This CMC Corner column was written by Joe Maestas.
CMC is one college with many roofs. You can find us in 11 physical locations across north-central Colorado, as well as online. In your daily commute, you might pass by four or five of our buildings or campuses. Our students likewise intersect multiple communities, and many choose to take Colorado Mountain College classes at several different locations.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we can have a campus in many of our district’s communities. The college’s founders saw fit to respond to a demand to hold classes in almost everyone’s backyard, from Rifle to Dillon, from Buena Vista to Steamboat Springs, and more locally, from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.
We also recognize the challenge that comes from being spread apart, and here in the Roaring Fork Valley we are making efforts to bring ourselves under one figurative “roof.”
For several decades, our locations in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley have operated as one campus, the Roaring Fork Campus. Faculty teach at all three locations, classes are grouped together in one schedule and staff provide support across the campus.
At the same time, we realize our students and community members see us as Colorado Mountain College in a particular town, and are less concerned with our internal structure. So increasingly we are referring to ourselves as Colorado Mountain College in Carbondale, or Colorado Mountain College in Aspen, and so on.
I recently assumed responsibilities as the interim chief executive officer of the Roaring Fork Campus, while continuing my role as CEO of the Aspen Campus. The timing is perfect to join forces, brainstorming ways to share our resources and collaborate in new ways to serve students better.
The advent of two new bachelor’s degree programs has already brought about a coordinated effort between all of the instructional staff who program classes. They considered the big picture: which location can offer which class at what time, throughout the entire Roaring Fork Valley corridor and including our nearby campus in Rifle.
Likewise, we hope to optimize the scheduling of all first- and second-year courses within this area, giving students more chances to get the classes they need.
For example, when considering the times to schedule English Composition at one location, we will take into account when the class is offered at all nearby locations and try to offer the class in a new time slot.
Because students traverse our campuses, it is also very important that they experience consistency in the policies and services between locations. Within each department, we will convene colleagues to share and implement best practices.
Internally, our staff is looking at more efficient ways of doing business. We want to honor our employees’ strengths and have them each share their specialty, not just under the roof of their particular campus, but for the benefit of everyone living or studying anywhere within the entire corridor.
I’m committed to facilitating this cooperative effort that’s already under way. In the spirit of true learning-oriented inquiry, we will try new things, aiming to improve the services we together can provide our students.
Joe Maestas is a vice president of Colorado Mountain College, chief executive officer of its Aspen campus, and interim CEO of the Roaring Fork Campus, which has locations in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley.
This article appeared as the CMC Corner column in the Aug. 16 edition of the Post Independent.