Fort Lewis College
|Type||Public liberal arts college for undergraduates|
|President||Dene Kay Thomas|
|Location||Durango, Colorado, U.S.
|Colors||Dark blue, Light blue, Gold
|Athletics||NCAA Division II – RMAC|
|Sports||Varsity, club, and intramural|
|Mascot||Skyler the Skyhawk|
|Affiliations||Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
FLC is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with additional program-level accreditations in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, and Marketing; Athletic Training; Chemistry; Engineering Physics; Music; and Teacher Education. The college offers 30 bachelor's degrees through its four academic units.
Because of its unique origins as a military fort turned Indian boarding school turned state public school, Fort Lewis College also follows a 1911 mandate to provide a tuition-free education for qualified Native Americans. Fort Lewis College awards approximately 16 percent of the baccalaureate degrees earned by Native American students in the nation. In 2008, FLC was designated as one of six Native American-serving, non-tribal colleges by the U.S. Department of Education.
The first Fort Lewis army post was constructed in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, in 1878, and was relocated in 1880 to Hesperus, Colorado, on the southern slopes of the La Plata Mountains. In 1891, Fort Lewis was decommissioned and converted into a federal, off-reservation Indian boarding school.
In 1911, the fort's property and buildings in Hesperus were transferred to the state of Colorado to establish an "agricultural and mechanic arts high school." That deed came with two conditions: that the land would be used for an educational institution, and “to be maintained as an institution of learning to which Indian students will be admitted free of tuition and on an equality with white students” in perpetuity (Act of 61st Congress, 1911). Both conditions have been the missions and guides for the Fort Lewis school's various incarnations over the past century.
In the 1930s, the Fort Lewis high school expanded into a two-year college, and in 1948 became Fort Lewis A&M College, under control of State Board of Agriculture. The "Aggies" studying at the Fort Lewis Branch of the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanics could choose from courses including agriculture, forestry, engineering, veterinary science, and home economics.
Fort Lewis College underwent another period of growth and changes starting in 1956, when the college moved from its long-time home in Hesperus to its present location, 18 miles east, atop what was then known as Reservoir Hill, overlooking Durango. Here, FLC became a four-year institution, awarding its first baccalaureate degrees in 1964.
Also in 1964, the college dropped the "A&M" moniker. At that time, the new Fort Lewis College also changed its mascot from "Aggies" to the "Raiders," and changed the school's colors from the green and yellow of the Colorado State University system it had been affiliated with to the blue and gold it still sports today.
In recent history: In 1994, the college's mascot became the Skyhawks, retaining the blue and gold. In 1995, Fort Lewis College joined the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, and in 2002, the College became independent of the Colorado State University system, and formed its own governing Board of Trustees.
The 247-acre Fort Lewis College campus is in southwestern Colorado is situated at 6,872 feet atop a mesa overlooking the Animas River Valley and downtown Durango. A network of trails as well as city bus service (free to students with FLC IDs) connects the campus and town.
The campus' distinctive architectural theme utilizes locally quarried sandstone to acknowledge the region's Native puebloan building style and evoke the Four Corners landscape and colors. The style was crafted by prominent Boulder architect James M. Hunter, who was contracted to establish a campus building plan by the college in the late 1950s, following the college's move from Hesperus, Colorado, to its Durango location.
Today, on-campus housing is in six residence halls and two apartment buildings, with singles, doubles, and suites. Also on campus are 14 academic buildings, as well as a Student Life Center, Aquatic Center, and Student Union. On-campus athletic facilities include Ray Dennison Memorial Field, Dirks Field, the Softball Complex, Whalen Gymnasium, and the Factory Trails, an off-road bicycling race course.
The new Student Union opened in Fall 2011, and now hosts the college's cultural centers, the Native American Center and El Centro de Muchos Colores, as well as student government, the Environmental Center, the post office, and the bookstore. The new Student Union also offers several dining options, and houses both a Leadership Center and a Media Center that includes the college's news magazine, literary journal, and KDUR radio station.
