THE OPPORTUNITY

Colorado State University (CSU) is a land-grant institution classified with the Carnegie Doctoral Very High Research Universities and is the flagship university of the Colorado State University System. Colorado State’s rankings include its recognition as a top tier university in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of “America’s Best Colleges and Universities,” as well as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine’s ranking as one of the top public universities in the United States for educational quality and affordability. CSU enrolls approximately 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is located an hour north of Denver. Fort Collins is a culturally vibrant and progressive community that is situated on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains with views of 14,000 foot peaks, offering  easy access to numerous outdoor opportunities.

The Position

ROLE OF THE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT DISABILITY CENTER FOR COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Reporting to the assistant vice president of student affairs, the director of student disability center provides leadership for, and oversight of, the student disability center’s (SDC) operations, programs, and services delivery. The director is expected to work closely within the Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) unit and to serve as a leader within the cluster. The director develops the overall vision/mission of the center and oversees implementation of programs and services designed to meet identified needs of the campus community along the broad continuum of physical, mental, emotional, and learning. Additionally, this position leads and oversees the strategic planning responsibilities for the center and its programs and services as well as all assessment efforts for the SDC’s programs and services.

The director serves as a key voice in advocating for, and addressing, institution wide accessibility issues. Additionally, the director builds strong relationships and collaborates effectively with SDC staff, division of student affairs departments, and with the CSU academic departments and colleges integral to accomplishing the SDC mission and goals. Working closely with two assistant directors, three program coordinators, three specialist positions, one administrative assistant, approximately 30 student hourly staff, and an average of 30 part time non-student auxiliary staff to ensure seamless delivery of daily programs and services to CSU students, the director also develops and manages multiple fiscal accounts (state funds, gift, student fees) with budgets totaling $900K.  The desire is to find someone who can lead SDC from a proactive framework to address the environmental constraints unfairly placed upon students with disabilities, this includes the physical and electronic/virtual environments.

The Student Disability Center is part of the SDPS cluster within the division of student affairs, which includes the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, Black/African American Cultural Center, El Centro, Native American Cultural Center, Pride Resource Center, and the Women and Gender Advocacy Center.

Essential duties include:

Leadership and Team Management

  • Serve as the organizational leader and collaborative member of the professional staff team.
  • Administer and manage office organizational functions, including office accounts, facility and equipment use, personnel management and evaluation, policy development, preparation of reports, publications, and public relations.
  • Oversee on-going assessment of SDC programs and services.
  • Conduct regular one-to-one’s with direct reports, and regular semester individual check-ins with all FTE’s.
  • Provide ongoing staff team development, and foster staff professional growth and development.
  • Maintain timely and efficient communication in a professional manner.
  • Serve as a positive role model to students and staff.
  • Keep current regarding the field of disabled student services and serve as a systemic and personal advocate for students with disabilities, including those with chronic physical and mental health conditions.
  • Understand campus resources, policies and procedures, and serve as a reliable and accurate source of information to current and prospective students and their families.
  • Participate in Student Diversity Programs and Services cluster, Division of Student Affairs (DSA) and other campus-wide projects through committee and special activities.
  • Be an active listener in order to understand the interests and needs of key stakeholders to effectively problem solve and seek creative solutions.
  • Serve as a campus leader and advocate for issues related to diversity and social justice, leading with disability as a human characteristic and an intentional effort of intersectionality of other social identities (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation).
  • Actively embrace and role model Colorado State University’s Principles of Community.

Administrative

  • Participate in regularly scheduled SDPS cluster meetings and DSA directors staff meetings.
  • Supervise department personnel effectively to insure programs and services support the campus-wide strategy and mission of the department.
  • Guide and support University recognized student organizations including the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility, a group receiving student fees and a national chapter of an honor society for students with disabilities (Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society).
  • Collect data and maintain demographic statistics on the population of students with disabilities, physical and/or mental health conditions for CSU Institutional Research.
  • Provide direct support to individual students with disabilities, physical and/or mental health conditions based on unusual or extraordinary circumstances.

Campus and Community Collaboration

  • Work in partnership with Student Diversity Programs and Services centers, as well as other Division of Student Affairs units to support students’ diverse intersecting identities and to maximize resources.
  • Build strong partnerships with other campus and community leaders and key influencers to develop trust-based relationships with SDC.
  • Effectively work with faculty to help them understand their role and partnership in meeting the accommodation needs of student with disabilities.
  • Build partnerships with other departments to enable collaboration and coordination of support for students with disabilities, chronic physical and/or mental health conditions.
  • Educate the campus community in understanding issues concerning students with disabilities, chronic physical and/or mental health conditions, and encourage community outreach activities.
  • Develop and support partnerships with other campus departments and academic colleges to enhance the retention and graduation rate of students with disabilities, chronic physical and/or mental health conditions.
  • Facilitate training and workshop experiences related to disability and the intersection of social justice, race, and identity for students, faculty and staff in the University community.
  • Initiate and collaborate on projects and programs throughout the Division of Student Affairs and with the Student Diversity Programs and Services cluster.
  • Represent SDC as a member of the Division of Student Affairs and University committees and task forces as assigned, including work on search committees.

