Partnership between Adams State and the Office of Surface Mining is mutually beneficial


The Adam State University officially entered into a partnership with the Office of Surface Mining on August 23, when the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

ASU President David Svaldi said the agreement solidifies ASU's relationship with the Office of Surface mining and helps to provide opportunities for shared technical training for OSM employees, SLV community members and ASU students. “The OSM internships available to ASU students will be especially valuable as paths to careers in the new energy economy."

The purpose of the MOU is to provide framework for cooperative efforts between the parties to develop and implement initiatives that will strive to build educational excellence while contributing positively to both the OSM and ASU missions. This understanding will be directed towards promoting the advancement of the Clean Energy Economy, academic and professional development in the environmental sciences, and greater succession planning opportunities. Cooperative efforts include examples such as OSM delivering technical courses on ASU’s campus, ASU developing and/or offering environmental courses, and ASU students serving as interns for OSM.

Joseph Pizarchik, director of OSM, agreed with Svaldi, adding the OSM’s Minority Higher Education Program’s (MHEP) partnership with ASU formally recognizes the expectations of the MHEP to develop partnerships with institutions that have a strong minority base. The signing of the MOU will also improve the work-force succession planning by identifying new job trends and well-qualified individuals entering the job market and strengthens the sharing of information and expertise in numerous disciplines.

Both Adams State and OSM benefit academically – OSM from courses taught through distance learning directed at professional development and courses led by OSM instructors to be offered to Adams State students and the community.

Dr. Robert Benson, professor of earth science, said the MOU will continue to provide excellent opportunities for Adams State students to explore a variety of applied earth science courses, gain valuable professional experiences through internships, evaluate and perhaps embark on career paths. Additionally, OSM has transferred surplus technology to ASU for student use. “OSM is also benefiting from Adams State's extensive experience in online course delivery and the brick-and-mortar facilities for delivery of OSM courses. As important as anything, ASU faculty and students networking with practiced professionals at OSM.”

Working with Liz Martinez, extended studies program director, Dr. Frank Novotny, vice president for academic affairs, helped build the academic credit portion of the understanding. He believes the collaboration uses the respective strengths of each entity to enhance the education background and opportunities of Adams State’s students, ASU and OSM employee’s, and community members across the country. “This partnership will produce an educated able-bodied work-force that will meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Martinez agreed, she said Adams State and OSM have formed a valuable partnership which will provide opportunities for growth and future benefits for individuals as well as the institutions.