Meet Your Neighbor is a feature of the Independent that introduces readers to a community member. To receive a profile form or to nominate a neighbor, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Shouan Pan is the president of Mesa Community College.
Name: Dr. Shouan Pan
School: Mesa Community College – Strengthening Communities through Excellence in Education
How long I have worked in education: I’ve served educational communities in China, Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona and worked in the ever-changing landscape of education for more than 25 years, including six and a half years at Mesa Community College.
Why I chose to work for this school: After working for a number of colleges and universities, I realized a community college is where I belong. I am constantly touched and inspired by students who persevere against untold life challenges. MCC is a large, comprehensive community with a strong national reputation.
What I like most about what I do: I strive to not just serve the office for which I’ve been entrusted the responsibility, but also to serve a greater purpose – to make a meaningful difference. My own journey would not have become a reality without the love, support and nurturing from my parents, teachers and countless mentors. My passion is about helping increase the effectiveness and capacity of an educational institution so that as many people as possible can realize their dreams through education and personal development.
Where I came from: I was born in a county of Anhui Province of China, a comparatively poor, mostly agricultural area in China’s eastern region. My father being classified as an anti-communist during the Cultural Revolution meant I was on the receiving end of suppression, distain and humiliation. It was in the late ‘80s, during a year-long educational exchange program at the University of Pittsburgh when my life and career aspirations dramatically changed.
What degree(s) I hold and from what institution: I’ve studied in Iowa, Colorado and China. I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Hefei Polytechnic University in China where I remained to teach as the assistant professor/assistant director of international education; a master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from Colorado State University; and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University.
What I’m looking forward to the most this school year: This year I’m looking forward to commemorating MCC’s 50th anniversary, participating in the events, applauding student successes, honoring the innovations and dedication of faculty and staff, and most of all, helping to set the stage for the next half century of community responsiveness.
My vision for the school: MCC is an exceptional community college with national standing, measured by student outcomes and community impact. This past year we bestowed more diplomas and certifications than ever before in the college’s history. However, there is still a growing demand for educated workers in specialized fields in our community. I would like to see everyone in our community have the opportunity to receive a world-class education and open the doors for their dreams to become realities. I envision that MCC become an Exceptional College, measured by student outcomes and our impact to the community.
My top priority for the school this upcoming year: We are realigning our institutional energy, resources, and programs, across all MCC locations, in light of new norms and changing realities to be agile, responsive, and flexible. Our top priority for MCC this upcoming year will include obtaining the next 10-year accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and preparing the institution for long-term viability and distinction.
Favorite community cause & why: This is a hard one. There are so many worthy community causes and organizations meeting needs and providing opportunities to meet individual needs. If I have to choose one I would have to say Mesa United Way because of its far-reaching benefits to our community. Beyond that, the important services by A New Leaf with which MCC has partnered for so many years inspire me as well.
One thing I want students to know about me: I have overcome obstacles to achieve my education and career goals; I know the struggles and I empathize with the challenges. It is my hope that those who choose to attend MCC will leave its doors well versed in four core areas: critical thinking, communication, cultural and global proficiency, and civic engagement, all of which are folded into academic courses of study at MCC.
One thing I want parents to know about me: I too am a parent and I know the importance of nurturing the hopes and aspirations of family and the challenges that go along with this charge.
The Mesa Independent is available in Mesa and Maricopa County