Mar 082004
 
Authors: Erin Skarda

Joe Hunter has been a student in the CSU System for almost two

years, even though he just started school in Fort Collins last

semester.

Instead, Hunter began his college education at CSU-Pueblo, a

regional comprehensive university that is part of the CSU

System.

“I loved it there,” said Hunter, a sophomore business major. “I

felt it was good if you’re seeking a specialty major such as

nursing or automotive. I was in the automotive program.”

Although CSU-Pueblo used to be called the University of Southern

Colorado, Barbara Montgomery, the university’s provost and vice

president for Academic Affairs, said that it has been part of the

system for years.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that (CSU-Pueblo) has

been part of the same system for a number of years,” Montgomery

said. “There has been collaboration in the past, but now there’s a

commitment to strengthen the collaboration.”

The name change went into effect on July 1, but Montgomery said

discussions began in the late 1990s and continued for almost five

years.

“There were conversations then about pros and cons and what

might happen (under the name change),” Montgomery said. “We were

required to do detailed studies to see what changes would result if

legislature passed off the name change.”

Tom Milligan, assistant vice president of University Relations

at CSU, said the name change represents a closer relationship

between the two institutions.

“We look at it as an opportunity to closely integrate efforts of

the two institutions with very different missions,” Milligan said.

“(CSU) attracts more Colorado residents than any other school. We

have outreach offices in virtually every county.”

Milligan said more collaboration is taking place to meet the

state’s needs.

“As we move forward to serve Colorado better, we’re making the

impact on the state stronger,” Milligan said.

Kevin Oltjenbruns, vice provost of undergraduate studies at CSU,

said there are informal conversations unfolding to determine a

different kind of partnership.

“There are early discussions about a possible partnership with

CSU-Pueblo so some of their students might be able to work with our

students to earn a dietetics concentration,” Oltjenbruns said. “The

reason is that there is a professional need for many qualified

dieticians and CSU-Pueblo doesn’t have a program.”

Although these conversations have begun, Oltjenbruns said

nothing is set in stone.

“Time will tell which collaboration will become a reality,”

Oltjenbruns said.

Admissions and academics remain separate between the two

institutions right now. The application process is separate, but in

the future officials are discussing a possible

joint-application.

“There are different admissions standards,” Milligan said. “We

are a highly selective institution. If a student isn’t admitted

here, he or she may be able to begin in Pueblo. There’s work going

on in that issue.”

The CSU-Pueblo professors are still the same as when the

institution was called USC. Montgomery said faculty members are

quality teachers at the university.

“We have typical faculty members, a pretty prevalent model of

higher education,” Montgomery said. “They are very well

qualified.”

Hunter agreed the professors are good.

“(The professors) were all in touch with the students, sincere

and held a close relationship with the class,” he said.

Despite how new the name change is, officials from both schools

agree that it has been beneficial to the CSU System.

“There has been an impact on enrollment (at CSU-Pueblo),”

Milligan said. “It’s not dropping like it has in the past. It’s

going the right way. That’s important. The benefit to the system is

that it grows stronger and benefits the state.”

Montgomery agreed that the changes have had only benefits.

“CSU-Pueblo enhances education opportunities in the south part

of the state,” she said. “Forty to 50 percent of students here are

place-bound, which means they have significant responsibilities in

this region. It would be difficult to live away and go to

school.”

Officials said that while continued expansion of CSU to other

parts of the state is not out of the question, there is no plan for

future expansion right now.

“CSU takes great pride in its name and it should,” Montgomery

said. “It represents educational opportunity for the state and we

take great pride in the special part of the role in bringing

benefits to Colorado.”

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