HISTORY OF THE POSITION

The current director of the Student Disability Center is the founding director of the center and has served in this capacity for the last 40 years. Her retirement marks the beginning of a new chapter for the center: one that honors the past but also looks towards the future with great awareness, energy and innovation.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The new director will encounter the opportunities and challenges listed below.

  • This is truly an exciting time to be joining the SDC; positive change is desired and expected. The new director has a wonderful opportunity to lead change that will have a lasting impact on students and campus culture for years.
  • This new director will help the SDC realize its full potential and achieve amazing results through new programs and services, innovation and energy.
  • Work to educate the CSU community about the center, its mission, services and functions, and encourage authentic engagement with faculty, staff, students and the community.
  • Collaborate with campus stakeholders to explore possibilities for expanding academic and learning support for students.
  • The SDC staff are passionate, dedicated and highly skilled. They are excited to have a new leader recognize their talents while empowering them to think strategically and creatively to enhance the role of the center.
  • The new director should work to empower students, helping them to better understand their disabilities and learn how to effectively self-advocate, while simultaneously working with campus leadership to address systemic inequities for students with disabilities.
  • The SDC utilizes the social model of disability while also being very compliant.
  • It is expected that the new director fully understands and embraces intersectionality and the broad scope of identities students with disabilities may hold including, but not limited to, gender, gender identity, age, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation, and also works to both educate the staff and infuse intersectionality throughout the work of the center.
  • CSU is very relational. The director is expected to effectively collaborate with others in the division and within the broader campus community.
  • The Division of Student Affairs is very strong; the staff are proud to be at CSU and genuinely enjoy their work, colleagues and students.
  • The new director, with the center staff, must establish a vision and direction for the department with goals, expectations, and priorities that align with the vision and mission of the Division of Student Affairs and the University strategic plan.
  • Earn the respect of the campus community through accessibility, visibility, transparency and healthy partnerships.
  • The SDC has recently moved into a new space that is closely aligned with the Institute for Teaching and Learning.
  • Work to forge strong relationships with faculty and deans to enhance understanding of laws and compliance issues and collaboratively find solutions to best meet students’ needs.
  • The amount of students served by the SDC has continually increased over the years; testing alone has increased by 400 tests in just three years.
  • Review all the SDC’s policies and procedures ensuring all are current, relevant and efficient.
  • The faculty at CSU are supportive of the work of the SDC.
  • The current staff is open to change and looking for the new director to make appropriate and strategic changes to all aspects of the department within a clearly articulated and well-thought-out plan.
  • Build an exemplary team through the thorough understanding of each staff member’s position and responsibilities, enhancement of staff evaluations and professional development opportunities, and creation of a culture of honest information sharing and solicitation of others’ input.
  • The retiring director is the only director the campus has ever known. She leaves behind a rich history and strong foundation for the center.
  • The SDC is the only center that is both part of the student diversity programs and services cluster and the academic cluster within student affairs providing the SDC with an amazing opportunity to fully engage in the division and its efforts.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

At an appropriate interval after joining CSU, the following items will initially define success for the new director. The new director will have:

  • assessed the current environment and, with the SDC staff, established a vision and mission along with a plan for the future of the center;
  • forged positive relationships with the students utilizing the center;
  • learned the culture of student affairs and the institution, and how to effectively navigate both for the ultimate success of the SDC and the students;
  • built a cohesive team that works together toward effective problem solving and student success;
  • taken steps to move the center in a positive direction;
  • instilled an awareness and intentional use of intersectionality throughout the center’s work;
  • created a way to effectively utilize the SDC’s satellite office within the Student Union;
  • worked to ensure student satisfaction and facilitated student access to accommodations;
  • established key relationships with academic and non-academic units and begun positive work in strengthening the credibility of the center with these partners;
  • made appropriate strides to effectively supervise the staff, including feedback and performance evaluations; assisted with their professional development and growth, and worked to make the staff feel valued and respected;
  • devised a plan to help the SDC begin engaging in more cultural and community building programs;
  • infused a sense of innovation and forward-thinking into all collaborative efforts and new initiatives; and
  • become a well-known, visible leader on campus who is knowledgeable on current and emerging trends and issues and is seen as a strong partner and collaborator.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, occupational therapy, special education, disability studies, or student affairs administration and a minimum of seven years of professional progressive full-time experience working with college students with disabilities, including three years of successful experience in a related role within higher education. The candidate must have demonstrated experience with the supervision of professional and support staff; budget development, management and fiscal reporting; the coordination, planning and facilitation of social justice educational programming on topics related to intersectionality, power, privilege, and oppression across multiple identities (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc.). A strong working knowledge of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its amendments. In addition, the successful candidate will demonstrate an understanding of disability as an issue of equity, and will have demonstrated experience presenting on, and/or advocate for, a wide variety of disability issues/topics.

