COLORADO SPRINGS — Following months of saying she would soon leave the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak announced Dec. 16 her plans to retire from UCCS after 15 years at the helm and a more than 40-year association with the campus.
Moments after the conclusion of graduation ceremonies for August and December graduates, the official end of the fall semester, Shockley-Zalabak emailed faculty, staff and students advising of her plan to leave the campus effective Feb. 15. Shockley-Zalabak will return to a private consulting company and continue to conduct research and write. Quickly, CU President Bruce Benson communicated his appreciation for Shockley-Zalabak and announced Venkat Reddy, dean, College of Business and associate vice chancellor, as interim chancellor while a search is conducted.
“I am pleased the president selected Venkat,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “It was important to me that someone who knows this campus was selected to lead it while a search is conducted.”
“I value the last fifteen years of representing you as the UCCS chancellor,” Shockley-Zalabak wrote. “I value the work of all of you who have made this campus what it is today. On December 15, I informed President Benson I will be leaving the chancellor’s position and the campus on February 15, 2017. I know the future for UCCS is excellent because of your work and the wonderful students who choose to be Mountain Lions. Please accept my sincere gratitude.”
Shockley-Zalabak was named interim chancellor in October 2001. In June 2002, she was named chancellor, a more than 15-year run that is nearly double the national average of the tenure of campus leaders. While leading UCCS, she was also active in the Colorado Springs community, earning several awards including the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Women in Business Award, the 2008 Colorado Springs Business Journal Women of Influence Award, the 2013 Pikes Peak Range Riders Silver Spur Award, the S. Jerrard Smith award for contributions to the community, the American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance Business Citizen of the Year award.
During her tenure as chancellor, the accomplishments of UCCS are long and include.
- A 75 percent increase in student enrollment. In 2001, 6,851 students enrolled. In 2016, about 12,000 students enrolled. A high percentage of UCCS students are members of ethnic minority groups or the first in their families to attend college.
- Expansion of both tenure-track and instructor faculty positions as well as staff positions as UCCS began building support functions. In 2001, UCCS employed about 860 faculty and staff. UCCS now employs 1,624 including 855 faculty and 772 staff.
- Expansion of academic programs, including the Bachelor of Innovation degree family which includes the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Applied Science, and Letters Arts and Sciences. The UCCS School of Public Affairs is now individually accredited. In 2001, UCCS offered 35 bachelor’s, 17 master’s and 1 doctoral degree program. UCCS now offers 45 bachelor’s, 22 master’s, and five doctoral degree programs. New programs include inclusive elementary education, exercise science, game design and development, computer science and security, professional golf management and sports management as well as doctoral degrees in education, nursing, geropsychology, computer science, and mechanical and aerospace engineering.
- More than $300 million in new construction, including the university’s largest building, Osborne Science and Engineering and the first building dedicated to the arts, the under construction $70 million Ent Center for the Arts. The Lane Center for the Academic Health Sciences, which includes a branch campus of the CU School of Medicine, and a planned Sports Medicine and Performance Center are also located on North Nevada. The Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center and the Gallogly Events Center were also added under Shockley-Zalabak’s leadership.
- Changes in the university’s statutory mission statement to include research and graduate studies in 2011 as well as two campus wide strategic plans.
- Large increases in private support for the campus, including an $8 million endowed gift leading to the naming of the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, $10 million in gifts from Ed and Mary Osborne to support various campus programs. Intercollegiate and recreational athletic facilities received private support and were named in honor of the Gallogly family. In 2016, UCCS received $19.5 million in private support.
- Consistent “Best in the West” ratings in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ratings of regional public universities as well as “Military Friendly” ratings from veteran-directed publications.
- Stabilization and expansion of the UCCS budget. The annual UCCS budget is now $228 million and the university is one of the largest economic development drivers with an estimated $450 million annual economic impact. UCCS is responsible for the paychecks of one of every 50 people in El Paso County.
Shockley-Zalabak joined UCCS in 1975 as a part-time honorarium instructor. She quickly moved up the faculty ranks as assistant and associate professor and was named professor in 1992. She joined the campus central administration in 1994 as a special assistant to the chancellor for student success. In 1996, she was named dean of student success and in 1998 vice chancellor for student success, a position she held until being named chancellor in 2001.
As UCCS chancellor, she continued to teach and research. She is the author of nine books and more than 100 articles and productions focusing on organizational communication. Her most recent book, “Fundamentals of Organizational Communication,” was published in 2015.
In his statement, President Benson said:
“I want to thank Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak for her exemplary service to our students, our university and the state. Her distinguished career serves as a beacon for the power and promise of higher education at our university and beyond. I appreciate the passion, dedication and excellence she has displayed over her 40-year career at CU and I wish her the best in all her endeavors.”
Benson tapped Venkat Reddy to lead UCCS while a search is conducted. The search will begin in January, Benson said.
In Aug. 2014, he was promoted to associate vice chancellor for online programs in the Division of Academic Affairs while continuing to serve as dean of the College of Business.
Reddy was named dean in 2005 after serving as both interim dean and associate dean. He began at UCCS as an instructor in 1991, became an assistant professor in 1992, associate professor in 1999 and professor of finance in 2004. He directed the College of Business online, extended studies and executive MBA programs.
Reddy earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, India.
Other Top Positions Filled
During the fall semester, UCCS completed searches for three top positions.
In November, Tom Christensen, professor, Physics and Energy Science Department, and co-director of the UCCSTeach program, was selected as provost. His selection was followed by announcement of Harper Johnson, currently director of enterprise solutions, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, who will become the chief information officer and associate vice chancellor for information technology. In October, Sentwali Bakari began as vice chancellor for student success.
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest-growing universities in Colorado. The university offers 45 bachelor’s, 22 master’s and five doctoral degree programs. UCCS enrolls about 12,000 students on campus annually and another 3,300 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.