Mary Nelle Axelson: Priorities include affordability, accountability
Colorado Mountain College board candidate District 2
- Occupation: retired CMC professor
- Hometown: Glenwood Springs
- Years in Colorado: 39
- Family: husband, Bob; daughters, Emma Axelson and Molly Sustad; son-in-law, Greg Sustad; grandson expected any day; dogs, Sophie and Maggie; and granddogs, Olive, Kali and Tot.
- Civic involvement: CMC Vet Tech advisory board; P.E.O. Elegant Auction and scholarship work, past president; RE-1 district committee work, parent volunteer; Glenwood Springs High School Governance Council, past chair; Frontier Historical Society, past president; and Glenwood Springs Historic Preservation Commission, past chair.
Education has been a constant in my life since kindergarten. I believe that learning brings understanding and focus. Besides … it’s fun. I have been most fortunate to live in a wonderful community and work in a meaningful job I love. In addition to teaching developmental studies, history, education and learning lab, my job experience encompasses extensive committee work both campus- and collegewide in budget, curriculum, mentoring, strategic planning and developing mission. I retired after more than 30 years as a full-time faculty member at Colorado Mountain College, and I have continued to teach, tutor and volunteer. Every board needs a diverse composition, and I bring a student-focused perspective and a knowledge of higher education that will be beneficial to the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees.
Priority No. 1: Affordability
CMC, through the incredible support of mill levies and the backing of our district counties, has offered our communities the possibility to pursue and meet goals that educate teachers, nurses, EMTs, veterinarian technicians, accountants, law enforcement and some 120 more certificates and degrees. All of these possibilities plus classes for personal growth and lifelong learning are available while living in the college district. To remain student-centered in these evolving times, CMC must continue to offer an affordable quality education. The college has been a leader in keeping students’ college costs affordable, and in my service on the Roaring Fork Campus Scholarship committee, we worked to help students with the many financial challenges that arise. CMC has long worked to offer financial assistance to students who need it, most recently with a new source, graciously backed by donors, named Fund Suenos (Dream Fund) as an option for students not eligible to receive federal financial aid. We must continue to help our diverse population gain education and strengthen our society.
Priority No. 2: Preserve quality while planning for the future
In the learning environment, CMC must strive to remain nimble to address ever evolving student goals and community workforce demands. The college’s faculty and staff must be supported to sustain and grow the programs and degrees now offered. We need to build the faculty. It is critically important for the college to attract, hire and support innovative faculty. The addition of four-year degrees at CMC has been an amazing step, and while the college must continue to be open to expanding new programs and degrees, any new areas must follow a well-constructed process of research and planning that includes input from community members, college employees and state offices.
Priority No. 3: Accountability
Through thoughtful stewardship, students, staff, faculty and programs must continue to be supported as future opportunities and challenges arise. Student-centered decisions must drive resource allocation as the college expands. With the continued demands on funding, fiscal transparency and increased communication are not only desired but necessary for continued public support in our college district. CMC has values and guiding principles that stress integrity, responsibility and accountability, and these must dominate our future direction and decisions.
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