Preferred qualifications include doctorate in a field related to disability and/or higher education; knowledge and understanding of the social model of disability and independent living philosophy; experience in advising, counseling, teaching, and/or supervising individuals from diverse backgrounds, or with a broad spectrum of disabilities, from a perspective that includes the intersections of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, and other significant aspects of identity; strong interpersonal skills necessary to interact with the general public; diplomatic and strategic approach to problem solving; sensitivity to the needs and concerns for students with disabilities; further, the ability to translate and interpret effectively the center’s mission and philosophy to all members of the university community; acknowledge the important priorities of education and student development; provision of services; and build a sense of institutional community are all preferred qualifications.

In addition to the above-stated qualifications and characteristics, CSU stakeholders identified the following characteristics as important for the position (in no particular order):

  • Demonstrated commitment to a strong collaborative style and capacity to build bridges to departments, faculty, students, and the community in order to facilitate open discussions and joint ventures that advance the SDC and initiatives supporting services for students with disabilities.
  • Strong personal investment in and passion for students’ wellbeing and success.
  • An understanding and deep commitment to social justice and demonstrated cultural competence, with a strong belief in the value of diversity in enriching the learning experience and the quality of life on campus.
  • Ability to effectively review and revamp current policies, procedures and protocols, and to create new ones as needed to streamline work.
  • Demonstrated experience educating faculty, students and the University community on the scope and functions of a center/office.
  • Poised, professional, and excited demeanor as the face of the center at CSU and to the local community.
  • Credible, engaging, supportive, and approachable supervisor with knowledge of the responsibilities of each staff member’s position, respect for their work and contributions, and proficiency at advocating for staff and students, their programs and needs.
  • Extensive experience in team building, innovation, budget management, employee development, and strategic planning.
  • A champion of intersectionality and of the role students’ many identities play in their development and how they may engage with the center, ensuring staff understand intersectionality and how it is woven throughout the work of the center.
  • An active thought-partner working to appropriately engage the other centers in the SDPS cluster.
  • Strong future-thinker and collaborator committed to advancing disability services throughout the SDPS cluster, student affairs and the entire campus community.
  • Highly energetic individual with a strong sense of self and ability to appropriately infuse humor and enthusiasm into the workplace and campus community.
  • Compassionate, accessible, transparent, and ethical leader with excellent communication skills to clearly articulate vision, direction, and purpose, and to earn the respect and confidence of the faculty, staff and students.
  • Appreciation for and knowledge of both technological advances and best practices and their utilization at CSU to further assist students.
  • Maintain a commitment to continual improvement and professional development, both personally and for the staff, by encouraging staff to be actively engaged in professional associations, alert to evolving trends and emerging best practices, and empowered to try new approaches/initiatives.
  • Comfortable with data collection, analysis, and data-driven decision-making, and the systems and assessment measures that support these processes.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; open to feedback; and the ability to make difficult decisions.
  • Experience assessing culture and environments to strategically formulate a new vision and goals for the center.

THE INSTITUTION DIVISION/DEPARTMENT: AN OVERVIEW

An Overview of the Division of Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs fosters a campus community that supports students in the development of their unique potential, inspiring them to be active learners, successful graduates, and engaged global citizens.

The division is proud of what they have built at Colorado State and the future is brighter still. With a firm foundation in their land-grant heritage, students at CSU are not afraid to think bigger. They are not afraid to ask the hard questions or follow their passions. Students do not just place value on the results—they embrace the process that got them there.

Mission Statement

The Division of Student Affairs fosters a campus community that supports students in the development of their unique potential, inspiring them to be active learners, successful graduates, and engaged global citizens.

Brand Promise

We inspire and support active learners, successful graduates, and engaged global citizens.

Student Success Initiative

A multi-pronged effort to creating equitable educational environments inside and outside of the classroom, resulting in increased graduation rates and the complete elimination of opportunity gaps for first generation students, students of color, and students from limited-income backgrounds.

Leadership of the Division of Student Affairs

Dr. Blanche Hughes received her bachelor’s degree from Earlham College, a Master’s of Education degree in Student Affairs and Doctorate degree in Sociology from Colorado State University. She is currently in her 13th year as the vice president for student affairs at CSU. In this role, she works with a division that includes 21 departments that collaborate with other units in the University community to help our students and staff be successful. Dr. Hughes teaches a first-year undergraduate seminar course, as well as teaching and advising in the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate program.

