Professor returns and shares story


Trish Orman took a long journey to get where she is at CSU-Pueblo. Photo courtesy of the CSU-Pueblo website.
For some professors, retiring from CSU-Pueblo doesn’t mean they are ready to say goodbye to the university.

Trish Orman shared her story of how she came to the university, retired, and eventually returned to the mass communications department.

Orman officially retired in 2010. Despite officially leaving the university, she was still an advisor and volunteer for the university’s President’s Leadership Program, a service-leadership oriented scholarship program. Orman’s retirement was short lived as she was asked to return in 2011 to teach the junior level class.

Her retirement was postponed another year when she was asked to return to the mass communications department after the loss of two professors, Jennifer Mullen, who left to become Chief of Staff to university President Lesley Di Mare, and Lauren Brengarth, who took a faculty position at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

Orman agreed to return and teach the integrated communications campaigns course, a graduation requirement for all students with an emphasis in integrated communications. Orman only teaches one mass communications course since she is still actively involved in the President’s Leadership Program.

Despite the suspension of her retirement, returning to CSU-Pueblo was not a hard decision for Orman. Orman said the real reason she returned was because, “I like the students.”

A self-described “accidental professor,” Orman did not originally go to college to become a teacher even though she came from a family with a lot of teachers.

Orman has been a trained journalist since high school, where she began writing for the school’s yearbook and newspaper. Orman said that she went to high school with well-known horror writer Stephen King, who was the editor for her high school newspaper.

After completing high school, Orman moved on to the University of New Hampshire where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in sociology. She planned on using this as a launching pad for a career in journalism. Orman later received her master’s degree in communications from the University of Northern Colorado.

In the early 70s, Orman was hired as a mass communications department assistant at the University of Southern Colorado, now CSU-Pueblo. She didn’t plan on staying in Colorado permanently. When Orman headed west after college she said she “came to Colorado with the intent of staying for a year or so,” after which she planned “to head off to California or some other exotic place.”

As a department assistant, she soon became a “Jill of all trades,” Orman said. She began doing work for CSU-Pueblo’s newspaper, radio station, and some work for the television station.

Orman shadowed the founder of CSU-Pueblo’s mass communications department, and then department chair, Rick Pavlick to learn how to be a department chair and assistant professor, she said. She eventually moved on to become the chair of mass communication department for six years.

Orman earned her doctorate from the University of Colorado in Denver 20 years after she earned her master’s degree. Her dissertation focused on female deans at different colleges and how the female footprint changes academia.