The Student Union building was awarded LEED Gold status in August by the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainability features. It is the third LEED Gold building on campus, along with the Berndt Hall Biology Wing and the residential Animas Hall. Those environmental awards helped FLC be named one of "America's Coolest Schools" by Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, in 2011.
Other notable on-campus facilities include:
- Art Gallery
- The Art Building's Art Gallery brings local, regional, and national exhibitions to the campus, providing students both a research tool and a venue for public exposure for their own creations.
- Center of Southwest Studies
- Completed in 2001, the shapes and stonework of the Center of Southwest Studies complex reflect the ancestral puebloan structures found throughout the Four Corners. The Center is home to the Anthropology and Native American & Indigenous Studies programs, and the Delaney Southwest Research Library. The Exhibit Gallery also features a solstice window that focuses the first rays of the summer solstice sun, casting a spiral image on the gallery wall.
- Community Concert Hall
- One of the largest live-performance venues in the region, the 600-seat Community Concert Hall hosts local, regional, and national music, comedy, drama, lecture, and dance acts in an intimate setting. The Concert Hall lobby also features more than a dozen Southwestern landscape paintings by Stanton Englehart, a founding faculty member of the FLC Art Department renowned for capturing the beauty and mystery of the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau.
- John F. Reed Memorial Library
- Opened in 1967, stone used in the construction of the Library was quarried just three miles from campus. With a study area facing a large wall of windows offering views to the La Plata and San Juan mountains, Reed Library is one of the most popular study spots on campus.
- Mainstage Theatre
- Home to frequent faculty-directed shows, student productions, and class projects, the Theatre Building's Mainstage Theatre has been the center for campus drama and performing arts for more than 50 years.
- McPherson Chapel
- Built in 1958 as part of the original Durango campus, this stone chapel's construction was funded entirely with donations. The large windows allow for a stunning view of sunsets behind the Animas River Valley and La Plata Mountains. The Chapel provides a non-denominational place of meditation, and is also a popular wedding site.
Campus and the community
The college offers a number of non-academic programs that reach out to the Durango and Four Corners communities:
- The Fort Lewis College Office of Community Services assists local communities, students, and faculty to improve academic, social, economic, and the ecological well-being of the Four Corners region.
- Fort Lewis College's Community Concert Hall, Center of Southwest Studies, Roshong Recital Hall, Art Gallery, Student Union Ballroom, and Mainstage Theatre host concerts, recitals, performances, exhibits, plays, speakers, and films open to entire community.
- Many faculty in the Music Department are active in Durango performing arts ensembles, including the Durango Choral Society, the San Juan Symphony, and several chamber ensembles and pop bands.
- KDUR Community Radio provides a bridge between the college and La Plata County with music, public affairs, and alternative news programming. The station provides educational, training, and on-air opportunities for both students and community members.
- The Common Reading Experience hosts forums, discussions, and lectures related to each year's CRE book, both on campus and in Durango, bringing together both groups for shared exploration of important issues.
- The Small Business Development Center provides workshops and advising for small and independently owned businesses in the region.
Fort Lewis College is divided into four academic units, offering 30 baccalaureate degrees. Programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, the American Chemical Society, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, and the National Association of Schools of Music.