She is also a member of the President’s executive leadership team. Effective October 21, 2019, Blanche accepted the role of Lead Administrator of the Race Bias and Equity Initiative at the request of President Joyce McConnell.

Before becoming vice president, Blanche spent six years as the associate vice president for student affairs, eleven years as the director of black student services at Colorado State University and also served as a professor of the Sociology Department at Pikes Peak Community College for two years, one of those years as chair of the department.

Blanche is married to Wayne Hughes and they have four children (two are alumnae of CSU) and five grandchildren.

Organizational Chart for the Division of Student Affairs

The Student Disability Center

Since 1977, the Student Disability Center has helped facilitate the educational pursuits of students who have disabilities and/or other chronic conditions by coordinating a variety of accommodations and services. These services support the unique academic needs of permanently and temporarily disabled students or students with chronic health conditions, including mental health. As one of the Student Diversity Programs and Services offices on campus, SDC also works to ensure policies, procedures, and practices within the university environment do not discriminate against students because they have a disability.

The SDC has the authority to verify and confirm the eligibility of students with disabilities and/or health conditions for the majority of accommodations on campus. While some accommodations may be provided by other departments, a student is not automatically eligible for those accommodations unless their disability or health condition can be verified and the need for the accommodation confirmed, either through the SDC or through acceptable means defined by the particular department (e.g. Parking and Transportation Services). Faculty and staff may consult with SDC whenever there is doubt as to the appropriateness of an accommodative request by a student with a disability.

The goal of the SDC is to normalize disability, including chronic health conditions, as part of the culture of diversity on campus. The characteristic of having a disability or chronic health condition simply provides the basis of the support that is available to students. The goal is to ensure students with disabilities or chronic health conditions have the opportunity to be as successful as they have the capability to be.

For Whom?

Accommodations and support are offered to students with functional limitations due to visual, hearing, learning, or mobility disabilities as well as to students who have specific physical or mental health conditions due to epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, AIDS, psychiatric diagnoses, etc. Students who are temporarily disabled are also eligible for support and assistance.

Any student who is enrolled at Colorado State University and who self-identifies with SDC as having a disability or chronic health condition is eligible for support from SDC. Specific accommodations are determined individually for each student and must be supported by appropriate documentation and/or evaluation of needs consistent with a particular type of disability or health condition. SDC reserves the right to ask for any appropriate documentation of disability in order to determine a student’s eligibility for accommodations as well as in support for specific accommodations requests. The accommodations process begins once a student meets with an SDC accommodations specialist.

Services Offered

Support services fall into three categories: accommodations, awareness, and advocacy. These three services areas relate to and complement one another to help lessen the negative effects that limitations or disabilities may have on students in an academic environment. Accommodations are designed to give students access to the programs offered by Colorado State University. Awareness activities are related to improving the climate on campus for students with disabilities. Advocacy efforts are to ensure the needs of students with disabilities or chronic health conditions are addressed both in individual situations as well as in policies and procedures of the University.

History

In response to the requirements of Section 504, in the fall of 1977 the department of Student Relations became responsible for compliance with the University’s federal obligations regarding student needs. A 9-month coordinator was hired to manage the implementation and provision of auxiliary aids and academic adjustment required to provide equal access to qualified students with disabilities. At the same time, the first phase of the physical barrier removal was implemented on campus: creating curb cuts, ramps, and the installation of elevators and automatic door openers.

In the Fall of 1979, the various functions of the Student Relations office were decentralized into distinct departments. Resources for Disabled Students was established as one of these new departments, to be staffed by a director, a staff assistant for clerical support, and two work study students. The previous coordinator had left the institution as this transformation took place and a search was conducted for a new director who was hired in January of 1980. From the information available at the time, 178 students self-identified as having a disability.

RDS first shared office space/location with Women’s Programs (112 Student Services). The reception area was shared within the complex. Both directors had separate private offices and each program also had a room used by student staff and/or a separate library. In 1987, RDS hired a part-time, non-student hourly sign language interpreter who also provided administrative support when not in class interpreting.

In 1989, RDS moved to slightly larger space (116 Student Services), gaining a reception area as well as additional room for a growing student staff. Student-user activity also increased. Self-identified students with disabilities averaged 285 per semester and more students were requesting alternative testing as an accommodation. Although extra space was acquired with the move, due to space constraints, other space throughout the building was utilized for alternative testing, including empty offices as well as quiet hallways.

By Fall of 1994, self-identified students with disabilities had increased to 615. In response to the increasing student-user population, in 1990, a counselor position was added which also oversaw the responsibilities for Alternative Testing Services. A half-time position had also been created to respond to the needs of student-users using alternative (taped) text and at least two sign language interpreters had been hired (all non-student hourly). Student staff increased from five to approximately 10 to 13 per semester.

