FAQ - University Name Change


Why is the college changing its name?

Adams State is already operating on the level of a university, and our name should reflect that role. The university name will more accurately reflect the range and quality of our graduate and undergraduate missions. This is the rationale behind the school’s four name changes to date. It is a natural progression. Showcasing our academic quality, along with changes in the marketplace, are driving the effort to become Adams State University. Retention of Adams State in our name demonstrates a continuation of our essential character and values.

What were the college’s previous names?

The original legislation authorized the establishment of “Alamosa State College,” but by the time the college was opened in 1925, it was named Adams State Normal School, to honor our founder, Governor Billy Adams. In 1929 the name was changed to Adams State Teachers College of Southern Colorado, and then shortened in 1938 to Adams State Teachers College. The current name, Adams State College, was adopted in 1946 to reflect the broader offering of undergraduate liberal arts programs and the expansion of graduate degree programs.

What are the official steps to make the change?

The Board of Trustees for Adams State College voted to pursue the name change August 26, 2011. On Jan. 17, 2012, State Senator Gail Schwartz and House Representative Ed Vigil ‘86 introduced a bill proposing the name change. The bill will then be voted on by the entire legislature and, if passed, signed into law by the governor.

When does the name change take effect?

The change would be official August 7, 2012 and effective with the fall 2012 semester (2012-13 academic year).

Does the change from college to university mean a larger, more impersonal school?

No. A change in name and status would not impact our commitment to keeping class sizes small in order to enhance the learning experience and promote student-faculty interaction. Adams State will remain true to its values: small classes, excellent instruction by tenured professors who care about their students (at the undergraduate and graduate level), a full liberal arts program of study, many co-curricular activities, a vibrant outdoor program, a great (and newly remodeled) residential campus, and the best value in four-year higher education in Colorado.

Will a name change affect tuition, financial aid, etc.?

Not in itself. Financial calculations about tuition and fees will continue to revolve around state appropriations—not the name of the institution. Given the current higher education funding situation, tuition will inevitably increase at every state college and university in Colorado. The Adams State Trustees and administration are determined to keep tuition and fee increases to a minimum. If anything, changing to a university will help improve Adam State’s competitiveness, thereby increasing tuition revenue while moderating tuition increases.

Will a name change mean additional state funding for Adams State?

No. Funding of the institution will not be impacted positively or negatively by the name.

Does the name change increase the size of the student body?

With record-breaking enrollment the last three consecutive years, Adams State is nearing capacity in on-campus undergraduate enrollment. More growth is expected in online and distance education programs. The change to “university” will increase Adams State’s competitiveness in these important markets.

How will the name change affect admissions and admission standards?

Adams State’s role and mission will remain the same; a change in our name in and of itself will not necessitate a change in admission standards.

How does the name change benefit the institution?

The university name will clarify Adams State’s four-year mission to prospective students and more accurately reflect our growing graduate and distance-education programs. In many states where Adams State recruits (Arizona, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, and California), all public institutions that award four-year degrees are called “universities,” while in these and other states, “colleges” only award two-year degrees.

Are there extensive additional costs associated with the name change?

No state general funds will be used to support the name change. Costs will be borne by cash budgets.

Was research conducted on the acceptance and impact of the name change?

Yes. The topic has been under discussion for some time, and last year the Trustees requested the question be considered in an enrollment growth research project conducted by consulting firm Noel-Levitz. The study shows most of Adams State’s constituents favor the change to “university.”

  • 80% of high school counselors
  • 74% of graduate students
  • 72% of undergraduate students
  • 65% faculty and staff
  • 65% of alumni 

How will this affect students?

Their degrees will have greater prestige that is commonly associated with universities.

How does this impact transfer students?

Students who are considering transferring could be more likely to choose Adams State, as the title of University is commonly associated with better academic programs, and more serious consideration will be given to a masters-level degree granting institution. Students who are transferring from ASU will have the prestige that is commonly associated with universities. No longer will they be asked if Adams State is a community college, for example.

Is class size being impacted by the name change?

No, our small student-faculty ratio is very important to student success

Does the name change affect faculty member teaching responsibilities?

No, those remain the same, according to the Faculty Handbook.

Will the name change impact college organizational structure?

Not in the immediate future. University status does not dictate a particular structure.

Does the name change result in new programs?

New programs will continue to be created in response to student and community need. Adams State has introduced several new academic programs in the past few years at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, sports psychology, and master’s degrees in music education, business administration (MBA), and higher education administration (HEAL). Growth in our graduate programs – now representing one-quarter of the student body – is one factor justifying the change to “university.”

As a state university, is Adams State jumping up to Division I in athletics?

No. Adams State remains committed to NCAA Division II, which emphasizes growth opportunities for athletes that balance academic achievement, learning in high-level athletic competition, and development of positive societal attitudes in service to community.

Can alumni request new Adams State University diplomas?

Yes, Adams State University will offer our alumni the opportunity to purchase replacement diplomas at a greatly reduced rate, for a limited time. All transcripts will be issued from Adams State University beginning fall semester 2012. We will begin accepting orders for replacement diplomas and diploma covers soon and will do so through the end of December, 2012. Please visit our adams.edu page or look for an update in the summer and fall editions of the A-Stater. During this period of time, alumni may purchase replacement diplomas for $15 each! Of course our alumni will be able to request replacement diplomas thereafter, however the replacement price will return to the usual price of $30 per diploma.

Can I change my resume to reflect “university?”

Yes! You may elect to update your resume however, please be aware that leaving Adams State College on your resume should have no adverse effect as our official transcript key reflects all of our name changes to date. This is entirely a question of preference.

Will campus email or websites change?

No. The URL will remain adams.edu.

Will campus signage change?

Yes. The name change dovetails with development of new signage across campus, which was already being planned. So this expense will be undertaken with or without the name change. New signs will probably be added gradually.