Vail Valley Voices: Creating a better future
Vail, CO Colorado
I have recently completed my first year as president of Colorado Moun-tain College, and it has been a year of intensive learning. I have met with and listened to many leaders and stu-dents from the nine counties we serve. Our faculty and staff have also shared their knowledge with me.
To say it simply, Colorado Moun-tain College is many things to many people.
We have nearly 25,000 students from 46 states and 23 countries. Our excellent and caring faculty not only connects with students intel-lectually but connects to their hearts.
We have an elected board of trustees, sev-en serving now and two new trustees who will start in November.
Recently I was bragging about our trustees to Gov. Bill Rit-ter’s chief policy adviser for higher education. I listed their many strengths in busi-ness, politics, the military, education; all are active leaders in their commu-nities. Three of the seven hold doc-toral degrees – which, he noted, means our board has more than any other college or university board in Colorado.
Knowing who we are is a start. But now, it is my responsibility to focus our efforts on the future. Where are we going?
Our mission is to help in creating a better future for our students, our communities, our partners and our team. One way we do this is by returning to our communities more than $6 for every $1 of tax money invested. I take very seriously the concept of investing in the communi-ties we serve.
We will be first choice in learning, in partnerships, in leadership. It’s easy to say we are the first choice in learning. But we will be successful when our students say we are their first choice.
And how will we get there?
There are many vital steps to achieve success: a strategic plan, clear objectives and goals, a way of measuring progress, the discipline to follow through and clearly under-standing whom you serve.
Already I have learned much from the students, trustees, staff, faculty and supporters of Colorado Moun-tain College. I am committed to them, to the communities we serve and to our worthy mission. Now that I have worked alongside and met with many of you over this past year, I know I will gladly stand alongside you to take up the opportunities of the future.
To that end, over this past year we have leveraged partnerships. Like our partnership with Colorado Work-force to help train unemployed and underemployed workers. Or our partnership with the Colorado School of Mines to apply for a multimillion-dollar grant to pursue the feasibility of geoexchange at our campus in Steam-boat Springs. Or our partnership with the National Association of Home Builders and other organizations to provide training for green jobs.
Or our partnerships with local school districts to understand togeth-er how changes in the state’s concur-rent enrollment program can enhance learning opportunities for our young people to allow them to obtain high school and college credit simultane-ously without having to leave home.
Together, we can move forward through these challenging times – planning and anticipating when we can and taking hold of the opportuni-ties that come our way.
Stan Jensen is president of Colorado Mountain College.