In 1995, RDS moved to a new location (100 General Services). With more than 200 students using Alternative Testing Services, the coordination of these services was no longer viable through the counselor position. Therefore, a ¾ time coordinator position was created in 1996. The coordinator of alternative text remained a part-time non-student hourly position.

The gains in moving were a larger reception area, private offices for the director, counselor, staff assistant, and for Interpreting Services as well as a room that provided work space for the coordinators of alternative text and alternative testing services. In addition, one room served as a general testing area and two additional smaller rooms located down the hall from the main office provided private testing space. Student staff increased to approximately 13 to 15 per semester to provide support for the implementation of services. The population of self-identified students with disabilities continued to average 600 per semester.

Approximately one year after the CSU flood of 1997, RDS also gained a separate testing area in conjunction with a remodeling project for the Learning Assistance Center. This provided a private office for the coordinator of alternative testing as well as an additional 4 rooms for individual student testing needs.

In Fall 1999, the (shared) part-time non-student hourly position of coordinator of interpreting services was converted to full-time, salaried position. This new position also helped to respond more effectively to specific demands created by two deaf students enrolled in the Veterinary Medicine program.

Due to the departure of the coordinator for alternative testing services in 2000 and in response to increased demands of student-users for alternative text services, both coordinator positions were converted to full-time salaried positions and a search for two coordinators was successfully conducted in 2001.

By 2002, the self-identified student population reached approximately 700. By 2008, the self-identified population of students with disabilities known by RDS ranged from 750 to 900, with one half to three-fourths receiving at least one unit of service per semester.  Space changes and additions have included a remodeled area devoted to alternative text services (2005) and 4 testing rooms gained when the Learning Assistance Program moved (2007).

In 2009, the professional staff included the director, administrative assistant, two counselors, three coordinators of services and one staff interpreter. Approximately 20 students were employed as staff during the academic year and 10 to 12 free-lance sign language interpreters were employed for interpreting throughout the campus. The number of students who self-identify as having a disability was slightly over 1000.

By 2010, the number of students with disabilities had reached over 1300. Student staff had increased to 29.  Soon thereafter, the title of the counselors changed to accommodations specialist and one more was added.  As of 2017, the number of students who self-identify as, or who are suspected of, having a disability or chronic physical or mental health condition has reached well over 2300.

In the fall of 2018, the office underwent several changes. The name of the office was changed from Resources for Disabled Students, to the Student Disability Center. The office also moved to a new location in the TILT building. In addition due to an increase in student fees the office was given funding to hire two new positions, a full-time office manager/receptionist, and another assistant director to help support and oversee the accommodations specialists.

Leadership – Kathy Sisneros, Ed.D

Kathy has served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at CSU since fall 2015. She oversees the Student Diversity Programs and Services that comprise four cultural and three resource centers. Kathy oversees institutional support efforts for undocumented students and transgender, non-binary students, as well as efforts to educate students on free speech and the first amendment. She also works closely with the President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee and the Race, Bias and Equity Initiative, and other diversity, inclusion and equity efforts related to students experiences on campus.

Kathy has a long-standing commitment to working with and advocating for historically minoritized student groups at the college level. Her career in student affairs has been dedicated specifically to diversity and social justice, and seeking ways to create equity for the University’s minoritized students on campus.

Kathy grew up in northern New Mexico and still considers it “home.”  She identifies as a Mexican- American, cisgender lesbian raised in a working class family, and is a first-generation college student. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Eastern New Mexico University, her master’s degree in Counseling at Northern Arizona University and her doctorate in Educational Policy, Research, and Administration at UMass Amherst.

Kathy is married to Laura Giles and they love spending time with their young hound dog.

Organizational Chart for the Student Disability Center

Institution & Location

INSTITUTION: AN OVERVIEW

Institutional Background/History

Colorado State University’s roots go back to 1870, when the institution was founded as the Agricultural College of Colorado. The school first opened its doors to students in 1879 with President Elijah Edwards and two faculty members. From these humble origins, a world-class institution grew. Today, Colorado State University has nearly 27,000 undergraduate students, is a Carnegie Class I research institution with annual research expenditures topping $330 million. The University has approximately 1,550 faculty in eight colleges and 55 academic departments and boasts more than 170,000 living alumni. Included in this list are everyone from state governors, heads of corporations, Olympic gold medalists, teachers, researchers, artists, and many other leaders in society.

The Colorado State University System is comprised of three campuses with very distinct roles and missions. CSU in Fort Collins, its flagship, was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, six years before the Colorado Territory became a state.

Colorado State University’s first main building, Old Main, was built in 1878.

On July 1, 1985, the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System (then the State Board of Agriculture) created a higher education system incorporating Colorado State University, Fort Lewis College, and the University of Southern Colorado. The board designed the new Colorado State University System (CSUS) to assist the institutions in accomplishing their objectives and to provide staff support to the board.

