By

Erik Ketcherside

On May 4, Maria Harper-Marinick, a two-time graduate of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, was named chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC). MCC’s 10 colleges and 21 specialized education centers make the system one of America’s largest providers of higher education.

Announcing Harper-Marinick’s appointment, MCC Governing Board President Alfredo Gutierrez heralded “a new era” for the colleges that will “elevate their standing as an institution dedicated to high achievement and successful student outcomes.”

ASU President Michael Crow said the board’s decision will “propel Maricopa Community Colleges to the next level.”

The post of chancellor is the pinnacle of Harper-Marinick’s nearly 25-year career at MCC. She has been executive vice chancellor and provost since 2010, and served as interim chancellor during the search for a successor to the retired Rufus Glasper. Now confirmed in the leadership role, she will oversee system-wide operations that serve 200,000 students with 10,000 faculty and staff members.

In addition to her tenure at MCC, Harper-Marinick has been a leader in education advocacy, working with organizations such as Expect More Arizona, the Arizona Minority Education Policy Analysis Center and the Arizona Business and Education Coalition. Outside the state borders, she has served on the National Community College Hispanic Council and was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

“There is an unprecedented demand for skilled workers among employers not only here in Arizona, but across the nation, making it vital for higher-education institutions to educate, train and prepare the next generation of employees to be workplace-ready,” Harper-Marinick said.

She said MCC will “continue to deliver an exemplary education that equips students with the foundational skills they need to excel in their careers and in life.”

Harper-Marinick came to ASU as a Fulbright student in 1982 after receiving her license in school administration and pedagogy from La Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña in her native Dominican Republic. She earned a Master of Education degree in educational media and a doctorate in educational technology from ASU.

“We are proud that our alumna will continue to have such a strong impact on Maricopa Community College students," said Mari Koerner, dean of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. "She is a longtime advocate for them and for the entire educational community. Of course, Maria is intelligent and persistent, but it is her humor and optimism which make her extraordinary.”

“Dr. Harper-Marinick excelled among the candidates we interviewed and identified as national leaders in terms of understanding the unique and complex education landscape in Arizona, and the need for innovation and collaboration," said Crow, who co-chaired the search committee with Salina Bednarek, president of the MCC Faculty Association. "Her commitment to strengthening the quality of education in Arizona and keen insights on major issues make her perfectly poised to propel Maricopa Community Colleges to the next level.”