My name is John Owsley and I am the new Student Trustee for the 2016-2017 school year. My job is to represent the student body at all Board of Trustee and Faculty Senate meetings while voicing the concerns of the students. Not only am I responsible to report to the board, I also have a duty to report back to the students on what is happening in our institution. So that’s why I’m here. To give you, the students, an in-depth report on what is going on in the Grizzly den of a Board of Trustees’ meeting. This first blog post might be a little lengthier than future ones due to my need to give you background information, so bare with me.
Recently I attended the 2 day Board of Trustees’ Retreat in Del Norte and as I walked into the room full of important Community and University leaders, I was a bit nervous. I have been elected for this incredible position where I get to represent thousands of students and compared to many of the people in the room, my “portfolio” isn’t quite as remarkable.
The Board of Trustees consists of CEO’s, lawyers, lobbyists, bank managers, agricultural specialists, and community leaders. (If you have time I would highly encourage you to read some of their bios online at our Meet the Trustees page, they are very impressive.) And then there’s me, the guy who spent the day prior to the meeting binge watching cat videos while doing deeper research on the University so I can at least sound like I know what I’m talking about. To say the least, I was intimidated by these people, yet I knew that I could do this.
Honestly guys, I started to write all that happened at the meeting and it ended up being so long that I realized no one would take to time to read the whole thing… So I decided to create condense the information into the top twelve things discussed at the meeting.
Let’s get started then, shall we?
- Retention Rates – Regarding retention rates, President McClure mentioned that Retention is everyone’s job. Personally, I have even noticed student’s concern on this issue and I feel like it is something that definitely needs to be addressed. The Executive team explained that it is difficult to find out the different reasons why each leaving student are either transferring or dropping out. It was mentioned that we are working on this issue and I am eager to see what they find out.
- TABOR – TABOR stand for the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and has to do with the State funding. Currently, TABOR is a difficult issue because Higher Education’s share of the funding has been decreasing over the past years. State funding is a huge revenue source for the University so this issue is very important. Adams State uses opportunities like ASU Capitol day (Feb 16 & 17th) to gain stronger connections with legislators in order to help Adams State with this issue.
- Guaranteed Tuition – Guaranteed Tuition was suggested by AS&F to the President, while she attended one of our meetings. Although, it’s thanks to the hard work of the President’s staff for bringing this idea to life. How it works is that students that are taking classes on campus, their tuition rate for their first year at Adams will be locked in for four years. For the existing students at Adams, they will still be subject to a tuition increase this next 2016-17 school year, but that rate will not go up until they graduate. The institution hopes this will also help in retention rates as well.
- ASU 2020 Goal 1: Academic Excellence – Presented by our new Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Chris Gilmer and his assistant VPAA, Margaret Doell. They walked us through the four initiatives of this goal and how they were planning on meeting them. It was Dr. Gilmer’s eighth day on the job, yet you could tell he was confident in his goals for achieving these initiatives.
- ASU 2020 Goal 2: Student Success – Presented by the Vice President of Student Services, Ken Marquez and his assistant VPSS, Eric Carpio. They walked us through the initiatives of their goal and how they were planning on meeting them, while we ate our lunch. They had a handout that stated updates from different department on how they were meeting certain goals. In this segment of the plan I was able to give the most feedback, because I was able to represent the student’s perspective.
- ASU 2020 Athletic Department’s Initiatives – The Athletic Department planned to meet different initiatives from the five goals. This was represented by the Athletic Director, Larry Mortensen. He talked about recruiting student athletes who will improve the institution’s academic profile, improving the retention rates and cohort graduation rates, and how student athletes make up for 48% of Adams State total student population.
- ASU 2020 Search Engine Marketing Data – Presented by Karla Hardesty, Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management and Aaron Miltenberger, Director of Student Life and Recreation. They talked about different goals they had for SEM and how they related to the 2020 plan. They also showed data that compared Adams State to different colleges in Colorado and colleges around the nation that serve different minority groups. The data was very detailed and quite impressive. They believed that SEM is the best way to market to a wide variety of students and I agreed.
- ASU 2020 Office of Title Five Initiatives – Lillian Gomez, Executive Director of the Office of Title V Initiatives presented on the goals of her office and how they are waiting to hear if they received another grant. She also explained where the grant money is being used in the institution and how this new grant will allow her office to achieve more of their goals.
- Millennial: How They Live, Work, Play. – Presentation by Todd Clark. This presentation was interesting and also relatively offensive. Being the only Millennial in the room, I was uncomfortable with him basically describing an entire age group from 18-35 as selfie obsessed treehuggers that can’t reply to an email. Nevertheless, he did have some good points that pinpointed me perfectly as a Millennial. He said that Millennials are experience driven individuals that want change on social issues and care more about global issues than local ones. Now I wouldn’t necessarily say all of this is true about me, but most of it is. I want to join the Peace Corp when I graduate to help a different culture across the globe and find new experiences. All in all, he tried to not be too offensive, but when you make broad generalizations of a hugely diverse group of people, you will always offend someone.
- Vice President of Marketing – President McClure talked about getting a Vice President of Marketing for her executive team. The board agreed that Adams State has been lacking in the Marketing department and that it could really help us in the long run. After the presentation on Millennials yesterday, I suggested that if we do hire a VP of Marketing that they should either be a Millennial or receive input from millennials because they are a huge demographic of the college. The board agreed and President McClure is hoping to get this idea started as soon as possible.
- Finding new avenues of Revenue – The board discussed two different ideas of additional revenue. We talked about the possibility of providing a hemp certification at Adams due to the increase in demand and how the valley is a perfect place to grow industrial hemp. I would like to remind you all that this is just an idea, but I am really excited if we were able to actually do this because it could make Adams a destination school. We also talked about partnering with the boettcher foundation to give students a fully paid education if they promise to teach in the San Luis Valley upon graduation. Again just an idea, but it’s pretty exciting if they can get this program to work
- HLC Probation – This topic might just be the most important thing to consider in this next year. President McClure shared with us that they attempted to send the HLC a letter regarding why they think that they shouldn’t be on probation and the HLC replied that it was “not in agreeance” with our letter. It basically said that we should focus more of our energy on the visit in April and President McClure reassured us that they are taking every approach in making that visit count. If the visit goes well our probation could be lifted and all of this can blow over.
So that’s about it! I really love being able to be apart of this amazing Board of Trustees and I think that this next year will go really well! If you actually read this entire post, god bless you and I promise it won’t be as long next time! Stay tuned and Go Grizzlies!