New Chancellor’s Leadership Class director sets sights on future

January 20, 2012
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Kristi Kremers

Regarding career, location and pastimes, Kristi Kremers says she’s found a perfect combination as the new director of the UCCS Chancellor’s Leadership Class.

Her only regret so far is the furniture broken during the move to Colorado, but everything else is optimum.

“I don’t know how to say this without using the word ‘exciting,’ ” she said. “It sounds trite to say it’s exciting to be here, but it really is. I’m in a new place where I can follow a number of my passions, and ‘exciting’ is the only way to describe it.”

While hobbies like yoga, quilting, and writing poetry can be enjoyed just about anywhere, running is a pastime where fresh air, open space, and gorgeous scenery multiply the pleasure. Kremers, originally from Kimball, Minn., said the thin air at Colorado’s altitude creates a challenge, but she expects to acclimate and compete in marathons before too long.

Kremers replaces outgoing CLC director Amy Hill, and was recently appointed after a national search. Prerequisites for the directorship position include her University of Minnesota Ph.D. in organizational leadership and master’s degree in counseling from Minnesota State University, as well as hands-on student leadership serving two terms as University of Minnesota student body president and representing some 23,000 graduate and professional students.

But she won’t discount the value of what she learned about diversity and perspective from her undergraduate studies of aboriginal culture in Australia.

She has yet to create a vision for the future of the CLC, in part because she considers it to be a great program already, but also because her first task is to observe and listen, Kremers said. She hopes to make a great program even better with preliminary ideas of expanding and carrying leadership skills to the rest of the campus. And although the vision has yet to gel, her personal philosophy of taking risks to build a dream will no doubt influence the class’s direction.

In the few days since arriving and getting to know the class, Kremers was impressed, she said, with the sense of community the scholars demonstrated.

“They showed an ability to work together and they truly care about one another,” she said.

Kremers remarked about a feeling of community and acceptance shared across the campus that made her feel at home at UCCS. She said the faculty and staff have a genuine concern for the students that shows.

Finding a job during a challenged economy was unprecedented good fortune, she said. Finding a position tailored to her abilities made it even better. After visits to a friend’s home in Boulder, she considered living in Colorado. Finding all that here seemed a dream come true.

“It’s the perfect combination of all my passions,” she said.

And almost enough to overlook a desk delivered in pieces.

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