HLC visit update

The HLC Steering Committee reports good attendance at the campus forums held from September to November that acquainted people with the Assurance Argument prepared for the Comprehensive Evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission. Participants worked hard to learn more about HLC’s Criteria and ASU’s mission at the concluding “Forum of Fun.”

The next steps in the process are as follows:

In mid-December, ASU will receive a draft report from the visiting team to be reviewed for “errors of fact.” This report will only be shared with a few members of the administration and will not be widely circulated. Corrections must be submitted to HLC within 30 days.  The final report will be sent in late January or early February. In the spring, President McClure and the chair of ASU’s HLC Visiting Team will appear before HLC’s Institutional Action Council (IAC) for a hearing in Chicago on probation status. The IAC will review the visiting team’s report and the presentation to make a final recommendation to the HLC Board. The HLC Board will vote on ASU’s status for the removal of probation and granting of full accreditation at its June 26-28 meeting.


Fall Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, Dec. 16
10 a.m.
Plachy Hall Gym

The commencement address will be given by the Honorable Pattie P. Swift, Chief Judge of the 12th Judicial District.

Updates from Human Resources

Holiday Schedule

Adams State’s Holiday Schedule has been updated to include a Governor’s Holiday on Friday, December 29, 2017, in place of the annual leave or leave without pay day. Read the schedule.

Those required to work during this week due to job necessity would be allowed to take alternate time off prior to the end of this fiscal year. Specific questions may be directed to Human Resources, ext. 7990.

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment for faculty and exempt staff is currently underway. The deadline for any changes is Wednesday, November 22, 2017. A new benefits website contains all of the benefit information, including the new CHEIBA Benefit Booklet and the new 2018 rate sheet.

Follow this link and these instructions:

Click on the BeneCenter Logo.
User ID: cheiba
Password: adams

Questions may be directed to Shannon Heersink, ext. 7990.

Health Fair Results

A record number of employees and dependents participated in ASU’s recent Health Fair. Blood results are now available from Preventive Health Now, LLC, secure lab portal; emails were sent with a link to access results.

Academics Updates

The Mathematics Program announced the creation and approval of a new general education mathematics course: Math 110 Introduction to Statistics. This class will fulfill the general studies Area III requirements just as well as Math 104, 106, 107, 120, 121, or 150. The first section opens next semester, spring 2018. All general education mathematics courses are designated Guaranteed Transfer to all 2-year and 4-year Colorado supported colleges and universities. Questions may should be directed to Steve Aldrich, ext. 7487, coordinator of the Mathematics Program.

The Teacher Education Department announced the following changes to its offerings:

Programs to be maintained/expanded:


  • Licensure in Elementary Education
  • Licensure in Secondary Education: Science, Social Studies, Math, English, Business, Foreign Language
  • K-12 licensure:  Art, Physical Education, Music
  • Early Childhood Education


  • Educational Leadership (principal)
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Curriculum and Instruction
Programs to be phased out:


  • SPED Endorsement
  • K-12 Drama


  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
  • Reading Teacher
  • Administrator/Superintendent
  • Special Education
  • Adams Rural Teacher Fellowship (A.R.T.)

Nursing Dept. collecting winter wear

The ASU Nursing Department is once again collecting coats, blankets, and winter wear to be distributed to homeless students in the SLV’s K-12 schools. New or gently used donations may be brought to the drop box located on the 2nd floor of Richardson Hall, north end by the Nursing Department.

Program Activities

Inspire Your Grizzly Week

The United States is more religiously diverse than ever, and so are many colleges and universities. In an effort to strengthen interfaith awareness and to promote spiritual wellness, the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life hosted Inspire Your Grizzly Week, with several spiritual groups participating.

A variety of events and activities were scheduled throughout the week. The seven-day “Fill the Truck” food drive coordinated by Christian Challenge kicked off a spirit of generosity, and a selection of meditative activities sprinkled the week. Tia Pleiman, graduate student in the Counseling Program, facilitated a meditative arts session that produced a colorful paper mural. Konchog Norbu, Buddhist monk, guided a brief meditation focused on inner awareness and compassion. A reflective walk along the Rio Grande with Jonathon Stalls, cross-country walker and founder of Walk2Connect for Community, encouraged the use of walking as spiritual practice. Several religious and spiritual traditions were represented at the first-ever Spirituality Fair in the Student Union Building, including Sufism, Shumeii International, and the Crestone Spiritual Alliance, as well as several Christian denominations. A fitting end to the week was the Circle of Gratitude and community dinner in Nielsen Library. ASU student Lauryn Sanders welcomed everyone, and 68 West, ASU Music Department’s a capella group, added beauty with specially selected pieces like I Dream a World. Readings were shared by student leaders from the Multicultural Student Governing Board and by various spiritual leaders from the community. Closing of the circle took place outside at the old Ford vintage truck where Inspire Your Grizzly Week began. Food donations were then carried to the recently opened ASU Food Pantry, where they will be shared with students.

Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos

More than 350 people participated in the Spanish program and ASU Spanish Club’s celebration of Día de los Muertos, October 28. For the fifth year, this important Hispanic festivity was presented at no charge at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Financial support was also provided by AS&F’s Campus Impact Fund.

Día de los Muertos is a time to celebrate life. It is a time to honor the memory, teachings, and shared experiences of beloved friends and family members who are no longer on the side of the living. It is normally celebrated November 2 with ofrendas (offerings) and a small “station” or space with items that were dear to those departed. It’s a feast when family, neighbors and friends get together to relish traditional food and drinks and appreciate each other’s company and life in the present. Everything is clean, new, fresh, and should look its best.

Music, colors, smells, flowers, poetry, art, creativity, and flavors are basic elements of this celebration. The SLV festivity incorporated many free activities such as face painting, decorated altars or ofrendas, colored figures and masks, decorated sugar skulls, paper flowers, dance performances by Joyas de México and Semillas de la Tierra, reading of poetry “Calaveras,” butterfly dedication, photo stations, mariachi and popular music, and traditional food.

The organizers are very grateful for the time, efforts and contributions of various community volunteers who make this traditional celebration possible.


Nursing Department’s Haunted Asylum

Over 400 community members went through the Haunted Asylum October 30 & 31, hosted by the Adams State Student Nursing Association (ASSNA) with help from Nursing Department faculty and staff and the Grizzly Activity Board (GAB). Nicholas Gortmaker, president of the ASSNA club, led the team in organizing the event. ASSNA Club members along with Melissa Milner, Kristina Cook, and Michael Geiger worked on set up for two weeks before the event.

High schools students from Sierra Grande came to help Sunday for final set up and were able to log community service hours. The ASSNA club wanted to set up a frightful scare for the San Luis Valley Community and have a way to give back to the community at the same time. Community members had the option of paying the full admission fee or a discounted fee with a donation of a canned/boxed food item, toiletry, coat or blanket. They raised 200 individual items to be given to the ASU Food Pantry and coats and blankets to go the SLV BOCES project for homeless youth. Funds raised from the event will go toward the end-of-year Nurse Pinning Ceremony and future Nursing Mission Trips as part of the Rural Health Community Clinicals.

The event took place in Nursing’s state-of-the-art Simulation Lab, which was turned into the Haunted Asylum. Hours before the first community members arrived, the students and faculty were getting ready. The Nursing Department used their skills in moulage, the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training medical personnel, and created gory human victims of the asylum.

There were screams of fear and delight as participants exited the Asylum. They told the others left in line that the wait was worth it.

Special Olympics Bowling

The HPPE department’s Sport Facility & Event Management class again hosted the local Special Olympics bowling program and exhibition in October at ABC Pro Bowl in Alamosa. This group dedicated eight weeks of volunteer and planning hours to get local bowlers ready for the Southeast Area Regionals in Pueblo, CO. At the Southeast Area Regionals SLV athletes took 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place in their respective divisions. Special Olympics athletes compete based on gender, age and qualifying local scores. All the local athletes improved their scores by an average of 10 points from the practices to the Regionals.

The mission of Special Olympics Colorado is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in sharing gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. The next sport season is basketball, with local practices beginning November 11.

For more information, please contact Peggy Johnson, ext. 7408.

Adventure Sports

The climbing and cycling pre-holiday dinner was held Nov. 8 to honor the teams’ achievements, Grizzly Grind volunteers, and everyone who was part of Adventure Sports growth in 2017.


ASU’s mountain bike team had a fantastic season, with Mark Johnson and Jeremy Norris concluding their season at the 2017 Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in Missoula, MT. They qualified to compete in the National Championship Cross Country and Short Track Cross Country events. After a crash on the first lap, Norris finished 15th in a field of 64 in cross country, with Johnson finishing 29th. Coach Duran said, “I’m really proud of the guys today! Finishing in the top-half of a National Championship is never easy.” Norris also finished 11th of 64 in short track. The Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (RMCCC) is the strongest conference in the country, with riders taking 12 out of 16 individual championships.

