Vice President for Academic Affairs

What Does the Office of Academic Affairs Do?

The Office of Academic Affairs works to ensure that Adams State University provides undergraduate and graduate programs that embody academic excellence. The office works to collaborate with Academic Council, Graduate Council, and Faculty Senate to ensure that our curriculum, policies, and practices promote academic integrity, student learning, and success for all students. The office oversees implementation of the academic components of the ASU 2020 Strategic Plan, the Academic Strategic Plan, and the ASU Assessment Plan.

The Office of Academic Affairs ensures that academic programs engage in ongoing assessment and improvement. It also oversees the Library, Academic Instructional Technology Center, Extended Studies, and the Academics Achievement Strategies (AAA) program. It works closely with the Center for Teaching, Innovation and Research to provide faculty development opportunities and training for faculty and department chairs and with the Community for Inclusive Excellence, Leadership and Opportunity (CIELO) to help ensure equity and inclusion in all academic programs. The Office of Academic Affairs also oversees the faculty retention, promotion, and tenure process.

Letter from the Vice President for Academic Affairs

As a first-generation college graduate from a farming family in rural Mississippi, I understand having big dreams in small towns. I understand overcoming the low expectations that society often has of historically-underserved students while fulfilling the high expectations, indeed dreams, our families have for us. I understand standing on the shoulders of generations of ancestors who sacrificed everything so that I could accomplish something. With the belief that much is required of those to whom much has been given, I serve as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Adams State University with great humility and an absolute commitment to advocate for the dreams of our students, faculty, and staff.

Our mission is to educate, serve, and inspire our diverse populations in the pursuit of their lifelong dreams and ambitions. Many universities promise to educate and to serve; few boldly promise to inspire. Adams State University has made and kept that promise for generations. I recently met a local community leader who can count 70 members of his own family who are graduates of this university. Every day we live into our identity as the university of the San Luis Valley, recommitting ourselves even as we grow outside the Valley to our first priority:  to be both of and for the local communities we were created to serve. Our ASU 2020 Strategic Plan outlines five primary goals, and first among them is Academic Excellence. The Office of Academic Affairs, through the academic and service departments that flow from it, is primarily charged with meeting this goal. During the 2016-2017 academic year, you will see a number of bold academic initiatives unfold. 

Our Essential Learning Task Force will begin the inclusive process of examining and reengineering our general education curriculum. Whereas many such efforts nationwide layer elements of equity and diversity on top of curricular offerings as an afterthought, our new model will establish a foundation of equity and inclusion and integrate these guiding principles in meaningful ways throughout our curricular offerings. It is only fitting as the first federally-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution in Colorado that we do so. Many members of this community will be directly involved in this initiative, and everyone is encouraged to make her or his voice heard in the process.

We will closely examine our developmental programs as part of a national reexamination of developmental education. As many as 60 percent of college students nationwide require extra preparation for academic success, and historically-underserved populations such as those served by Adams State are often disproportionately represented. Our university exemplifies the belief that anyone willing to work hard for an education is a viable candidate, and we are ethically bound to provide our students with all of the supports needed to retain and to complete what they start. We will promote assets-based approaches that allow our students to emphasize what they know in pursuit of what they want to learn.

Our dual-enrollment and adult education programs will redouble their efforts to support the educational needs of the Valley. It’s great to bring people to educational opportunities, but sometimes it’s equally important to take those opportunities into the communities where people live. We are reaching out to the 14 school districts in the Valley to help high school students get a head start on college and to provide more convenient venues for working adults to start or to complete a degree.

This academic year will be a transformative one in many ways for Adams State University. Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Margaret Doell, Program Assistant Jerah Dickson, and I pledge that the Office of Academic Affairs will be transparent, responsive, and supportive of this academic community’s needs. We appreciate the opportunity to serve alongside you in a mission that is greater than any of us could accomplish alone.

Warm regards,

Chris Gilmer