In 2002, Fort Lewis became a separate entity reducing the CSU System to two institutions, Colorado State University and the University of Southern Colorado. By statute enacted in 2002, the latter institution’s name was changed to Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo), effective July 1, 2003.

In 2007, the Board supported the creation of a new online university, CSU Global. The new entity provides non-traditional students – a significant population currently underserved – access to a quality public education with the goal of earning a degree.

About Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins is a municipality in northern Colorado, which serves as the seat of Larimer County. Situated on the Cache La Poudre River along the Colorado Front Range, Fort Collins is located 56 miles north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. With a 2018 estimated population of 167,830, it is the fourth most populous city in Colorado after Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora. Fort Collins is a midsize college city, home to Colorado State University and Front Range Community College’s Larimer campus.

This Land Holds Memories

By Doreen Martinez, Ph.D., and Lindsey Schneider, Ph.D.

Where the prairie converges with the plains, the foothills watch. They have long been the relatives of these lands and witnesses to all adventures, explorations, and settlings. The plains and prairie have also long been partners in this space; they are the original innovators, the knowers and teachers. The foothills remain present as protectors of those west winds and incubators of the snow and rain that feed these spaces, peoples, and purposes.

Our sense of this place, our sense of this land, is beckoned through this convergence and their ancestral traditions. Waters flow in snake rivers, are cradled in valleys where corn and long grasses, such as Indian ricegrass and needlegrass, grew and grow, dozens of flowers,  including prickly poppy, yucca, rabbitbrush, and prairie sunflowers, bloom and nestle; these are the homes for the bison,  pronghorn, and deer, as well as swift fox, burrowing owls, and  golden eagles.

These lands, siblings of the Rockies, hold many lessons and ways of being. The clay still holds knowledge and footprints of beings, events, and experiences. It, the clay, waits for new stories and new understandings. Communities were here over 12,000 years ago; those were the times of the mammoth. And, although they are often called the Paleo-Indians, they were here: relatives, ancestors of societies and knowers of land, sensors of place, and practitioners of purpose.

What is now Larimer County, and the lands from which Colorado State University was born, come from these histories, from this place, these knowers that are thousands and thousands of years old. Let us also recall some of those who were here before and adjacent to CSU’s birth: the Apache, the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Pueblo, the Shoshone, and the Ute are named by the Colorado Department of Education to be those earlier neighbors, residents, and citizens.

As we also know, in the time period we recognize peoples historically, they were the original inhabitants, the interspecies kinship knowers, the original land-grant stewards. Furthermore, the Comanche, the Kiowa, and the Navajo/Diné, were frequent travelers, regular knowledge gatherers, and recurring residents, as well as the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota and the Pawnee. All these nations, tribes, and peoples have walked, laughed, and learned in these lands. Some of us can still sense their presence as their stride walks within us, their laughter continues to feed us, their knowledge is still teaching us; and we, their relatives, still call this place home.

Most historical records of CSU, Fort Collins, Larimer County, and the United States suggest that history began with the arrival of white/European settlers, the structures they built, the religion they practiced, and the economic endeavors they undertook. Only certain people, certain cultural formations, are positioned as the agents of history and thus, they wield the tools to capture, create, and acknowledge historical records. Indigenous people, when we are mentioned in such histories, are too often portrayed as obstacles to the inevitable march of progress. In such accounts we exist as mere historical precursors to the stars and stripes of democracy an era of improvement manifested in land-grant institutions. While this may be typically accepted and understood as truth, we seek through ethical and educational obligations to enhance our sense of place, this place, and our histories. We must teach the fallacies, inaccuracies, and continued legacies of this singular history, this one-dimensional knowing of land, chronicle of memoirs, and erasure of life.

CSU’s 150th anniversary is a cause for celebration; yet, it is also a critical opportunity to reflect upon the dire cost paid by the original people of this place and these lands. We must call to, recognize, and require the University’s ongoing obligations to that legacy and to the Indigenous community today. For we do know the original peoples of this area cultivated a profound sense of place, and a wealth of history,  traditions, and lifeways for thousands of years through the learning that came from, on, and through the land, water, and all the inhabitants.

In recognition of place, histories, and our relationships, there needs to be acknowledgment of the more dynamic realities of people, nations, education, and sociopolitical demands and desires as well as the writings, the recordings of truth of these histories. All of the past living and learning on what is now CSU’s campus are what give it its presence and sense of place today including what and who existed prior to those 150 years.

