URGED welcomes Adams State University President Tandberg

Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell Adams State University President David Tandberg, middle, was the keynote speaker at the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development meeting on May 14. Tandberg spoke about the challenges and accomplishments at Adams State University in recent years and about what the university hopes to achieve this coming fall.

MONTE VISTA – Adams State University President David Tandberg was the keynote speaker during the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development meeting held at the Ski Hi Complex in Monte Vista on May 14.

Tandberg was welcomed by the organization and spoke about the current challenges and accomplishments the university has experienced in the past four years and what the institution is working on now.

“A lot has happened in the last few years, and it has actually been a really exciting time at Adams State. We’ve started off in the fall with the first increase in Undergraduate enrollments than we have had in a long time and that was really exciting. You could feel there were more students on campus and that really boosted the climate on campus,” said Tandberg.

Tandberg continued to state that the institution needed that increase with renewed energy moving forward especially in the aftermath of COVID and the effects it had on in-person learning.

“We also had a fantastic year with the state budget. We did a lot of work like we did last year with strategy and lobbying. When I started as Interim President, Governor Jared Polis came through and met with me and we spoke about what he could do to support Adams State,” he said.

Through several conversations and before being appointed the president of Adams State, Tandberg secured additional funding through the state to help with programs, rebuild the facility building and to help with support for rural community colleges beyond what the institution typically gets from state funding.

“Really the argument is that operating in rural educated areas is that it just costs more. We don’t have the economies in scale, the purchasing power, the available vendors. We have to do everything that another university does but in an environment that can be challenging. At Adams State, we also serve students that are first generation, low income. We are the only majority/minority institution in the state,” he said.

Tandberg is also working to improve infrastructure at the campus, sending out requests for bids to companies that would come in to do energy performance evaluations that would include looking at HVAC systems, new windows and doors and improvements to other areas that could potentially save the university money in the long term.

In addition, the university is working to offer incentives to new enrollment students through their new program “Adams Promise” which is a program recently launched by the university to offer free tuition and fees for families that make less than $70,000 a year.

Tandberg also spoke about the challenges the university is facing with Federal Student Aid applications and getting students to sign up.

“We have been working to get the application process streamlined and to a point where it was easier to access,” he said.

Beyond the financial and enrollment challenges, Tandberg is trying to focus on bringing students back to campus, getting them out of their dorm rooms and reminding students and staff that they should be having fun and interacting with others.

Adams State is also looking at housing options. Tandberg spoke about current conversations that are taking place regarding housing solutions for employees and teachers.

“We still have people come to apply for positions but then leave because of the price of housing or lack thereof so we are looking at options,” he said.

Tandberg finished his presentation by speaking about the university’s continued partnership with Colorado State University and its agricultural programs and the possibility of creating more programs for in-person students.