ASU’s team also hosted the RMCCC at the Grizzly Grind, held in Angel Fire, NM. Volunteers in the effort included Logan Hejlmstad,  Nico Jauregui, Wyatt Moran, Megan Lakatos and Grace Daniel. The team will resume competition in late February, when the road bike season commences.


The climbing team recently kicked off its season at the U.S. Climbing National Cup Series of professional bouldering competitions, the Yank and Yard, in Albuquerque. The competition is not part of their collegiate schedule, but is rather designed to provide North American climbers more high-end competition to prepare for the Olympics in 2020. This is the largest competition ASU participates in outside of Nationals in April. The team did exceptionally well, with Travis Fraker and Noel Prandoni both finishing in the top 10 against a brutally strong field. Other standouts were Victoria Campbell (who barely missed the top 10), Kari Vanderburg, Jennalee Thurman, Megan Ray, Elizabeth Salicrup, David Sheppard, Wyatt Moran, Logan Hjelmstad, Reily Engdahl, Scott Clayton, and Jackson Cole. Head Coach Matt Moore said, “This is the best team and individual result ever from Adams at this competition, which has me super excited about the season to come.” The Climbing Team’s next competition is February 3, hosted by CU Boulder. The climbers competed at Nationals in San Diego earlier this year and look likely to return.

Student, Faculty & Staff Accomplishments

The Adams State student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) received an Honorable Mention award for its activities during the 2016-17 academic year. Of more than 400 applicants for the awards, 52 were named Outstanding; 114, Commendable; and 139, Honorable Mention. The award winning chapters will be honored at the 255th ACS National Meeting. ACS said chapter advisor Dr. Alexey Leontyev, asst. professor of chemistry, deserves special commendation, noting, “Few faculty members are willing to make the great commitment of time and energy that a successful chapter requires. Professor Leontyev’s efforts certainly represent the best in undergraduate science education and mentoring around the country.”

Dr. Kristy Duran, assoc. professor of biology, and ten students attended the National SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) Conference in Salt Lake City, October 18-21. On Community College Resource Day, they showcased Adams State University’s programs and spoke to potential transfer students about opportunities at ASU. Students participated in professional development sessions and scientific symposia. They also had the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with scientists from their specific field of interest. The students also won first place in the SACNAS Chapter Cheer Competition.

Duran and Dr. Terry Bilinski, St. Edward’s University, organized a session for the conference titled “Mobilizing Expertise for Advocacy and Activism.” The session covered different pathways to becoming involved in advocacy and activism.

In addition, Duran is on the Leadership Team for the 500 Women Scientists organization. The group met November 4-5 to mark its one-year anniversary and set goals, action items, and priorities for the coming year. Dr. Renee Beeton, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Gretchen Goldman, Research Director for the Center for Science and Democracy, facilitated the meeting. More information about the 500WS.

Department of Counselor Education faculty, master’s students, and doctoral students attended the Colorado School Counselor Association Conference (CSCA) in Keystone, CO, in mid-October. Their presentations included:

  • Sarah Burrous and Molly Kobus (master’s students) – “Spreading a World of Opportunities – Interviewing, Selecting, Supervising and Mentoring School Counseling Interns”
  • Christina Jurekovic (third-year doctoral student), Dr. Cheri Meder, and Dr. Courtney Allen – “A World of Change: Claire Davis Act”
  • Liz Wiggins (fourth-year doctoral student) – “An Opportunity for Zen: Creating a Holistic School Counseling Program”
  • Vasti Holstun (fourth-year doctoral student) – “Addressing Spirituality in a School Setting: The Good, the Bad, and the Helpful”
  • Dr. Courtney Allen, Christina Jurekovic, Dr. Cheri Meder, and Dr. Neil Rigsbee – “The Role of School Counselors in School-Based Strategies to Reduce Suicide Ideation, Attempts, and Completion”

In addition, fourth-year doctoral student Mark Vander Ley presented at the Illinois Counseling Association conference in Lisle, IL, on the topic of “Creatively Counseling the ‘New Nurturant Father’: How Fatherhood and Emotional Intelligence (EI) converge in the Counseling Relationship.”

Dr. Liz Thomas Hensley, professor of marketing and MBA director, was appointed to the Alamosa County Local Marketing District Board. As a city councilor, she previously served as the city’s liaison with the board.

