The Board of Trustees of Adams State University eagerly awaits the arrival of Fall Semester of 2021. In our meeting on August 13th we toured the campus and met with students, faculty, and staff. The grounds are pristine, the faculty refreshed, the students enthusiastic, and our athletic teams are ready to compete. To a member, we are proud of the Adams State community.
We begin our new academic year as a changed university:
- Our financial position is better than ever. Our strong financial position is a direct result of sacrifices everyone has made and felt over the last several years. From student clubs to faculty positions, the Adams State community has collaborated to attain the great financial health we enjoy today. These changes have been difficult, yet the result is that Adams State can launch its second century strong and healthy.
- We are investing in our faculty and staff. Due to the hard choices we made, we were able to recently raise salaries for faculty and staff to ensure Adams State is competitive with other regional comprehensive universities. We are able to invest in what means the most – our faculty, staff, and the experience they provide to our students.
- We are bringing new programs to Adams State. We recently approved a Mechanical Engineering program to launch in the fall of 2022, in partnership with Colorado State University-Fort Collins. We are thrilled to offer such an opportunity to the residents and employers of the San Luis Valley. We are also evaluating a Public Health degree designed to prepare professionals to work in rural, underserved communities with high diversity.
- We value our health. We value the health of everyone in the Valley. We again will providein-person learning on campus while the pandemic still rages. We have invested in the processes and practices to make our university as healthy as possible. This includes masking and social distancing policies as well as a vaccine mandate.
Adams State has attained our current, promising position at significant cost. The Board of Trustees is aware of the sacrifices and tough decisions our leadership, particularly at the board and executive level, have made to achieve our current position. These decisions, we know, are often unpopular. All of our decisions, however, prioritize the ongoing sustainability of Adams State. It is our role, however unpopular, to steward the institution.
We have confidence in the University’s leadership. The Board’s recent decision to increase President Lovell’s compensation reflects our support. Importantly, it also ensures that this role is competitive with both other Colorado Regional Comprehensive Universities and CUPA national benchmarks. We note that the 3.2 percent increase in her total compensation falls well within the range of salary increases the Adams State staff and faculty received just weeks ago.
We also know there is work to be done, and we look to President Lovell and her team to lead the University into a new day. As we turn to the upcoming year, we are specifically looking to Dr. Lovell and her team to focus on the following:
- Campus morale.As ready as we are to welcome students back to campus, our administrative team and faculty are coming off an exhausting pandemic and other difficult years. Trust has been compromised and eroded in this crisis-driven, financially-strained environment in which we have all operated. The Board has prioritized raising morale next year and has committed additional resources to ensuring morale is not only addressed but improved. Measuring and monitoring morale is a standing agenda item in our regular board meetings moving forward.
- Student enrollment.Our student enrollment, particularly undergraduate enrollment, is a cause of significant concern. The size of our undergraduate student body, year over year, has continued to decline. We cannot have a thriving organization if this pattern continues. Our focus is honed on how we recruit students, invest in their Adams State experience, and keep them on campus. Not only is increasing undergraduate enrollment a top priority, the entire student experience required for student success with strong retention and graduation rates is also of paramount importance.
- Leadership, culture, and climate. Our challenge now is to strengthen the Spirit of Adams State. The Board is aware of concerns raised by the campus community regarding culture and climate at the university. Our collective attention needs to turn to creating a culture of collaboration, a climate of inclusivity, and a place where faculty, students, and staff can all thrive. We are confident Dr. Lovell will continue to effectively steward this organization with adequate oversight and support from the Board.
The Adams State community has weathered two tumultuous storms. We have restored our financial health and we have contended with the pandemic. As the Board of Trustees, we look forward to a new day for Adams State.
Welcome back, Adams State!
Board of Trustees
Michele Lueck, Chair
David Tandberg, Vice Chair
Jonathan N. Marquez