Meet the UA North Valley Team
Program starts in the fall and offers four areas of focus for students, who will attend classes at Paradise Valley Community College toward a Bachelor of General Studies degree.

By Amanda Ballard, University Relations - Communications
June 25, 2015

This fall, the University of Arizona will launch an innovative degree program in Phoenix aimed at making higher education more accessible.

UA North Valley is the result of a partnership between the University and the Maricopa County Community College District to offer a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the UA. Students will be able to take upper-division courses from UA faculty members at the UA North Valley headquarters on the Paradise Valley Community College campus.

The program offers students four areas of focus: Arts, Media and Entertainment; Global and Intercultural Understanding; Social Behavior and Human Understanding; and the Study of the U.S. and the American Experience. After students select a focus area, they will have the opportunity to participate in an internship to gain real-world experience.

The overarching mission of UA North Valley is to expand the University's capability to serve Arizonans who aspire to earn a bachelor's degree and turn their interests into lifelong careers. The three inaugural UA North Valley faculty members are:

Victoria Meyer

In addition to teaching courses as part of UA North Valley, Meyer also serves as director of the Bachelor of General Studies program.

The Phoenix native and UA alumna has taught at a range of schools, from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, but said she found that UA North Valley initiative to be an intriguing opportunity.

"The new Bachelor of General Studies program at UA North Valley presented me with a unique opportunity to return to a place I still call home, to teach for a premier institution with inspiring colleagues, and to work with dedicated students," Meyer said. "UA North Valley allows me to continue to build upon my past experiences and do what I truly love: helping students expand their worldview and achieve their goals.”

Meyer's research and teaching have focused primarily on European history and on areas such as sexuality, gender, race and disease. She will teach two courses in the fall — one on multidisciplinary methods and research, and another on gender and sexuality in the modern world.

For Meyer, who watched her mother balance class and job commitments while earning an associate's degree when Meyer was in junior high school, the opportunity to work with students and build the UA North Valley program supports her belief in the value of education and the potential growth for higher education in Arizona.

"Community colleges and state universities are natural partners in responding to students' needs and goals in higher education," Meyer said. "We are creating a program that provides students of all backgrounds and goals with more opportunities that can help remove obstacles students might find in their paths."

Scott Zimmer

Although his degrees are in classical jazz, Zimmer has played in a variety of bands, including pop and R&B. As part of the UA North Valley curriculum, the classically trained saxophonist will be teaching Humanities 374 (Pop Music in the Counterculture).

Zimmer has a doctorate in jazz performance from Arizona State University and has taught at Paradise Valley Community College since 2004. He has taught a variety of music history courses, including a Survey of American Music course that spans the roots of American music beginning with Native American music.

"I'm really fascinated by the unique aspects of American music and how it's contributed to music of the world," Zimmer said.

When he's not teaching, you might catch Zimmer performing around the Phoenix area with one of his bands.

For his UA North Valley course, Zimmer's curriculum will focus on the roots of rock and roll.

"The first half of the class talks about songwriting," he said. "The second half gets more into psychedelia and a lot of the politics around that."

For Zimmer, the UA North Valley program is an opportunity to be part of an innovative new facet of higher education.

"It really offers a direct route to a four-year degree," Zimmer said. "It's a general studies degree, which I think is great because it makes for a well-rounded student."

Reno Lauro

Lauro's career has taken him from studying hyper-reality in Scotland to wrangling cows in Texas. Lauro, who also currently works as creative director for a professional training company, will be teaching Humanities 375 (Globalization in Transnational Cinema) as part of the UA North Valley program.

After earning his doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he studied hyper-reality and culture's response to it, he worked in the film industry in Austin, Texas. While there, he performed a variety of tasks, including wrangling cows for Blue Bell commercials and helping with production of documentary films.

Since coming to Arizona, he has taught cinema, entertainment and media courses at Scottsdale Community College.

"My favorite part of teaching is being able to talk about topics I'm passionate about," Lauro said.

His UA North Valley course will explore the topic of globalization, or the integration of different worldviews, and how it is reflected in cinema and society.

"Globalization has given rise to this interesting concept of transnationalism, which is basically the permeability of national borders and national identities," Lauro said. "We will be analyzing works of cinema to better understand this concept of transnationalism."

Lauro said his goal for the UA North Valley program is to help students learn to take a more integrated approach to learning.

"The most exciting part of this program is that it very much reflects on the nature of learning today," he said. "The UA is both expanding and diversifying its reach.... I hope I have future architects, future lawyers or corporate executives in my class. Hopefully the people taking my class don't just approach it as a film class, but as students who are interested in applying broad ranges of knowledge to investigation. That's what's going to make the program and these courses a real benefit."

Read more about UA North Valley in this UANews article.

UA North Valley enrollment for the fall semester is now open. To learn more, visit


Resources for the media

Victoria Meyer

UA North Valley