Bruce Gifford the acting dean of student services and enrollment management will be retiring after this semester, on May 13.
After enjoying his work at Colorado State University Pueblo since 2011, Gifford has had many fond memories and experiences under his belt while helping students. One of the fond memories was how he helped bring the Village Walking Sticks Apartments to full occupancy.
“There were a lot of hands on activities associated with the job, replacing stoves and dish washers in the apartments for example, quite different from anything I had done previously in higher education,” Gifford said.
Before joining the CSU-Pueblo staff Gifford had many years of experience working on other college campuses in Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska along with Pueblo Community College. He was planning on retiring last June, but postponed his plans to give CSU-Pueblo one more year of much needed service.
During his time spent here, Gifford had many challenges that he had to overcome as the acting dean of student services. One of the greatest of these challenges was the budget cut to funding for the Students Services and Enrollment Management department by approximately $1 million.
“We have had to scramble, and people had to take on additional responsibilities to cover those areas impacted,” Gifford said. “I think we have done a pretty good job so far of filling in without negatively impacting service to students, but we cannot continue without some help.”
Gifford added that the person replacing him is going to have challenges ahead for them as well. Fall 2013 is looking like it is going to have even more new students than there were this year and the country continues to have a decline in enrollment numbers.
“The challenge will be sustaining growth in a period of decline. The good news for my replacement is there are very good people working on this at CSU-Pueblo. My advice would be to provide support they need and then get out of their way and let them do their jobs,” Gifford said.
Gifford has high hopes for the future of CSU-Pueblo although there are going to be budget cuts in many departments.
“We have to keep the university affordable,” Gifford said. “The president is committed to no tuition increase next year which is good news for students, but will mean more belt tightening for faculty and staff.”
Gifford suggested that the university find a way to offer more night classes as another source of revenue along with more on line classes. He believes this would work to the university’s favor and would help struggling students that work full time during the day earn their degrees.
“I think we have an opportunity in offering more classes on line or in a hybrid format where some of the class is on line and some in the classroom,” Gifford said.
As for the retirement life, Gifford said that he is looking forward to spending a lot of it on the golf course with his wife as his partner. They both plan on taking trips to see grandchildren in Alaska and in Baltimore.
“This June, my wife and I will take a road trip up the West Coast to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I am really looking forward to that trip,” Gifford said.
After some relaxation on the beaches of Hawaii, Gifford plans to stay involved with activities on the CSU-Pueblo campus.