The More You Pay, the More it’s Worth

Opinion by Dr. David Svaldi, President, Adams State University

Some respected print and online publications have recently given a lot of attention to a report from PayScale, a salary comparison website, that purports to calculate the ROI – return on investment – of a degree from more than 1,300 U.S. colleges and universities. The resulting lists of the “Best” and “Worst” colleges for one’s money appeal to readers’ quest for quick, information – the print version of a soundbyte. . .

What is lacking in Payscale’s report, however, is sense. If its assessment of my university is any indicator, Payscale’s flawed methodology proves the old adage, Garbage In, Garbage Out

Read more.

This column appeared in the April 11 Valley Courier, and will shortly be published in Dr. Svaldi’s blog on the Huffington Post.


Apply for Hilos Summer Institute by April 18

Faculty and staff are invited to apply for the 2014 Hilos Summer Institute, to be held July 20-24 in San Luis, Colorado. The application deadline is April 18. Hilos Summer Institute application form and information.

Now in its third year, Hilos is funded by Adams State’s Title V Institutional Grant. Twenty faculty and staff members will be selected to attend the institute. Attendees will receive an $800 stipend (less payroll taxes) and will be eligible to apply for a $1,000 Student Engagement Grant upon successfully completing the program. Hotel and meal accommodations will be

Questions may be addressed by contacting Lillian Gomez or Anna Torello. at 719-589-7691. or

Svaldi: Why retire?

I have announced my plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2015 Academic Year–why am I retiring?

Some of my fondest recollections are of my childhood. Those were the years when summer break seemed to stretch out before me beyond the horizon. The drudgery of returning to school – just six short blocks down the street from our house – seemed eons away. I especially looked forward to having time to read, as it was my passion and primary occupation, apart from trying to construct a go-kart without any good parts (no wheels, especially) and  playing sand lot baseball with my friends. The library was only four blocks away – about five minutes on my trusty Schwinn – and there were shelves and shelves of books to read. I could usually choose to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it – at least, as long as my mom agreed. I was good kid, so she usually did.dave-truck

It is this freedom that I have increasingly missed as my career in higher education has entered the latter half of my fifth decade as a student, graduate student, faculty member, or administrator. I entered college in the fall of 1966 and have never really left! Forty-eight years is a long time to work in the same “industry.”  For the last 17 years, my calendar has driven my life, professional and personal, and a small but gradually louder voice has insistently tapped my shoulder and said: “When you retire you can do what you want to do when you want to do it, and you won’t even have to ask mom!”

So for those who keep asking-why are you retiring? – now you know. I am also of a certain age proven by a cardboard ID card I received from the government which certifies that I am no longer middle aged, but now entering a twilight that presages old age. But the great thing for me is that there are still shelves and shelves of books to read, and most now exist in an electronic format that I can actually enlarge; on my I-Pad they are even backlit! Few of my friends are around to play sandlot ball with; anyway the game would just take too long, as we would have to hobble from base to base. But I do have a nearly new set of golf clubs that Virginia gave my for Father’s day a year or two ago, and I am also looking for, not a go-kart, but a big truck to drive toward the horizon as I head to retirement to do the things I want to do when I want to do them (if Virginia says it is OK).

- Dr. David Svaldi

Upcoming CIELO events

CIELO  (Community for Inclusive Excellence, Leadership & Opportunity) has another event this month:

 Wednesday, April 16
6-8 p.m., McD 101
Documentary film: “Training Rules: No Drinking, No Drugs, No Lesbians”

An examination of how women’s collegiate sports, caught in a web of homophobic practices, collude in the destruction of the lives and dreams of many of its most talented athletes.

Read more.

Updates from the Faculty Development Committee

The Faculty Development committee, an ad-hoc committee of the Faculty Senate, was begun in the fall of 2011 as a result of a special Senate meeting. Following extensive research in best practices, an examination of similar schools’ professional development programs, and a needs assessment, this committee has completed its first full year of programming.