- School of Arts & Sciences
- Gender & Women’s Studies
- Liberal Studies
- Modern Languages
- Native American & Indigenous Studies
- Political Science
- School of Business Administration
- Business Administration
- Business Administration Option
- Engineering Management Option
- Finance Option
- International Business Option
- Management Option
- Tourism & Hospitality Management Option
- Business Economics
- School of Natural & Behavioral Sciences
- Adventure Education
- Athletic Training
- Environmental Studies
- Exercise Science
- Department of Teacher Education
Fort Lewis College offers a Teacher Education Licensure Program designed to enable students to qualify for a Colorado teaching license. The program makes it possible both to complete a bachelor’s degree and qualify for a teaching license within four academic years in the following disciplines:
- Early Childhood Education (Birth to 3rd grade)
- Elementary Education (grades K-6)
- Art (grades K-12)
- Music (grades K-12)
- Physical Education (grades K-12)
- Spanish (grades K-12)
- Secondary Drama (grades 7-12)
- Secondary English (grades 7-12)
- Secondary Mathematics (grades 7-12)
- Secondary Science (grades 7-12)
- Biology Option
- Chemistry Option
- Geology Option
- Physics Option
- Secondary Social Studies (grades 7-12)
- Academic success services
- Tutoring Center
- Modern Language Lab
- Algebra Alcove
- Math Assistance Center
- Writing Center
- Common Reading Experience
Through the Common Reading Experience, students, faculty, and Durango community members explore ideas together by reading and discussing the same book and the issues it highlights. Since its creation in 2006, the Common Reading Experience has examined books including Folding Paper Cranes: An Atomic Memoir; Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World; Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with his Mother; Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference; and The Heart & the Fist: The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy seal.
- Community Based Learning and Research
The Center for Civic Engagement's Community Based Learning & Research program supports faculty and students in constructing their civic-engagement learning experiences. The program oversees all course, project, and independent work to see they meet the standards of best practice as approved by campus and community reviewers.
The program also compiles a Civic Engagement Transcript students can receive after graduation. The transcript is separate from but augments the college's standard transcript by supplying an officially recognized and quantified listing of experiences in participatory community work both in and out of classes. The transcript also includes a brief description of each activity to serve as a guide for employers or institutions that later refer to the record. The transcript records five areas of civic-engagement experience and accomplishment:
- civic service
- awards and recognitions
- extracurricular creative and scholarly projects
- Engineers Without Borders
Fort Lewis College Engineers Without Borders is an all-volunteer program open to students in any major that travels to third-world countries and uses engineering skills to improve the community infrastructure in impoverished areas. Students, faculty, and community members work together during the school year prior to the trip planning their projects, then the chapter raises all of the funds needed to carry out the construction, including the price of materials.
The students, professors, and professionals in the Fort Lewis College chapter of Engineers Without Borders are part of Engineers Without Borders USA, a nationwide organization of engineering and science professionals that volunteers its skills and labor to provide necessities such as clean water, power, sanitation, and education to disadvantaged areas around the world. The group has 250 dedicated chapters, including university chapters on more than 180 campuses throughout the United States.
- Global studies
“Education for Global Citizenship” is an upper-division liberal arts requirement that incorporates discussion of globalization and civic engagement in order to develop an awareness of global relationships through a variety of critical thinking skills and topical explorations. To meet the requirement, students take two upper-division courses outside their major field.
- John F. Reed Honors Program
The John F. Reed Honors Program is for high-achieving students, bringing together co-curricular events, interaction with professionals and scholars, and in-depth research skills for interdisciplinary academic enrichment.
To acknowledge the extra effort of Honors Program's participants, at graduation qualified Honors Scholars receive special recognition at Honors convocation and earn a minor in the Rhetoric of Inquiry. Students also receive a bound copy of their Honors Thesis, a writing sample helpful for admission to graduate programs.
The STEM3 Student Success Center mentors and assists eligible students in academic success in majors related to science, technology, engineering, and math, through academic, career, financial, personal, social, and technological assistance. STEM3 is a federal TRiO program (a Student Support Services program) funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education.
The program has its own on-campus computer lab and study area, where it also provides tutoring, workshops, advising, and technological and educational resources for students. STEM3 also provides scholarships for first-generation, income-eligible, and disability-challenged students.
- Study abroad
About ten percent of Fort Lewis students study abroad each year through a variety of programs, including Innovative Months, Engineers without Borders, departmental programs, and International Student Exchange Programs, a non-profit world-wide network of more than 300 colleges and universities in 45 countries cooperating to provide affordable access to international studies.
The Fort Lewis College International Programs Office helps students plan and succeed in their study abroad experience. The office also offers a one-credit class that helps students investigate destinations and programs, and work through the steps to setting up a study-abroad experience.
