President Stan Jensen looks back on his first year at Colorado Mountain College

Colorado Mountain College President Stan Jensen

Colorado Mountain College President Stan Jensen

As I look back on my first year at Colorado Mountain College, I am astounded at the changes we’ve all seen. Since I joined the college July 1, 2008, we have all witnessed great economic upheavals, elected a new president and lived through the resulting ripples in our lives.

There is much in change that can be overwhelming. But I am convinced that the only way to move forward is to anticipate when we can plan for what we can anticipate and grasp the opportunities that do come our way.

After seeing many of the residents in the mountain communities Colorado Mountain College serves and getting to know the students and employees of this wonderful college, I have been carefully crafting our new vision, mission and strategic plan. I have been gradually rolling it out — first internally and now to those living in our communities.

You may have heard this vision, that we are proclaiming we want to be first choice: in learning, in partnerships, in leadership.

Now, I realize that’s an audacious claim for a community college in a a dozen rural resort towns of Colorado. But unless you reach for the stars, how can you possibly test yourself, push yourself to achieve beyond your wildest dreams? We tell our students this, that education is the path to help them to achieve their dreams. And if this is something we believe for them, it must be something we believe for ourselves.

And that brings me to our new missions, which is to create a better future. We want to create a better future for our students, our communities, our partners and our team members.

An example of that over this past year is how we have leveraged partnerships. Like our partnership with Colorado Workforce, to help train unemployed and underemployed workers in our service area. This partnership took root at our campus in Rifle and has quickly grown to support people in communities throughout our district.

Or our partnership with the Colorado School of Mines, to apply for a multi-million dollar grant to pursue the feasibility of geoexchange at our campus in Steamboat Springs. O our partnership with the National Association of Home Builders and other organizations to provide training for green jobs.

Or our partnership with school districts throughout the 12,000 square miles we serve, to understand together how changes in the state’s concurrent enrollment program can enhance learning opportunities for high school students in our region, to allow them to obtain high school and college credit simultaneously, without having to leave home.

In relation to other college, Colorado Mountain College is young — 42 years old. But we are like the communities we serve: energetic, optimistic, forward-looking without forgetting the past. This fall, I am having a series of meetings with the staff, faculty and students on our seven physical campuses and with supporters of the college, to celebrate the new path upon which we travel. And now I ask you to join us on the same path. Together, we can discover how Colorado Mouton College can be your first choice and how we can work with you to create better futures.

This column was reprinted from the Oct. 2 edition of the Rifle Citizen Telegram.