Colorado Mountain College Approves New Baccalaureate As Honored Aspen Administrator


The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees on Tuesday approved a new bachelor of science in ecosystem science and stewardship, and once state approved, the program will bring the total number of bachelor’s degrees offered at the college to six.

Students in the Ecosystem Science and Stewardship program will focus on science courses, including ecology, biology, and watershed science.

“This degree will lead to careers in conservation biology, forestry, environmental science and more,” said CMC Associate Professor Dr. Nathan Stewart. “Many public and private sector employers in our mountain communities are hiring for these high paying jobs and we are delighted to offer this degree to our students. “

An internal program development team, working with 25 external partners, have worked over the past two years to consider adding the ecosystem science and stewardship program, school officials said. The process took into consideration the needs of the community, the current academic skills of the college, and the potential for critical local and regional industry partnerships.

The Bachelor of Science in Ecosystem Science and Stewardship builds on the strengths of the college’s faculty and programming in sustainability, biology, natural resources, and geographic information systems. The program will prepare students with the skills to embark on careers that tackle solutions to the ever-growing climate change crisis, CMC officials said.

The new degree will be available for the fall semester 2022, pending approval from the state and the Higher Education Commission. The college currently offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration, education, leadership and management, nursing, and sustainability studies.

Honor the Trustee Cunniffe

The board honored limited term member Charles Cunniffe as Tuesday’s meeting was its last before the November election. He has served on the board of directors for the college representing Pitkin County since 2013.

The board and senior management recognized Cunniffe with a commemorative resolution: A Colorado flag fluttered above the Colorado State Capitol in honor and sentiments of appreciation for Cunniffe.

He has actively supported the college for many years, notably as a member of the foundation board of the CMC. He is the director of Charles Cunniffe Architects and has worked as an architect in Aspen since 1979.

“We thank Trustee Cunniffe for his many years of service on the Board,” said CMC President Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser. “His forward-thinking leadership style and passion for putting students first will be sorely missed at college. “

The Cunniffe District 1 seat will be occupied by former Snowmass Village mayor, Markey Butler, who encountered no opposition when she petitioned for the position. She will be sworn in at the December board of directors.

New MTB trails

The college board also approved the hiring of a general contractor to build a new section of mountain bike trails on the Spring Valley campus. Facilities manager Sean Nesbitt said work would begin in early October on five kilometers of new mountain bike trails on campus.

These trails will be made available to CMC students and the community and are designed to potentially host high school races. The Spring Valley campus already has nearly four miles of existing trails that have been built by local students, staff and volunteers.

Also at the meeting, the directors unanimously approved changes to board policies 1.2 and 1.4. The Trustees also gave final approval for two utility easements granted to Holy Cross Energy for the CMC Spring Valley solar project. Finally, the board of directors approved a resolution in support of the Colorado Scholarship Initiative grant.

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