- Sustainability and environmental awareness
Fort Lewis College, with its outdoor culture and mountain setting, puts a strong emphasis on environmental awareness and sustainability. To institutionalize those perspectives, the college in 2007 became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and in 2009, the President and the Board of Trustees approved a Fort Lewis College Sustainability Action Plan. Initiatives under the plan are funded by a Sustainability Initiatives Fee, an addition to the student activities fees voted in by the student body in 2008.
FLC offers several environment and/or sustainability-related majors, including Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology, and Environmental Geology. There are also classes about clean technologies, such those studying, researching, and applying green chemistry practices in the Chemistry Department. FLC's outdoor, field, and community-based programs also encompass environmental stewardship, including courses in Adventure Education, Geology, Sociology, and Anthropology.
The Environmental Center is the student nexus for environmental action on campus. Programs from the EC include the Climate Action team, SEEDS Campus Ecology Club, support for local food and the Local First campaign, the Sustainable Business team, and the Zero-Waste team.
- Undergraduate research
Undergraduate research is the principal Senior-year experience at Fort Lewis College in many disciplines, including the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Because of its emphasis on undergraduate-only education, students at Fort Lewis College have research opportunities that are often reserved for only graduate students at larger universities, with the college providing faculty mentors and grants to pay for research.
Student housing offers six residence halls and two apartment buildings, with singles, doubles, and suites.
Student engagement programs
- Registered student organizations
Students manage more than sixty clubs and organizations. The Terry R. Bacon Leadership Center is a central clearinghouse for the campus' registered student organizations, providing resources, services, and a work space. The Center also offers several workshops and programs that helps students with their personal and professional development and leadership skills.
- Outdoor pursuits
The Outdoor Pursuits program warehouses a wide variety of outdoor gear, hosts workshops and movies, and houses a resource library and a bike- and ski-tuning shop. The program also offers skill workshops and guided backpacking, biking, boating, and skiing trips for all skill levels.
- Student Union Programming
Student Union Programming disburses student fee monies and brings entertainment and educational events to campus.
- Associated Students of Fort Lewis College (ASFLC)
The Associated Students of Fort Lewis College is responsible for disbursing student fees. ASFLC represents student interest and concerns to the administration. They are given an ex-officio position on the Board of Trustees and on the President's Cabinet.
- Ballantine Media Center
The new Ballantine Media Center, in the Student Union, provides a digital media production lab and houses campus media, including KDUR radio, The Independent monthly campus news magazine, Images annual arts and literature magazine, and the Intertribal News Native American cultural website.
- Native American Center
The Native American Center offers an on-campus place to study, work, and socialize, while promoting the academic success and personal development of all Native American students through academic, cultural, social, and spiritual support.
- El Centro
El Centro de Muchos Colores, the college’s Hispano Resource Center, provides a central location for relaxing, studying, and gathering with other students of Hispanic heritage or those interested in Hispanic language and culture. It also offers tutoring and support services, as well as hosts cultural events. The center also produces La Movida, a student newspaper on issues happening in the Latino community.
- Elder in Residence program
- Fiesta on the Mesa
- Hozhoni Days Powwow
- Native American Speaker Series
- Women's History Month
The college's athletic teams, nicknamed the Skyhawks, compete in the NCAA at the Division II level as a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC); as well as the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (WILA) for women's lacrosse and a nationally ranked cyling program that competes at the Division I level of USA Collegiate Cycling.
- "Fort Lewis College (2011)". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- National Science Foundation, WebCASPAR 2009
- Smith, Duane (1991). Sacred Trust: The birth and development of Fort Lewis College. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 978-0-87081-234-7.
- Sierra "Cool Schools 2011"
- Meyer, Matt (October 6, 2012). "Mavericks modeling cycling program after Fort Lewis". Gran Junction Sentinel. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "Chris Camozzi UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014.
- Recent rankings
- Princeton Review, "Guide to Green Colleges 2011"
- Forbes, "America's Best Colleges 2011"
- U.S. News & World Report, "America’s Best Colleges 2011-2012"