ADAMS State plans to hire an interim president who can steady the campus for the 2022-23 academic year, and then launch into a full search for a permanent president.

Board Chair Michele Lueck and Vice Chair David Tanenberg met with members of the university’s executive team on Thursday to begin working through the transition following the termination of Cheryl Lovell’s contract as president.

An interim president will need to be someone who can create bridges with the campus faculty, with the San Luis Valley community, and with Adams State’s administrative team and classified and non-classified staff, Lueck said.

The interim president also would be someone not interested in the permanent role of president but assuming the role to bring empathy and relationship-building to get Adams State through the next academic year, she said.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Kent Buchanan will serve as acting president until an interim is named, which should occur by August when the next academic year begins.

Lueck gave some context to her own struggles in working with Lovell. She said Lovell had created barriers between the board and the campus itself and gave the board “her version of reality.”

“I served on many boards, and I’ve always aspired to have a relationship with a board where we are all in this together and I never got to that feeling with Dr. Lovell,” she said.

Lovell told that her attorney is working out a settlement agreement with Adams State and the state of Colorado through the attorney general’s office.

Lueck said there was a clause in Lovell’s contract that allowed the board to terminate the contract due to there being a difference of philosophy between the board and president on the type of leadership needed at Adams State.

Lovell’s leadership style was described as “authoritarian” that failed to build trust and relationships with faculty and staff of the university.

“Lots of recovering needs to happen,” said Tanenberg, who is one of the board members Lovell courted and pushed through to an appointment from Gov. Polis.

Lueck acknowledged some concern that the makeup of the Adams State Trustees may lean too heavily from the Denver-metro area.

Later, in a statement, Luke said, “Over the past year the Board of Trustees has come to realize that the University is entering a new era requiring forward thinking leadership and strategic direction. As we move forward, we look for improvements in campus climate, increased enrollment, and student success.” 

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