Potential partnerships could create more options for students

(09-09-2014)

The Board of Trustees for Adams State University discussed potential partnerships with Colorado State University (CSU) system Chancellor Mike Martin, when he addressed the board at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Noting he has been discussing the issue informally for several months with Dr. Svaldi and other educational leaders, Martin said. "I want to begin exploration of things we might consider doing together. I'm not here to sell a merger or change of governance, just to begin the conversation about how institutions with the same overarching set of objectives, facing the same kind of pressures, might find ways to support one another in doing business in new ways we haven't done before."

Adams State President David Svaldi concurred on the need for innovative approaches: "All projections for future state budgets illustrate that old competitive models are no longer affordable and that collaboration is the key to continue to best serve students."

With the objective of better serving students in a more cost-efficient manner, Martin pointed out three areas in which institutions might share resources and functions:

  1. Seeking new efficiencies and cost-savings in non-academic areas of the institution
  2. Seeking new ways to pursue both student success and enrollment
  3. Looking at new ways to create joint academic programs

For example, ASU and CSU might collaborate on academic programs that neither institution could present separately, particularly those concerned with agriculture and natural resources.

"We already have a research center here; we already have an extension office here," Martin said, raising the possibility of a 3+1 program in agricultural engineering or agronomy. The fourth year of study could be offered by CSU on the Adams State campus. Hybrid courses, combining online delivery with on-site instruction, could also bring CSU resources to ASU students, he said. Adams State Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Frank Novotny, has already begun working with CSU staff on such possibilities.

"The future for Adams State students can be enhanced through public and private partnerships with other universities and private industries. CSU and CSU Extension can provide specialized knowledge and curriculum that ASU alone cannot afford to develop and deliver," Svaldi added. "Another possible partnership - with the University of Colorado - on unmanned aircraft development and training, can create opportunities for students in a growing and specialized field, in addition to economic stimulus for the San Luis Valley."

"We are all in this with the same goal," Martin said. "We can create a more efficient, student-centered educational environment in Colorado."

Adams State Board Chair Arnold Salazar said: "I want to make sure this discussion of partnerships moves forward, because this could benefit both institutions. As an agricultural school, Colorado State has a strong cultural alignment with Adams State, so there is a lot of potential for collaboration."

By Julie Waechter