are all about big data. There’s health data, there’s manufacturing, they’re selling up things. Anything in the world right now is data driven," Moore said.

Susan Dempsey-Spurgeon is the director of grants at AWC and was the primary grant writer for the award. She said her goal was to offer a degree that would be useful to the region.

“Because our unemployment rate is so high, we don’t obviously don’t want to build something that people can’t get jobs in. And what we found is that a lot of the employers are having to bring people in from the outside to fill those vacancies," Dempsey-Spurgeon said.

The program is slated to launch in fall 2018.

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