Steve Linhart is looking forward to hitting the mountain bike trails a little bit more next year. After more than 20 years at UCCS, the dean of students will retire in February 2021.
The former UCCS police officer and deputy chief assumed his current role in 2012 after a reorganization within the student affairs division. While there is a connection between his early career with the enforcement of the code of conduct that the dean of students is responsible to implement, a focus on only that would miss a large part of the support and engagement role that his office provides.
His office’s Campus Assessment Response and Evaluation, or CARE, Team, is often the first one individuals call to help students experiencing personal crisis or trauma. Under Linhart’s leadership, the office spearheaded the development of Clyde’s Cupboard to address food insecurity and social norming campaigns around alcohol use with Smart Move UCCS.
Those projects feed into the larger campus culture of faculty and staff who are willing to help in order to accomplish the greater need: serving UCCS’ students. UCCS has faced numerous challenges during his tenure that required strong student support, ranging from the current COVID-19 pandemic to past natural disasters or major events that impact operations.
“We rally together and handle any situation with grace and professionalism,” Linhart said when trying to remember his top memory of UCCS. “Anytime we’ve faced a major situation, it’s inspiring to see everyone come together to do whatever is needed.”
When asked about what he’ll miss most, Linhart emphasized it was the people who make up the campus.
“I’m going to miss the faculty. I’m going to miss the staff. I’m going to miss the students. I’m going to miss the excitement we have during the start of the fall semester, how we move through the academic year and the celebration that is commencement. I’ll miss being a part of that journey with students as they move forward to graduation and achieving their personal success.”
Linhart started at UCCS Police after serving as as an officer with the El Paso County Sheriff. He progressed from officer to sergeant and then to deputy chief from 2000 to 2008 before he became executive director of judicial affairs and student support services. In January 2010, he served as student conduct officer and director of emergency management. He was named dean of students in July 2012 and assistant vice chancellor in 2017. He is a 1983 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and earned his Master’s of Public Administration from UCCS in 1992.
For what he’ll do after retirement, Linhart said his focus is still on the present.
“We have so much to focus on right now, with making it through the fall semester and getting ready for the spring, that I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” Linhart said. “I know I’m going to do a lot of mountain bike riding, and then see what is in store for me. Maybe some volunteering or getting involved with some organizations.”
“Steve has provided invaluable care and service to our students during his career,” said Carlos García, vice chancellor for student affairs. “His knowledge and decades of experience will be sorely missed at UCCS.”
García plans to assemble a search committee for a search for the next dean of students.