Here’s a learning moment for you! Did you know that the area around Tucson, AZ, has been continuously settled for over 12,000 years? The original settlement in the area was a village with a name pronounced ‘Stook-zone’, meaning water at the foot of black mountain!
While Carrington College has only been serving the ‘Stook-zone’ community for a tiny portion of that time, we’re very proud of the part we play in this vibrant desert city. Our Tucson campus enjoys a strong reputation as a college that develops students into skilled, compassionate graduates. In fact, the campus has won a number of awards over the years.
To learn more about this jewel in the Sonoran Desert, one of four Carrington College campuses in Arizona, we spoke with Antonio Thompson, Executive Director II.
“Carrington College moved into this 29,000 sq ft building back in 2003; we have around 300 students and 40 staff/faculty working here right now. When this campus opened, the goal was to create an environment as impressive as the passion our faculty, staff and students would show on a daily basis.”
The building has modern classrooms, including a dental assisting lab and veterinary assisting lab that offer students the opportunity to learn in environments that are as close to the real world as possible.
“Our dental assisting lab has four dental chairs and the associated equipment that students need to practice their hands-on skills. Our veterinary assisting lab replicates a real veterinary office set-up, including a front office and a fully equipped treatment room. We’re pretty proud of these facilities.”
In addition to the labs, Antonio highlighted another ‘facility’ that helps students at the Tucson campus.
“We have information boards around campus that our students really get a lot out of. These boards help them find out what’s going on at the school and in the community; we have a career services board, a recognition board, a tutoring board, a community service board… It’s a very simple, but very effective way for our students to stay connected with what’s going on outside their classroom.”
The Carrington College Tucson campus offers six certificate programs – Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, Pharmacy Technology, Physical Therapy Technology and Veterinary Assisting.
“All our programs are well attended, but our most popular program by enrollment is Medical Assisting -we have about 100 MA students enrolled right now. Pharmacy Technology and Physical Therapy Technology are tied for second on that list.”
Centrally located, the campus is just off of the I-10 freeway which provides great access for students in and around the metro area. The campus sits about a mile south of the Tucson Mall, so students have the opportunity to catch up on errands before or after school, or simply get to work.
“We’re in a pretty busy part of town; many of our students are currently working part-time jobs, quite a few of them in or around the mall, so our location is very convenient for them. They can get to work at the mall quickly right after class is over.”
The majority of our students come from within the Tucson metropolitan area, but as with many Carrington College campuses, we also have students who travel from a significant distance to come to school.
“We’ve had students come to campus from as far west as Casa Grande, and as far south as Nogales. I was told just recently that we have a student starting the next session who’s actually moving here to come to Carrington, which is awesome!”
Carrington College has had a campus in Tucson since 1982 meaning the school is well integrated into the community. Giving back is something that Antonio Thompson, his staff and students are passionate about.
“We’re open and interested in partnering with organizations who are doing the right things in the community. At Carrington College we have a passion for educating students, but that’s not where it ends. We have a passion for putting out quality citizens who will give back to their community, and that’s what this is all for. As an example, I’ll be hosting the Girl Scouts of America in a couple of weeks; we’d like to partner with them to enable the scouts to use our facilities to help them get their awards.”
The campus also has a strong relationship with the City of Tucson, including the Mayor’s office.
“We partner with the City of Tucson regularly; the relationship started out with Councilwoman Karin Uhlich’s office and it worked up to the Mayor’s office. Anytime they have an event we try to get involved; neighborhood clean-ups, graffiti clean-ups – we’ve done those for the city, and we were involved in the last Breast Cancer Awareness walk. Actually the mayor came out and spoke at our last Commencement as a way of thanking us for the support we’ve shown him.
We also do have regular community events here on campus too, we regularly sponsor a complimentary CPR clinic where people can come in and earn their CPR certification – if we can help save one life by doing that, it’s so worth it; we also do regular blood drives of course.”
As well as working closely with the wider community, the campus faculty and staff put a lot of work into making the campus environment itself feel like a tight knit community.
“Once every six weeks we have a ‘social’ – it’s an opportunity for new students to meet some of the current students and get to know each other. We’ve had cupcake socials, ice cream socials, cookie socials… you notice a food theme! Pizza is definitely a favorite here in Tucson!
I’m big on the family environment that we have here so I make sure that I, personally, get out to the classrooms and hallways to visit with students whenever I can. Of course we have regular campus events too; just after New Year’s we had a Welcome Back event with a little lunch. We also had the Open House in January too; that’s a great opportunity for students to involve their family and friends. You can tell people what you do at school every day, but to show them – that makes a real difference, and gives students a real sense of pride.”
If you have friends or family in the Tucson area who would benefit from learning more about our southern Arizona campus, share this blog post with them or have them visit carrington.edu/schools/tucson-arizona.
For comprehensive consumer information, visit www.carrington.edu/degrees
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