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EAC hires new full-time dean for Discovery Park Campus

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EAC hires new full-time dean for Discovery Park Campus

By Lori Dugan

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus (DPC) now has a full-time dean on site. Harry Swanson joined Eastern’s Gila County programs as Dean of its Payson campus in June of 2005 and made the move to the Gila Valley as the Dean of Discovery Park Campus on July 1.

“We will be expanding upon the recommendation of the transition team and the Board of Governors,” explained Swanson. “This includes implementing a new operational philosophy and education plan, and fostering potential educational partnerships.”

The primary objective of the campus will be to provide educational, cultural, and enrichment programs to students and citizens of Southeastern Arizona in harmony with the College’s mission statement. The use management philosophy shall give first priority to EAC students and classes, next to community and cultural enrichment opportunities sponsored by the College, then to educational activities for school and youth groups, educational workshops and seminars for adults, and community and other groups that would request to lease the campus facilities for approved functions and activities.

“DPC is ideal for teaching classes with an environmental, archeological, geological, or astronomical emphasis,” said Swanson. “The Kiva and other outdoor areas at DPC offer a venue for fine arts performances, story tellers, choral groups, musical concerts, stargazing parties, and other cultural, educational and entertainment events.”

The DPC mining and agricultural buildings will be developed into visitor learning centers and Swanson’s experience in the development of the Lake Havasu Museum of History, along with his work with the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott will help ensure that the displays present high interest artifacts such as the Cotton Cache, portions of the Mills Collection, and area historical pioneering, mining, and farming-related items.

Swanson’s education includes degrees in cultural anthropology, applied anthropology, community college leadership, and cultural resource management; and he served an internship for one of his Master’s degrees at the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive in Valdez, Alaska.

“Discovery Park Campus is a wonderful resource for all of us,” said Swanson. “I encourage everyone to come out and see what we are doing. I am eager to increase service to our Gila Valley communities, so we are exploring options to expand our operating hours.”

The campus offers tours of the Origins of Space museum, space-shuttle rides, and stargazing through its 20-inch, research-grade telescope every Saturday from 4-10 p.m. Admission is free. Additionally, guided tours of the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO) facilities are arranged through the Discovery Park Campus. For more information about DPC and MGIO tours, call Swanson at 428-6260.