Programming for 2013-2014 began with an overhaul of New Faculty Orientation, delivered in August. Through the fall and spring, workshops and sessions were presented on topics including:

  • Disturbing writing and behavior in the classroom. presented by Gregg Elliott
  • Entering midterm grades
  • Information on changes to remedial education policy
  • Library resources, presented by Carol Smith
  • Kindred Spirits luncheon on active learning.

The committee planned and facilitated an overnight retreat in Taos in January, serving 26 faculty and providing workshops on the cultural context of the San Luis Valley (given by Dr. Herman & Patty Martinez), active learning, retention and promotion, flipped classrooms, and the first year experience.

The Faculty Development Committee is pleased to have cultivated collaboration with many areas of campus, including CIELO, AITC, the Mentoring Program Committee, Nielsen Library, and others. The group’s goal is to be an advocate for faculty growth and continuing education, while working to meet three of Adams State’s strategic goals:

  • #1 Cultivate a student-centered environment
  • #2 Promote a culture of learning
  • #5 Promote, advocate, and celebrate the history and culture of the SLV.

The committee extends thanks to the Title V office for their ongoing support of faculty development programming. “We would like to recognize Anna Torello for her tireless efforts at our Taos Retreat and Lillian Gomez for her assistance in determining speakers,” said Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez,  professor of psychology, who chairs the committee.

She will be sending for emails shortly regarding end-of-year programming. “We welcome your ideas and suggestions as we work to make professional development a priority on Adams State campus,” Alvarez added.

 Faculty Development Committee
  • Leslie Cramblet Alvarez, Chair, Psychology
  • Bob Affeldt, ETC
  • Anicia Alvarez, TED
  • Lisha Bustos, AITC
  • Karen Lemke, Developmental Education
  • Penny Sanders, Counselor Education
  • Beez Schell, HPPE


PASC Updates

  • Administrative staff are invited:

Brown Bag luncheon
Noon  – 2 p.m.
SUB 309Friday, April 15

All ASU exempt employees invited to join the Professional Administrative Staff Council for an open discussion on any salary and fringe benefits. Questions regarding this event may be directed to Carol Smith, director of the Nielsen Library.

  • Michelle Romero, asst. director of Admissions, was elected as PASC’s second Presidential Search Committee member, joining Kevin Daniel, director/CIO for Computing Services, on that committee.

End-of-year Purchasing Deadlines

The Purchasing Office reminds employees of deadlines for furniture orders from Colorado Correctional Industries (CCi) for the current fiscal year. The timeframe for ordering various items is available on CCi’s website.

Purchases charged to employee P-cards must post by June 25, 2014, which ends our P-card cycle for the current fiscal year.

For more information or assistance, contact the Purchasing Office, ext. 7526.

Title V STEM grant enhances equipment and facilities

Adams State continues to enhance the equipment and facilities available for science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction and outreach, through the five-year $3.6 million Hispanic Serving Institutions STEM program grant, received in 2011.

Dr. Rob Benson, professor of geology and earth sciences, has devoted his sabbatical this semester to launching a museum-quality educational touch-screen system in the Edward M. Ryan Geological Museum.

The interdisciplinary STEM lab on Porter Hall’s third floor also recently acquired an X-ray Defractometer, which can be applied to chemistry, geology, art, and other fields.

“This is the  most exciting piece of equipment we’ve ever had,” Benson said, adding, “Our students are incredibly excited.”

The XRD, valued at $90,000, uses x-rays to produce defraction patterns of various materials to aid in their analysis. Benson explained it can create a “fingerprint” of a mineral, help identify proteins, and reveal the molecular structure of crystal, for example.