The removal of tribal nations and erasure of this original sense of place within these lands was neither an inevitable result of Westward Expansion nor was it simply an unfortunate, if violent, phase in history. It was the intentional work of national policies and the enforcers of edicts and dictates, including Colorado Gov. Frederick Pitkin, who held the state’s top office from 1879 to 1883 and ran on a campaign of forcible Ute removal and extermination. And yet today, Pitkin Street is one of the main campus thoroughfares. Pitkin’s violent legacy is only one example of the erased histories we are obliged to uncover and name, since such truth is fundamental to the University’s nature. Otherwise, the ongoing erasure of Native American and Indigenous presences goes unnamed, their/our lifeways positioned as antithetical to growth, evolution, and,  ironically, freedom. Practices such as street and building naming glorify and historicize, once again, those responsible for that initial removal under the auspices of progress and triumph of knowledge advancement. Celebrations of history can serve to re-story familiar and beloved places as having been established on a blank slate, rather than located on stolen territories through violent, forceful, and vicious means.

In an effort to begin to challenge that erasure and to recognize the original stewards, knowers, and protectors of this place, CSU has recently adopted a land acknowledgment process. It aims to recognize that these lands CSU now occupies, and thus CSU’s founding, came at a grave cost to the nations and peoples who were (and are) here. The acknowledgment affirms the ongoing ties Native nations and peoples have to this space. As a land-grant institution, CSU has an obligation to rewrite and more fully understand our sense of place.

Mission, Values, and Guiding Principles

Mission

Inspired by its land-grant heritage, Colorado State University is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service, and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States, and the world.

CSU has further adopted the following values:

Values

  • Be accountable
  • Promote civic responsibility
  • Employ a customer focus
  • Promote freedom of expression
  • Demonstrate inclusiveness and diversity
  • Encourage and reward innovation
  • Act with integrity and mutual respect
  • Provide opportunity and access
  • Support excellence in teaching and research

Guiding Principles

CSU is a community dedicated to higher learning in which all members share in pursuit of knowledge, development of students, and protection of essential conditions conducive for learning. These protections are presented in the form of university policies, applicable federal and state laws, and statements of fundamental rights and responsibilities, which govern both the academic setting and the university community as a whole. Some of the policies and expectations are among those most relevant to students, faculty, and staff; others are focused specifically on the student population but are not intended to serve as an exhaustive list of all policies that pertain to students or life on campus. A complete guide to CSU policies is available online through the Office of Policy and Compliance.

CSU expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony with the educational goals of the institution; to observe national, state, and local laws and University regulations; and to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Principles of academic honesty, respect for diversity, and pursuit of lifestyles free of alcohol and drug abuse are examples of these standards. Students are not only members of the academic community; they are, additionally, members of the larger society and thus retain the rights, protection guarantees, and responsibilities which are held by all citizens.

Commitment to Diversity

CSU has a unique mission in the State of Colorado. As a land grant university we are committed to a foundational principle of inclusive excellence recognizing that our institutional success depends on how well we welcome, value, and affirm all members of the CSU community. Only through the inclusion of the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni can we truly be excellent in our pursuits.

Our inclusive excellence efforts hinge on four key ideas:

Broad and inclusive definition of diversity.

We recognize that to truly be inclusive we must draw attention to the depth and breadth of the diversity represented at CSU. Our definition includes age, culture, different ideas and perspectives, disability, ethnicity, first generation status, familial status, gender identity and expression, geographic background, marital status, national origin, race, religious and spiritual beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. We also recognize that the historical exclusion and marginalization of specific social groups must be addressed to promote equity.

Inclusiveness and excellence are interdependent.

We recognize that to continue to stay current in the global marketplace and stay relevant in an increasingly diverse world, we must embody inclusion. To practice inclusiveness is excellence.

Everyone is responsible for inclusive excellence.

All members of the campus community (administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni) must recognize and assume responsibility for the climate of the university. A unit or person can drive the process, but every individual at CSU assumes responsibility for positive change.

Inclusive excellence goes beyond numbers.

Historically, diversity has been gauged by demographics or numbers; we must move beyond solely numbers toward an inclusive community that embeds diversity throughout the institution in multiple areas including demographics, policies, and communications; curriculum, pedagogy, and student learning; recruitment, hiring and retention, evaluation and supervision.

Achieving inclusive excellence is a long-term commitment and must have a comprehensive broad approach, embedding appreciation of all members and inclusion best practices into the very fabric of CSU’s organizational culture.

Leadership

Joyce McConnell – President

As the first woman president in CSU’s long history, Joyce McConnell is proud to lead one of our nation’s best land grant universities and equally proud to embody the progress that CSU has made in embracing and celebrating the diversity of its campus community. In her September Fall Address to the campus community, McConnell announced a Race, Bias, and Equity Initiative to directly address the challenges that CSU is facing today. In keeping with her action-oriented leadership style, work on that initiative is well underway.