Dr. Richard Loosbrock, professor of history, gave a paper at Cambridge University in England on memory and the war monuments of Washington, DC.

Dr. Beverlee J. McClure, president, was profiled by University Business Magazine in the article “Presidential Prodigies – A new breed of campus leader.” Read more.

Randall Smith, senior systems administrator, had his second video course “Dive into Orchestration with Docker Swarm” published on October 31 by Packt Publishing.

Eric Stewart, asst. professor of art, and Taylor Dunne, asst. professor of mass communications, recently completed a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $10,000 for their film project, Off Country. It is an experimental documentary and oral history archive that investigates the environmental consequences of the nuclear weapons industry by looking at three regions in the west: the former Rocky Flats Plant, the White Sands Missile Range, and the Nevada Test Site. They have received a lot of press on the project and also screened films and participated in a panel at the recent Denver Film Festival. 

Dr. Brian Zuleger, asst. professor of HPPE, and along with four M.S. Applied Sport Psychology students – Nico Jauregui, Martin Wolffe, Riley Robbins and Zachary Holloway – attended the 32nd annual conference for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), held at the Hilton Orlando in Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL, October 18-21. They learned about new studies, research findings, and what’s next in the field of sport psychology from peers, thought-leaders, researchers, graduate training program directors, and former professional athletes and coaches.

The conference brought together universities, professionals from all fields of sports psychology — military, business private sector, performing arts, and academia — to provide opportunities for them to meet and network about opportunities in Applied Sport Psychology. The conference directors discussed the future direction for the applied sport psychology field and gave examples of directions that graduate students could take. The Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista facilities offered a great environment to listen and learn about new ideas in applied sport psychology for students, teachers, coaches and consultants.

The students had a positive experience and learned about new educational and career opportunities after graduate school. They also had the opportunity to network with many professionals from different schools and discuss future job opportunities.

Zuleger presented “It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It: Applied Sport Psychology Service Delivery in NCAA Collegiate Athletics” with colleagues Dr. Scotta Morton (University of Missouri) and Dr. Katie McLean (University of Notre Dame). Zuleger and the students also represented ASU at a graduate student fair.

New Employees
  • Akinwumi ‘Bob’ Abebayo – Director of Assessment
  • Chris Lopez – Director of Public Relations and Marketing
  • Shelby McBain – Wellness Coordinator


President’s Message

Our comprehensive site visit by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is less than a month away, on November 13-15, and I believe we are well positioned for a positive result.

Our Assurance Argument demonstrates we have taken necessary steps to correct previous issues. A number of policies have been introduced or updated. We have reformed our shared governance process to promote cross-campus representation in our decision making. Through the Adams Outcomes and Pathways Project, we are revising our curriculum to incorporate inclusive excellence and to better meet student and societal needs. The goals of Pathways are to improve student learning and increase student engagement, retention, and graduation rates. Inclusive excellence is also championed by Title V and CIELO (Community for Inclusive Excellence, Leadership, and Opportunity). Adams State University presents relevant events and activities for our community and area school districts. We have many measures in place to assure and assess the quality of our academic programs. Most importantly, our faculty and students are engaged in meaningful scholarly and creative endeavors.

In short, we are faithful to our institutional Mission and Vision and are succeeding in fulfilling our Core Purpose: To educate, serve, and inspire our diverse populations in the pursuit of their lifelong dreams and ambitions.

I encourage you to attend the remaining campus forums to learn more about our Assurance Argument and the site visit. (See details below.) Adams State University has a lot to be proud of, and I thank you for your contribution to this process.

President McClure

HLC Campus Forums

All employees are encouraged to attend the following forums as Adams State prepares for its comprehensive site visit by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Each session is offered twice. All sessions are also videotaped, for those who missed the live presentations.

  • Criterion 4: How we know we do it well
    Tuesday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m.
    Wednesday, Oct. 25, 4 p.m.
    McDaniel Hall 101
  • Criterion 5: What we do and why we do it
    Tuesday, Oct. 31, 11 a.m.
    Wednesday, Nov. 1, 4 p.m.
    McDaniel Hall 101
  • Visit Preparation
    Wednesday, Nov. 8, 4 p.m.
    Thursday, Nov. 9, 11 a.m.
    SUB 309
    Prizes and refreshments provided

Recordings of prior forums:

For more information about the Comprehensive Evaluation and the schedule of events, click here.