Wording change in mission statement earns lawmakers' OK


The Colorado House of Representatives on Friday, May 6, voted in favor of proposed changes in the roles and missions of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The action by the House follows approval by the Colorado Senate. The bill, SB 11-204 now goes to Gov. John Hicklenlooper for his signature.

SB 11-204 will add "research" to the UCCS statutory mission and allows CSU-Pueblo to add a limited number of graduate programs. CSU-Pueblo seeks to add a doctorate of nursing practice degree, an important component of nursing that will be recommended by 2015 in order to maintain accreditation by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

"The provisions in this bill will allow CSU-Pueblo to continue to address the health care needs of southern Colorado, specifically the shortage of health care professionals," said CSU-Pueblo Interim President Julio Leon.

Said CU Regent Kyle Hybl: "We are appreciative of the bipartisan and regional support of improving public higher education in southern Colorado."

UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said, "This change will assist UCCS in becoming more competitive for federal funds and other grant opportunities."

Graduate students are about 20 percent of the almost 9,000 students enrolled at UCCS. The university has the fourth-largest graduate enrollment in Colorado, trailing CU Denver, CU-Boulder and CSU-Fort Collins. UCCS faculty members generated $10 million in external research funding last year.

Shockley-Zalabak said she and other CU officials supported the role and mission change for CSU-Pueblo to improve health care for southern Colorado residents. The UCCS Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences already offers the doctorate of nursing practice degree in addition to master's and bachelor's degrees.

On March 25, Senate Bill 11-204 was introduced by Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Angela Giron, D-Pueblo. Morse and Giron are the bill's sponsors in the Senate. In the Colorado House of Representatives, the bill is sponsored by Keith Swerdferger, R-Pueblo; Amy Stephens, R-Colorado Springs; Mark Barker, R-Colorado Springs; Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, and Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs.

A copy of the bill is available at