Following Up on a Feature Interviewee: Maricopa Learns through Service: Chancellor Rufus Glasper Introduces Employee Service and Engagement Program

Rufus Glasper, Chancellor
Maricopa County Community College District

Two years ago, for the second issue of The Journal for Civic Commitment, our feature interviewee was Chancellor Rufus Glasper of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). In the interview, which appeared at the end of 2003 Dr. Glasper talked about the service learning and civic engagement expanding to include not only community college students, but also faculty and staff. He talked about developing a service and engagement program in the corporate and professional arenas. In his interview, Dr. Glasper stated ‘There are a number of people who are ascending to leadership roles, and see a void that needs to be filled. We need to think about that for our District employees. If we allow employees to get involved in their communities and to take some time during their workweek to become involved in the community, we would likely see more productivity at work and, more joy and personal connection to the community.’ (See Dr. Glasper’s interview in Issue 2 of the online archives of the journal.)

True to his word, Dr. Glasper did develop such a program. In an August 2005 memorandum to MCCCD employees, he introduced ‘Maricopa Learns Through Service’, a program aligned with his Beyond Boundaries initiative. ‘Maricopa Learns Through Service’ (MLTS) is an employee development program utilizing community service as the vehicle for the achievement of personal and professional learning objectives. The program was built on an extensive review of the literature dealing with service learning, employee volunteerism, and civic engagement. Findings suggested that MCCCD will benefit from increases in employee knowledge, skills, and abilities, as well as improvement in employee attitudes, health, morale, and satisfaction. These outcomes have been shown to lead to increased organizational commitment and higher levels of employee productivity. Additionally, MCCCD expects to develop an increased understanding of and enhanced relationships with, the diverse communities it serves through the provision of human resources and the development of volunteer leadership.

A pilot program is currently being conducted and will run through April 2006. Participating employees selected the agency where they are placed and identified personal learning objectives for the placement. During the pilot program, employees are released from their regular responsibilities for one and one-half hours per week (up to six hours per month) to work with their agencies. Nine employees, including faculty and staff from five of the Colleges/Sites within Maricopa, are currently involved. These employees are serving in agencies with missions related to issues such as homelessness and hunger, domestic violence, education, health care, and community emergency response preparedness.

Community partners and employees alike are excited about the program. The Director of Volunteer Services at one local agency congratulated Maricopa on its innovative new program and indicated that she is looking forward to a long-term relationship with Maricopa and its staff and faculty. With regards to her participation, one employee said, ‘I feel very fortunate to work for an entity that supports wonderful opportunities such as this one. I am grateful that at last, I am able to give back.’

For more information on Dr. Glasper’s Beyond Boundaries ‘Maricopa Learns Through Service’ program visit the web site at:

or contact Program Coordinator Julie Wechsler at:

Community College National Center for Community Engagement (CCNCCE) sunsetted October 1, 2015. Mesa Community College hosts content from The Journal for Civic Commitment, published by the CCNCCE, to ensure it remains publicly available.

The important work of the CCNCCE was made possible through the financial support from many civic-minded foundations and organizations, including the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Learn and Serve America-Higher Education program, the Kettering Foundation, Campus Compact (through funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona Foundation for Women, Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Foundation, and The Teagle Foundation.