McConnell is particularly excited about the timing of her appointment, since it means she joins in the celebration of CSU’s 150th birthday throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. As she explains it, “Hearing about the wonderful plans for the coming year demonstrated to me that everyone in the CSU community takes our world-class education, research and land grant mission seriously. Celebrating 150 years means looking back at a century and a half of service to the state of Colorado and at a simultaneous, sustained commitment to both access and excellence in education. I am thrilled to join the campus community in exploring how far we’ve come—and deciding together where we want to go next!”

Prior to stepping into the presidency at CSU, McConnell spent more than 20 years at another flagship, R1 land grant institution, West Virginia University. She joined the faculty of the WVU College of Law in 1995 and held progressive leadership positions thereafter. She was appointed dean of the College in 2008 and immediately fundraised for a $36 million renovation and expansion of the College building. She also expanded the College’s interdisciplinary opportunities and implemented state of the art experiential and clinical programs and facilities.

McConnell was named provost of West Virginia University by President Gordon Gee in 2014. In this role, she galvanized innovation and entrepreneurship at WVU with her creation of the university-wide WVU Idea Hub. Committed to the power of interdisciplinary education and research, she fostered the expansion of WVU’s Energy Institute, ADVANCE Center and Center for Excellence in STEM Education. To elevate connections among disciplines critical to analytical thinking, problem-solving, and understanding the human condition, she established a Humanities Center. And as an expression of her long-held commitment to diversity and inclusion and its relationship to faculty and student success, she created the university’s LGBTQ+ Center and focused the campus on the success of all students.

During a period of significant transition for West Virginia University, economic crisis in the state of West Virginia, soul-searching across higher education and political and cultural upheaval for our nation, McConnell publicly committed to the principles that guide her leadership. She led WVU to completely rethink their approach to Title IX, with the result that the university is now a national leader in proactive Title IX initiatives on campus. And she consistently spoke to and for the faculty of WVU on such thorny and critical topics as free speech and diversity.

In addition to being passionately committed to the mission and success of land grant institutions, McConnell is an advocate for equity in education and the workplace, as well as an advocate for the preservation and protection of our environment. She is a past President of three sections of the Associations of American Law Schools: the sections on the Dean, on natural resources and energy law, and on women in legal education. She has served on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Committee on Infractions and is a member of the Board of Governors for Antero Resources. From 2016-2019, McConnell also chaired the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia, embodying her long-standing commitment to the TNC mission of creating a world where people and nature can thrive.

In 2014, McConnell was named the 2014 Public Servant of the Year by the West Virginia Association for Justice and awarded the Special Places Award by West Virginia Land Trust in 2010. She earned an undergraduate degree from Evergreen State College, a law degree from Antioch School of Law, and a master of laws from Georgetown University Law Center.

Married for 36 years to fellow lawyer Vince Trivelli, her best friend and “partner in adventure,” McConnell savors a variety of adventures in her down time, from visiting daughter Alexandra in New York City to reading, cooking, hiking, and listening to music. She finds both inspiration and relaxation in natural beauty and looks forward to—as she puts it—“exploring all of this beautiful mountain state. I consider all of Colorado CSU’s campus and I want to learn it by heart.”

Academic Programs and Faculty

All paths lead to Fort Collins. Whatever your next step, Colorado State has a program for you.

Some universities concentrate on academic ratings and numbers. At Colorado State, we concentrate on student experience. That means letting go of titles and structure and embracing an academic community that provides opportunity beyond your direct specialization.

Forge your path to success, learn more about your prospective department, degrees and certificates offered, and next steps to becoming a graduate student at Colorado State University.

Not everyone has the time or opportunity to continue their education on a campus. People have jobs, families, and obligations. Some people simply don’t live close enough to a college or university to attend classes in person.

CSU provides accredited degrees, certificates, and professional development online, so you can learn on your schedule, progress in your career, and achieve your goals.

The Office of the Vice President for Research enables the University, its faculty, staff and students to emerge as a world-class research institution.

CSU has 1,882 faculty members, with 1,091 on tenure-track appointments.

There are currently 17 University Distinguished Professors and 12 University Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

99% of tenure-track faculty have terminal degrees.

#3 Veterinary Medicine ranking.

The Student Body

18:1 student-faculty ratio

19 learning communities

2 0ut of 3 students graduate

1,479: largest number of degrees awarded, liberal arts

74 undergraduate fields of study at CSU

33,413 total students

23% racially diverse (domestic)

Organizational Chart for Administration

Benefits Overview

As an employee of Colorado State University, you have the following benefits, among others, available to you:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Accidental death & dismemberment insurance
  • Long term care insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Health savings account
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long term care insurance
  • Academic privileges
  • Employee assistance program
  • Leave benefits

http://www.hrs.colostate.edu/benefits/fap-insplans.html

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at hjl@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Colorado State University website at www.colostate.edu

Colorado State University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all Federal and Colorado State laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action.