GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - The board of trustees of Colorado Mountain College on Friday announced a unanimous vote to appoint Charles Dassance as interim president of the college. Once all terms are agreed upon, Dassance will oversee the 12-location community college in north-central Colorado while the board seeks and appoints a president for the permanent position. Dassance was selected among three candidates following a final interview process Monday.
The role of president became available in December upon the resignation of Stan Jensen, Ph.D. During the interim period, the college's elected trustees will conduct a nationwide search for a long-term candidate. Details of how the search will be conducted are yet to be determined.
"Each candidate we considered was outstanding. We couldn't go wrong choosing any one of them," said board trustee Pat Chlouber of Lake County. "Dr. Dassance seems to understand and can fulfill the mission we have in mind for the next few months, and we're confident he'll work well with our communities and add strength to our staff."
Various trustees spoke to Dassance's capabilities in helping the college make a smooth transition in hiring a new president, giving praise to his past experience as a college president. Dassance was president of the College of Central Florida for 15 years, where he was named president emeritus upon his retirement in 2011. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Virginia.
In addition to appointing an interim president, the board voted this week on two tuition issues. Unanimously, the board is in support of the Colorado ASSET bill, which is currently being considered by state legislators in Denver. If passed, the bill would allow undocumented students meeting certain criteria to pay in-state tuition at Colorado's public colleges and universities.
Trustees also voted earlier this week to freeze tuition levels for 2013-14, keeping them at current levels, in accordance with the recommendation of a staff committee.
"In the state of Colorado and nationally, there is an initiative to enhance student access to higher education, keeping tuition as affordable as possible," said Linda English, chief financial officer of Colorado Mountain College. "By having no increase in tuition, we will remain the best value in Colorado."
The college's current tuition rates for lower-division courses are $56 per credit hour for in-district students, $95 for in-state students and $299 for out-of-state students. This year Colorado Mountain College's full-time, in-district students paid tuition of less than $2,000 for courses toward associate degrees, and in-state students paid less than $3,000.
In the 2011-12 academic year, the most recent year for which comparable figures are available for other colleges and similar courses, this compares to averages of nearly $3,500 per year at other community colleges in the state, more than $7,000 for Colorado's four-year public schools and more than $8,000 at public four-year colleges nationally.