This column by CMC vice president and campus dean for Leadville and Chaffee County Rachel Pokrandt was published in the Leadville Herald Democrat on Dec. 28, 2017. 

By Rachel Pokrandt

As the new year approaches and I complete my first full year as vice president and campus dean of Colorado Mountain College in Leadville and Chaffee County, I am moved to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and to thank the campus staff and faculty and our amazing community partners.

It has been a fast, furious and learning-packed year for me. I am unbelievably impressed by the energy of our long-term and brand new staff alike in moving the campus forward in the community, and for our amazing students.

This year we have successfully launched a new avalanche science certificate program that is the first of its kind in the country. Unlike others, it provides an immersive training in avalanche science and snow safety for professionals at many levels. This program is fully enrolled, and we already have students applying for the next cohort in fall of 2018.

We launched a culinary certificate program for concurrent enrollment students who now help prepare lunch at the Coronado Café on the Leadville campus. We have instituted a community service component into our new First Year Experience program, which has led to many more students participating in events and service throughout the community and on campus. I hope that you have had the opportunity to meet some of our amazing students.

In support of our innovative and student-centered Lake County School District we are working on plans to launch the Early College program. To that end we have secured generous support from the Leadville Legacy Foundation to help these students with student services and resources.

We secured the support of college leadership and the CMC Board of Trustees to build the Get Outdoors Leadville! hub on our campus. We are now working on plans to extend the Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center on campus to provide space where Lake County residents can borrow outdoor gear and CMC students can gain valuable work experience.

This year we danced in the Boom Days Parade, and campus staff and faculty have volunteered for countless community events. I am proud to say that CMC employees in Leadville reflect the energy and enthusiasm for the future that is oozing out of the pores of this community.

To cap off the year, our staff and faculty gave in record numbers to the CMC Foundation Team Fund, in support of student scholarships and programs. Our participation this year sets an all-time campus record, which reflects the excitement at the campus for the work we do with students and for the direction we are headed.

We head into the break pleased with our efforts but always knowing that the next year is the only one that matters. As we have over the past 50 years, we are always looking for ways to innovate, to find ways to serve our communities and students with increasing quality and efficiency. We are up to the challenge. We have assembled the very best faculty and the very best staff, and we have the privilege of serving amazing students.

We have some big goals for 2018 and we take them seriously because we work for you.