Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak pulled up a chair and chatted through highlights of the academic year with about 90 faculty and staff members Wednesday during the final Chancellor’s All Campus Forum of the academic year.
She traced the university’s progress from dirt roads to initiatives ranging from a cyber-security partnership with the Army Reserves to a new $60 million arts center on North Nevada Ave while emphasizing the university’s core mission of student success.
Citing a Ghanaian proverb, Shockley-Zalabak encouraged faculty and staff to look to the university’s roots to reclaim its future.
“Claim your future, our work with students,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “Be the best of what we have been.”
While much of her presentation focuses on growing numbers of students, additional programs, and the lack of fiscal resources, she was quick to remind those in attendance of the university’s success.
“Just growing isn’t what we strive to do,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “UCCS student graduation rates slightly exceed our 31 national peers. We’re ahead in graduation rates and dead last in state appropriation.”
“It’s not all money. We are the only institution in Colorado – and among only 100 in the U.S. that doesn’t have an achievement gap.”
Shockley-Zalabak lauded faculty and staff for their efforts to ensure that students, many of whom come from low-income families or are members of underrepresented groups to be successful. Students who receive Pell grants account for nearly one-third of the UCCS student population and 30 percent of UCCS students are the first in their families to attend college.
She reminded faculty and staff of the difference that education makes for families, citing her personal commencement experience and explaining her decision to split commencement into two.
“It’s a long day with two ceremonies – I get it,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “But when I’m there doing a microphone check early in the morning and see families ranging from babies in arms to grandparents coming early so they can sit together and see the first person in their family graduate, I know it’s worth it.”
Future projects that the chancellor encouraged faculty and staff to watch for were:
- New degree proposals in athletic training (master’s) and inclusive elementary education (bachelor’s)
- Groundbreaking for the Ent Center for the Arts (Aug. 13)
- Housing Village Expansion (Phase 1 to open for fall semester)
- Recreation Center Expansion (opening late fall
To see the PowerPoint slides used at the forum, visit http://www.uccs.edu/chancellor/about-the-chancellor/chancellors-speeches.html (2015 Year in Review)