Colorado Mountain College recently implemented a new academic structure designed to improve continuity and academic innovations throughout each college location and program area.
The purpose of the new design is to bring connectivity, collaboration and collective vision to the college’s academic programs, with the end results focused on successful learning.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure an enriched student experience,” said Kathy Kiser-Miller, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the Steamboat Springs campus.
Much of this new approach centers on the establishment of seven deans located on different campuses who oversee seven schools, or academic subject areas. From nursing to business to communication to outdoor recreation, these school deans are now responsible for coordinating programming, curriculum and community requests with campus leaders. An eighth dean oversees academic support in all areas.
The academic redesign came about largely through suggestions from faculty.
Because of the small size of many CMC campuses, some faculty found themselves the only one, or one among just a few peers, in their particular academic subject area on their campus. Several times a year they met with other faculty in their academic discipline to talk about the best ways to teach that particular subject. But they wanted more connectivity with others in the
same academic field, so that the courses they teach are more consistent and
steadily improving to meet students’ needs across the college as a whole.
Three deans have been in place for over a year: Rob Martin, the dean of the Isaacson School of Communication, Arts and Media; Dr. A. Yvette Myrick, the dean of the School of Transitional Education; and Dr. Deborah Loper, the dean of Academic Support. Five others were put into place in
the current academic year.
“Within the new design, the college is prioritizing service to our students and local communities through collaboration and development of academic innovations that support students today and into the future,” said Dr. Carrie
Besnette Hauser, president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College.
“In addition to the new school deans, a discipline-based structure has laid the foundation for cross-pollination between disciplines and campuses, collegewide course scheduling and career pathways for CMC students within and across disciplines,” said Kiser-Miller. “These improvements support stronger student completions and planning within each student’s career goals.”
For instance, she said that Loper, the college’s dean of academic support,
has improved and automated over 20 processes in the department of Academic Affairs that support quick decisions and approvals as the college moves forward with new programs, faculty and initiatives.
“The new Academic Affairs design has already improved our communication, decision-making and improved workflows in the academic division at the college,” Kiser-Miller said.