Thousands of students at Pima Community College are immersed in studies ranging from health, applied arts and business services to trade, engineering and science technologies.

Helping them succeed are about 350 regular faculty members and 1,158 adjunct teachers.

“Our adjunct faculty plays a critical role in helping the college fulfill its mission of developing our community through learning,” says Suzanne Miles, PCC’s provost and president of the community campus.

What motivates these instructors is the chance to share information on topics and skills they are passionate about, says C.J. Karamargin, the college’s vice chancellor for public information and government relations.

Among the college’s adjunct faculty are about a dozen residents of Green Valley, Sahuarita and Tubac.

Two of them are Roger and Nicky Anspach of Sahuarita.

Roger, 57, is teaching fire science this fall for the first time since retiring after 31 years as a firefighter for the city of Tucson.

He’s one of six instructors who works with student firefighters on the weekends at the college’s fire academy on South Wilmot Road.

“They’re in their late teens or early 20s, looking for a career. They are really eager and have a good attitude,” Anspach says.

The classes are the students’ first step into the firefighting world, “and I try to help point them in the right direction” and show them the proper techniques and what to be aware of, he says.

“They are pretty motivated.”

Anspach finds every student learns at a different rate and level, so he works to provide them the individual help they need to master the skills.

His wife — a respiratory care instructor — also tailors her teaching style to her students’ learning style.

Nicky Anspach, 55, is a 1989 Pima Community College graduate who earned her associate’s degree in applied science, specializing in respiratory care. She has worked in hospitals and in home care, and is employed at a hospital in Willcox.

This is her second stint as a PCC adjunct faculty member, and she provides clinical experience for students at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson. Her focus is on helping them develop decision-making skills in the intensive care unit, emergency room and elsewhere.

As a former PCC student, Anspach knows “your clinical instructor can make or break you.” Teaching for her is a good way to have a positive influence on a group of therapists coming into the profession.

The best of part of her teaching job is seeing her students get jobs after they graduate.

Plus, she adds, “I’m always proud when the students I’ve taught have compassion for their patients,” who can range from newborn babies to those at the end of their lives.

Lots more to give

Quail Creek resident James Ranney, 63, spent his professional career teaching economics to high school and college students in Alaska before teaching for two online schools.

After moving to Southern Arizona seven years ago, he realized he wasn’t ready to fully retire and began teaching as an adjunct faculty member for PCC in 2006 at its Desert Vista campus, then at its West campus in 2007.

This fall, he is teaching an economics course one night a week. His 23 students are primarily majoring in business-related fields and are required to take an economics course.

Dealing mostly with students in their 20s keeps Ranney feeling young. He jokes that he’s only five years behind the times now when it comes to technology such as texting and tweeting.

However, it is challenging for Ranney not knowing from one semester to the next whether he’ll be teaching one class or three, but he plans to continue for the foreseeable future.

Sahuarita resident Felice Anderson, owner of Eclipse Medical Research in Green Valley, has been teaching medical assisting courses at PCC’s Desert Vista campus for almost a year.

As part of the 12-month program, Anderson, 34, teaches two evening classes a week: one on medical terminology and another focusing on medical ethics, laws, federal regulations, plus study skills and resume writing.

At the end of the 12 months, successful students will have served an externship in a doctor’s office, urgent care center or hospital and be a certified medical assistant.

Anderson has about 25 students in her classes, including new high school graduates and older students seeking a new career.

It’s a nice break from my everyday routine,” she says. “I get to work with the students and see their excitement about a new career and getting into the medical field.”

Nicky Anspach was recruited as a PCC adjunct faculty member by another teacher at St. Joseph’s, while Roger’s son, who also is a firefighter, convinced his dad his experience would help the students.

PCC makes sure its students are well prepared for the working world when they graduate, Roger says.

According to his wife, “the college builds your confidence and helps you to succeed.”