Work has begun to construct a new observatory on the north end of campus between the baseball field, the softball field, and the river. At a cost of $120,000, the observatory will house three permanently mounted, state-of-the-art telescopes capable offascinating student research projects. It will also house most of the planetarium’s telescopes and will be the site of all public viewing sessions once it’s completed. Finally, it will be the home of the ASU astronomy club, which will resume activities this fall.

Student & Program News

Newman Club spends spring break in service

Several members of ASU’s Newman Club and Campus Ministry enjoyed a cultural immersion experience in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, over spring break.  Eight students were accompanied by two advisors (Liz Bosworth and Shirley Atencio), and one  La Puente community partner. Isabella Whitten was the student leader who coordinated with the host organization and facilitated group discussions.   Other student participant included:  Nathan Crites-Herren, Stuart Zwiacher, Judith Martinez, Isamar Loera, Chelsea Henderson, Scott Gesling, Ashley Setzer, and Gerri Cummings.

‘The group was very engaged. The best part was the interaction with the people we met, who were very welcoming, ” Atencio said. “We were under the guidance of Los Ninos, a grassroots, community directed nonprofit.  Highlights were:  soccer game with kids, youth and adults at one of the colonias; learning about various micro-enterprises like honey production, tile making, and cactus farming; visiting a migrant outreach center on the border; some powerful evening reflection sessions; practicing English with students at the university; and putting in a new sidewalk with students at a primaria.  Our community partner and guide, Alonzo, was a wise man whose love for the community was evident and who inspired and entertained the group by his example and sense if humor.”

ASU students learn about a family honey bee enterprise in Mexicali colonia.

ASU students learn about a family honey bee enterprise in Mexicali colonia.

Students learn traditional tortilla making.

Students learn traditional tortilla making.

Pan American Day welcomes HS students April 24

Continuing a long tradition at Adams State University, Pan American Day will be held on campus Thursday, April 24. The event brings San Luis Valley high school students to celebrate the Spanish language and culture in a series of competitions, including spelling, grammar, oral interpretation, speech, knowledge bowl, art, media, dance, song and skit. Read more. Last year's Pan American Day award winners.

Lost & Found finds its way to Second City

The Lost and Found, ASU’s comedy improv troupe, spent their Spring Break in a Long Form Improvisation Intensive at Second City. The group and their director, Dr. Jenna Nielsen, asst. professor of theatre, also attended 12 shows, and took in several of the tourist sites of Chicago. The troupe has brought back a whole new set of skills they will be incorporate into public rehearsals and performances.

Front Row L to R: Bethany Hernandez, Shawnie Abbott, John Hauser, Jenna Neilsen, Caty Herrick  Back Row L to R: Matt Wesley, David Boncyk, James Rodriquez, Jake Webb

Front Row L to R: Bethany Hernandez, Shawnie Abbott, John Hauser, Jenna Neilsen, Caty Herrick
Back Row L to R: Matt Wesley, David Boncyk, James Rodriquez, Jake Webb

 Alpha Sigma Chi inducts 86

Alpha Sigma Chi, the Adams State University chapter of Chi Sigma Iota: Professional Counseling and Academic Honor Society, International, inducted 86 master’s degree students during the month of March.

In addition, the Alpha Sigma Chi honor society executive council, under the chapter faculty advising of Dr. Brandon Wilde, presented at the annual American Counseling Association national conference in Honolulu, Hawaii over spring break. The presentation by Shauna Ianson, Alexia DeLeon, and Jennifer Cliff was titled  “Instilling Excellence in Counseling Students Living Abroad.”

Musicians perform with SW Region Honor Band

Four music students represented Adams State at the College Band Directors National Association Southwest Region Honor Band performance, held in Fayetteville, AR, March 19-22. The  band rehearsed for three days and performed a full 60-minute concert in the Walton Fine Arts Center at the University of Arkansas. The conductor for the ensemble was Michael Haithcock, Director of Bands at the University of Michigan. The students are: Danielle Rady, Clarinet; Matt Salazar, Euphonium; Hannah Liechty, Flute; Jonathan Colson, Trumpet.

