2011 was a productive and exciting year!
We completed several projects, created new and expanded existing programs. These include the installation of equipment for distance delivery of education between Naturita and Telluride with the Telluride Foundation Paradox Strengthening Communities Fund, the Finding Solutions monthly education series with the Wilkinson Public Library, and we created the Sarah Silver Scholarship Fund. UCSM is now partnering with the Wilkinson Public Library and Naturita Community Library to bring the communities Talking Gourds poetry.
It has been a privilege to continue to learn and grow with the University Centers of the San Miguel (UCSM) over the past two and a half years. 2010 has been an exciting year as we have fostered and created new partnerships, leading to new educational programs, and also received a portion of the Paradox Strengthening Communities Grant through the Telluride Foundation to assist us in further developing educational opportunities in western San Miguel and Montrose Counties.
In my second year as the Executive Director of UCSM, we are focusing on specific community needs, strengthening local and college partnerships, and creating important certificates and degrees. As the economic downturn unfolded in 2009, UCSM was concerned about the availability of disposable income of the students, and moved into a very small office and cut other expenses in order to weather the storm. As the year progressed, we continued to experience strong enrollment, and new opportunities arose.
Since turning Telluride into a “college town” in 2005, the nonprofit organization, the University Centers of the San Miguel has added staff and programming each year under the direction of founder, Sarah Silver. “We are very lucky that our search attracted the attention of Robyn Wilson, who has the academic qualifications and personal commitment we sought,” stated
UCSM has increased registration by 40% since 2005. It has become a well-established community institution with popular year round courses such as Spanish Communications and Computer Applications. An increasing number of students are now starting or continuing college level courses in classrooms located throughout the San Miguel Watershed. Classes are taught by highly qualified, local faculty. As a member of the National College Access Network,