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Following HLC approval, ecosystems science and stewardship program will begin enrolling students next fall

At the October meeting of the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees, board members approved a new Bachelor of Science in Ecosystems Science and Stewardship.

Once the program is approved by the state and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the new program will bring the total number of bachelor’s degrees offered at CMC to six. The college also offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration, education, leadership and management, nursing and sustainability studies.

Students in the ecosystems science and stewardship program will focus on intensive science coursework including ecology, biology and watershed science.

“This degree will lead to careers in conservation biology, forestry, environmental science and more,” said CMC Associate Professor Dr. Nathan Stewart. “There are many public and private sector employers in our mountain communities that are hiring for these high paying jobs and we’re excited to offer this degree to our students.”

An internal program development team, in collaboration with 25 external partners, has worked over the past two years to thoughtfully consider the addition of the ecosystems science and stewardship program taking into consideration community need, the college’s current academic competencies and potential for critical local and regional industry partnerships.

The Bachelor of Science in Ecosystems Science and Stewardship builds on the many strengths and expertise of the college’s sustainability, biology, natural resource and geographic information systems (GIS) faculty and programming.  Students will enjoy both a dynamic group of faculty, and a curriculum that prepares students with the skills necessary to engage in careers that tackle solutions to the ever-growing climate change crisis.

The new degree will be available for the fall 2022 semester pending approval by the state and the HLC.

New mountain bike trails

The CMC trustees approved the hiring of a general contractor to build a new section of mountain bike trails at the Spring Valley campus. Director of Facilities Sean Nesbitt said work will begin in early October on three miles of new mountain bike trails on campus.

These trails will be available to CMC students and the community and are designed to eventually host high school races. The Spring Valley campus already has nearly four miles of existing trails that have been built by students, staff and local volunteers.

Honoring Trustee Cunniffe

The CMC Board of Trustees honored their term-limited peer, Charles Cunniffe, as the meeting was Cunniffe’s last ahead of the Nov. 5 elections.

The board and senior staff celebrated their colleague with a commemorative resolution, a Colorado flag flown over the Colorado State Capitol in Cunniffe’s honor and sentiments of appreciation.

Cunniffe of Aspen has been on the college’s board of trustees since 2013, and has been an active college supporter for many years, including as a member of the CMC Foundation Board. He is the principal of Charles Cunniffe Architects and has worked as an architect in Aspen since 1979.

“We thank Trustee Cunniffe for his many years of service to the board,” said CMC President Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser. “His forward-thinking leadership style and passion for putting students first will be greatly missed at the college.”

Cunniffe’s seat on the board will be filled by former Town of Snowmass Village mayor Markey Butler, who faced no opposition when she filed a petition for the position. She will be sworn in at the December board meeting.

Also at the meeting, trustees unanimously approved modifications to board policies 1.2 and 1.4. CMC trustees gave final approval for two utility easements granted to Holy Cross Energy for the CMC Spring Valley solar project. Lastly, the board approved a resolution in support of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) Grant.