Clear vision plays a catalytic role in the educational sector. Visionary educational leaders inspire and influence students to harness their strengths and skills. They also help develop a vision for the educational institutions and support the staff in accomplishing it. They always possess a clear picture of what they seek for their institutions and students. They help paint an influential environment for students to seek innovative and creative academic goals.
Emphasizing the necessity of upholding a clear vision in the current generation, Dr. Timothy Mottet (President at Colorado State University Pueblo) has helped develop a bold vision for the university and has propelled it to the heights of success. As a higher education leader, Dr. Mottet is recognized for designing innovative learning systems which enable students to achieve success.
Saga of Pursuing Meaningful Career
Dr. Mottet’s journey commenced with a decade-long career in the airline industry. He was an operations manager and opened and managed flight attendant domiciles. Although Dr. Mottet was very fond of his career, it reached a turning point when he was asked by a fellow friend whether his work was still meaningful.
Within a few months, he left a lucrative career and enrolled in graduate school at Boston University, and funded a part of his education through a graduate teaching assistantship. After a day of teaching, Dr. Mottet realized that he would become a professor. Currently, he is the 15th president of Colorado State University Pueblo.
Serving Community and Responding to Needs
Colorado State University Pueblo has a long history of serving the community and responding to the growing needs of higher education in its region. The university was established in 1933 and officially became a four-year university in 1975. It was officially named ‘Colorado State University Pueblo’ in 2003.
Throughout its journey, CSU Pueblo has evolved into an innovative and responsive regional public university. It offers 26 baccalaureate and six master’s degree programs. This year it launched its first doctoral program in Nursing. The university serves nearly 4,000 students from various states and countries. Over the past 75 years, CSU has graduated more than 40,000 students from around the world.
Experiential Learning Model
The university has for a long time, emphasized experiential learning and work-related components as an important element of its educational strategy. The work-related components include several benefactors such as internships and practicums which immerses students in external real-life experiences. Moreover, it also includes practical, capstone, and research projects inspired by industry needs and students’ future careers.
Students are exposed to experts from the field through seminars, guest lectures, company visits, and utilizes practitioners from respective fields as faculty members. CSU Pueblo’s programs offer a rich experience that better prepares students for work. The university strives to continue enhancing the work-related components as a way to get students ready for the rapidly changing industrial landscape.
A Visionary Leader
Being at the helm of the university, Dr. Mottet is entrusted with several roles and responsibilities. He provides a clear direction for the university and helps remove obstacles. He also provides necessary resources and helps students inspire and recognize opportunities.
At every institution where Dr. Mottet has served, he has invested tremendous efforts to keep the focus on student learning. He believes, “The focus makes all the difference.” Dr. Mottet has always worked to develop policies, processes, and practices which are compatible with student learning. He has a record of success in developing high-performing educators, aligning people and processes to enhance organizational sustainability, facilitating and implementing strategic planning processes, and building consensus among a diverse group of individuals.
Dr. Mottet has vast experience in undertaking higher executive roles at various educational institutes. In his tenure as a dean, he planned and opened new performing arts centers, including raising building funds, managing donor relations, staffing new positions, and many more. As a department chair, he helped reduce advising errors by implementing a new advising program and creating and staffing a new Office of Undergraduate Advising.
Rewarding Academic Experience
Dr. Mottet’s profuse experience and extraordinary vision have earned CSU Pueblo several accolades and recognition. CSU Pueblo is the first university in the state of Colorado and one of the first in the US to attain a net-zero electricity efficiency with renewable energy on a 23-acre solar array. The university has been nationally recognized for its COVID-19 management and has been profiled in Forbes magazine. It has also earned immense recognition for launching a unique set of student experiential learning opportunities that will differentiate the university amidst the crowded higher education marketplace and maps it to being a Hispanic Serving Institution.
While Provost at Northwest Missouri State University, prior to his presidency at CSU Pueblo, Dr. Mottet helped the university achieve several remarkable achievements. These include
• Maintained enrollment growth despite a 2.6% decline in college enrollments throughout the Midwest, increased domestic underrepresented students by 14%, and increased international student enrollments by 23% over two years;
• Received the 2017 Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers Award from the Center for Digital Education; and
• Facilitated design, development, and opening of an Innovation Campus initiative committed to reducing cost and time to degree through an educational consortium.
Evaluating Strengths amidst Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on the education sector—especially on the functioning of several universities and colleges. It caused a punctuated evolution on CSU Pueblo’s campus in terms of course modalities and the professional development of the university’s faculty.
CSU Pueblo’s initiative of enabling most of its courses online or delivering them using a blended modality allowed the university to better meet the students’ needs. Remarking on CSU Pueblo’s pandemic management, Dr. Mottet asserts, “We need to carefully monitor remote learning to ensure we have the right learning and support systems in place to ensure student success.”
Dr. Mottet is recognized as a distinguished education leader with a pristine vision for academics and education. His vision has helped change the dynamics of CSU Pueblo. His visionary leadership has also contributed to the reformation of curriculum and academic services at the university. He asserts that he would ensure all employees in higher education have a more thorough understanding of learning and how to teach and develop various ways which are more compatible with how students process information. Dr. Mottet remarks that the current generation leaders must possess a clear vision for their respective universities with a relentless determination and discipline to ensure that it comes to fruition. Senior leaders need to recruit, invest, develop, and retain a leadership team composed of talented individuals who can drive results while cultivating meaningful relationships. “It’s easy for learning to get lost if we don’t continuously remind people that we are learning organizations,” mentions Dr. Mottet.
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