Psychology faculty and students present research

This year four psychology students presented at Student Scholar Days. Emily Wright discussed her personality assessment of Anakin Skywalker in her presentation titled “Anakin Skywalker’s Path to the Dark Side: Freudian Style.” Tylar Martinez, Kellylynn Zuni, and Megan Tapia shared the results of their Honor Seminar study titled “Detecting the Snake in the Grass: A Replication Study.”

At the end of April, 13 students will represent Adams State at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association’s (RMPA) annual conference: Megan Tapia, Emily Wright, Kellylynn Zuni, Brandon Gallegos, Jennell Higgs, Patrick Vigil, Tylar Martinez, Danielle Walters, Lindsey Schwindt, Erica Ulibarri, Ryan Guyton, Nick Spencer, and Justine Brydges. Four of these students, Schwindt, Martinez, Zuni, and  Tapia, were awarded $300 travel award grants from Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.

Five of the students will present research at the conference. Tylar Martinez, Kellylynn Zuni, and Megan Tapia, along with research mentors, Dr. R. Nathan Pipitone and Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez, will again present “Children and Adults’ Detection of Fear-relevant Stimuli: A Replication Study. ” Brandon Gallegos and Jennell Higgs will present their research, “Deception Facilitation Across Communication Media” (faculty mentor: Leslie Cramblet Alvarez).

Psychology faculty will also present at the conference. Dr. Robert Demski will present his sabbatical work, “Audiovisual Scholarship: The Philosophical Roots of Psychology, and Dr. Jeff Elison will give three presentations: “Predictors of Success in Developmental Math,” “Evolutionary Perspectives on the Shame-Aggression Link,” and “Rejection Sensitivity and Social Anxiety Predict Shame-Coping,” co-authored with psychology student, Sarah Oden. Finally, Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez, who is President-elect with RMPA’s executive board, will be recognized as incoming President for the 2014-2015 academic year.

HPPE students & faculty attend sports medicine conference

Several faculty and students from the HPPE department attended the annual Rocky Mountain American College of Sports Medicine (RMACSM) conference in Denver, March 28-29.

Dr. Tracey Robinson is an RMACSM Board member, and was involved in planning the conference, as well as judging student poster presentations and research grants. Dr. Beez Schell, HPPE department chair, and Megan Nelson, visiting assistant professor in HPPE, also attended.

Three M.S. in Exercise Science graduate students, Maria Martinez, Clayton Foster, and Lukus Klawitter, and two B.S. in Exercise Science undergraduate students, Olivia Melgares and Kelli Williams, attended their first professional RMACSM conference, and were able to meet other students and professionals in the field, network for their future, and learn some interesting and often new research about exercise science.

The RMACSM conference usually covers a variety of topics and subject areas related to exercise science, athletic training, sport and exercise nutrition, fitness, injury prevention….and more. It it is a useful conference for anyone in or interested in health and physical activity.

ASU Grizzlies ranked 4th in Learfield Cup

The Adams State University Athletic Department ranks fourth in the final winter standings of the Division II Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. Adams State is one of two Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference athletic departments ranked in the top 10 in the Learfield Cup standings.

The Grizzlies increased their fall total of 190 to end the winter standings with 425 points. The additional 235 points were earned through 100 points from the Women’s Indoor Track and Field team winning the Indoor National Championship, 90 points from the Men’s Indoor Track and Field team earning a second place finish at the Indoor National Championship, and 45 points from the Wrestling team’s performance at the National Championships.

