On October 15, 2009, the Adams State College Board of Trustees agreed to defer consideration of a college name change from Adams State College to Adams State University in order for the proposed change to be examined in the context of the college’s strategic planning efforts.
There have been a number of focus groups dedicated to this proposed name change. These groups were targeted towards students, staff and faculty, but some input from alumni and the community was integrated as well.
In the summary of the information gathered from these focus groups released on September 30th, a position statement on the proposed name change was featured prominently in the 23-page document. The document states, “The administration of ASC is proposing to change its name to ‘Adams State University.’ The purpose of this change is not to change the institution or the college. Except in name, ASC is currently a University in every aspect. The purpose of this change is to improve our marketing opportunities as we grow in an ever changing and challenging environment. As a well defined University with easily identified and marketable units, Adams State University will become better prepared to serve our constituencies. The higher education environment and business is changing. Increased competition and continued growth in the undergraduate, graduate, online, and distance education markets mandates we meet these challenges and changes. An easily identifiable and competitive position as a University will assist us in that endeavor.”
The focus groups revealed that out of the 53 votes counted and revealed in the report, there were 21 votes each “yes” and “no” and 12 votes for “maybe.”
However, an ASC student and representative of the college who asked that their name not be revealed is less than thrilled with the idea of a name change. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. What positive changes are going to come from changing the name? Sure, we might get a few more students, we might see some more money flow into the college and the San Luis Valley, but we’re going to lose things of more importance than we’re going to gain. One of the things that ASC is proud of is the fact that the classes are small, but you don’t see small classes at a university. It would only be a matter of time before that trait disappeared. And with enrollment already at a record level, and with campus housing the way that it is, there won’t be any room. Is it true that the new apartments are only going to hold 65 students? Enrollment will only go up if we become a university, so where are all these students going to stay? Unless policy changes to where people don’t have to live on campus during their first two years, it’s just going to create a bigger problem than we already have.”
ASC had the highest enrollment in its 85-year history, with 3,159 total students reported to be enrolled back at the beginning of the school year in August. Various reasons were given for the increased enrollment, including improved recruiting and retention, as well as the additions of new academic programs and athletic teams.
“If ASC can add programs and teams as a college, would it really be that much more effective as a university?”
However, in an opinion column released on September 24th, President Svaldi said, “I am not going to recommend changing Adams State’s name after 64 years based upon a brief discussion and some evidence that the university name “markets” better.”
After the news about the name change being tabled became official, Adams State President David Svaldi explained that the trustees determined such a change should be considered in light of the college’s mission, recruitment goals, and long-term planning.
When mentioned to the student who asked to remain anonymous, they seemed less than convinced. “It feels exactly like it did when the capital fee was brought up. It feels like the decision has already been made and that it’s not going to really matter what the students say. Even if we’re in opposition, it seems like it’s going to find a way to happen.”
No official timetable has been revealed as to when this issue will be reviewed again.