Steamboat Springs Kerry Hart knows Steamboat Springs has a perception of Colorado Mountain College, and he's out to change it.
On Monday the dean of CMC's Alpine Campus addres-sed the CMC Board of Trustees and CMC President Bob Spuhler in one of the few meetings held in Steamboat each year.
Hart wants the public and the students at CMC to understand the community college overlooking downtown Steamboat is not a haven for skiers and snowboarders disinterested in their academic future.
He reminded board members and CMC faculty Monday that the Alpine Campus is on a mission to transform the perception of CMC, which people in Steamboat have jokingly called "See Me Ski" for years.
Spuhler and the CMC board are in Steamboat this week for their regular meeting and retreat. Steamboat is one of seven Rocky Mountain CMC campuses, so board meetings rotate around the state. On Monday, Steamboat took its turn hosting a meeting, and Hart took the opportunity to talk about the Alpine Campus.
When Hart arrived one year ago, he heard complaints from faculty and staff about poor attendance and poor academic motivation. The Alpine Council, a group of invested people at CMC, is seeking to change the culture.
"We need to start being proactive with students who express an interest in CMC," Hart said. Through e-mails, text messages or voice mails, CMC staff introduces the college and the academic expectations to prospective students right away.
"It's working," Hart said. "I've heard less complaints this year."
Hart reviewed enrollment numbers and talked about his goals for future enrollment with Spuhler and CMC trustees Monday. Increasing enrollment and meeting the needs of the communities within CMC's district is a priority, East Garfield County Trustee John Pattillo said during Monday's meeting.
Hart said he is hoping to continue a positive relationship with the Steamboat Springs School District in terms of sharing resources, but the continued goal of CMC in the future is establishing a scholarship program to entice area students to remain in the Yampa Valley after graduating from high school.
"If we are going to attract students to this campus, we are competing against all other state schools and colleges," Hart said. "We want to make CMC the first choice for area students."
Hart believes a scholarship program would do that. It also would help CMC increase enrollment without increasing demands on its residence halls, which are full because of increased enrollment from out-of-district students.
The CMC Board of Trustees is elected from the six counties in the CMC District. The district has seven Rocky Mountain campuses covering 12,000 square miles in Colorado's major ski resort areas, including Steamboat, Vail and Aspen.
The CMC Board of Trustees has seven at-large seats, and the responsibility of the board includes employing and evaluating the president, approving the college budget, establishing college goals and monitoring the progress of the institution.
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