Faculty & Staff news

Faculty tenure, promotions & sabbaticals approved

The Board of Trustees for Adams State University approved the following faculty appointments at its April 4 meeting:

  • Sheryl Abeyta, Assistant Professor of Business
  • Dr. Anicia Alvarez, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
  • Dr. Comfort Cover, Assistant Professor of Information Systems
  • Dr. Kristy Duran, Assistant Professor of Biology and Earth Sciences
  • Dr. Jeff Elison, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Dr. Pat Robbins, Assistant Professor of Business
  • Dr. Kristy Duran – Associate Professor of Biology & Earth Sciences
  • Dr. Anicia Alvarez – Associate Professor of Teacher Education
  • Dr. Beth Robison – Associate Professor of Music
  • Dr. Michele Trujillo – Associate Professor of Teacher Education
  • Dr. Patricia Robbins – Associate Professor of Business
  • Dr. Jeff Elison – Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Dr. Mari Centeno – Full Professor of Government
  • Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez – Full Professor of Psychology
Sabbatical Leave:
  • Dr. Robert Astalos, Associate Professor of Physics
  • Dr. Linda Christian, Professor of Teacher Education
  • Dr. Tracy Doyle, Professor of Music
  • Dr. Matthew Iklé, Professor of Mathematics
  • Dr. Linda Reid, Professor of Business
  • Eugene Schilling, Professor of Art
Emeritus Faculty
  • Dr. Margery Herrington, Professor of Biology
  • Dr. Christine Keitges, Professor of Music
  • Dr. David Mazel, Professor of English
  • Dr. Teri McCartney, Professor of Counselor Education

Dr. Joel Judd, professor of education, organized and chaired a panel presentation at the recent Society for Applied Anthropology meeting, held in Albuquerque, March 21. The panel, consisting of teachers and faculty from Colorado and Alaska, discussed “Diversity in an Age of Common-ality: Implementing Common Core with Diverse Students.” Participants shared challenges and successes with students, teachers, parents, and administrators as schools deal with increased academic expectations. Attendees heard stories and findings from Alaska Native, Native American, rural, and suburban teachers and students.

Ken Marquez, vice president for Students Affairs, was asked to serve on the Colorado Campus Alcohol and Drug Educators (CADE) Steering Committee. CADE is the only statewide coalition of higher education personnel dedicated to alcohol and other drug prevention in Colorado. It provides education, training, networking, and resources on evidence-based best practices to assist the campus professionals in promoting safe campus environments that support healthy student lifestyles and reduce the risks associated with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. CADE provides support to student service, safety related offices and departments, and key decision-makers responsible for student health and safety. Since 1987, CADE has served as an issues forum, a support system, and a resource and sharing network for professionals in alcohol and drug abuse prevention on college campuses.

Dr. Lori Notestine, asst. professor of counselor education, and Dr. Penny Sanders, asst. professor of counselor education, presented their research at the annual Colorado Counseling Association state conference in Denver, March 7-8.

Officer David Pino  (center) accepts his letter of commendation from Ken Marquez (left) VP of Student Affairs, and Dr. Joel Shults, Chief of ASU PD

Officer David Pino (center) accepts his letter of commendation from Ken Marquez (left) VP of Student Affairs, and Dr. Joel Shults, Chief of ASU PD

ASU Police Officer David Pino was presented a Letter of Commendation regarding his astute work after discovery of an explosive device outside Rex Stadium, following the October 26 football game. The commendation was awarded by Ken Marquez, vice president for Student Affairs, and Dr. Joel Shults, chief of ASU PD.

“Due to Officer Pino’s actions, professionalism and skilled response, this situation was addressed safely, with no injuries or damage,” Marquez said. “He was able to build a case that resulted in the arrest of one individual in connection with the explosive device.”

Based on his training and experience, Pino correctly recognized a suspicious object as a homemade explosive.

Julie Waechter, assistant to the president for communications, will attend a training for media spokespersons to be presented in Denver April 22 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The session will cover media interviews, particularly during crisis, among other topics. Her expenses are being covered by a scholarship from the CDPHE. She attended a similar training last fall which covered social media use for crisis communications.

New Employees
  • Anthony Case, asst. football coach
  • Paloma Lopez, Upward Bound Student Advisor