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2011-12 FLC Featured Scholar: Gary Gianniny

October 2, 1911, was the first official day of class at the Fort Lewis School. Principal George F. Snyder wrote that 20 pupils, “nearly all of whom are good students,� had enrolled. Students had the opportunity to work off up to a third of their expenses by doing jobs around campus, including office work and cleaning the stables.




Features “Research Builds�

The 2011-12 FLC Featured Scholar is Dr. Gary Gianniny. by Mitch Davis


Colorado Graduation Rates: Where does FLC really stand? FLC ranks well against other CO institutions. by Mitch Davis


Getting Students from Convocation to Graduation

What is FLC doing to get students into a cap and gown? by Mitch Davis

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Announcements Sports


CO Regional Institution (plus CSU-Pueblo) Graduation Rates (2004 Freshman Class)

Announcements Colorado Fair Campaign Act

As we enter yet another election season, it is important to remind all FLC employees of the restrictions of Colorado’s Fair Campaign Practices Act. It is important that you understand that this is a state law that governs the use of State resources for campaigning for candidates, referenda, or initiatives. Basically, this means that College faculty and staff must adhere to the following: * The College cannot spend money or utilize any state resources, including College facilities, supplies, equipment or other assets (this includes faculty/ staff time) to urge electors to vote to support or to oppose any ballot issue (either initiatives and/or referenda) or candidates. * For example, College faculty & staff may not send or forward any email messages using College equipment or College email addresses that urges persons to vote for or against a candidate, referendum, or initiative. While it is not possible to prevent campaign-related e-mails from coming into the College e-mail addresses, it is prudent for faculty and staff to not encourage nor to invite state campaign-related e-mails to be sent to their College email address. In addition, College faculty and staff should not send any campaign-related e-mails from their College e-mail address. You may do so using your personal computer, your personal email account, and/or during your personal time. * Obviously, College faculty & staff may volunteer their personal time and/ or make a personal financial contribution to support or oppose a candidate, ballot initiatives, or ballot referenda. Therefore, staff members who are working on a campaign or ballot issue must take appropriate annual leave time if this activity occurs during working hours.

FLC Grub Hub


October 2011 Editor Mitch Davis

The FLC Grub Hub Food Bank will be open every Thursday, beginning September 22 from 8:00 – 5:00. The FLC Grub Hub, which opened last year, is a free food bank for FLC students. The Grub Hub Food bank is located in Reed Library, Room 16 (downstairs).

Messenger is published for the faculty and staff of Fort Lewis College and is produced by the Public Affairs Office.

Faculty: The Grub Hub is currently low on food and is seeking donations of food items. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail Charlie at

To submit an idea please contact Mitch Davis at 970-2477401 or Please submit ideas by the 15th of the month prior to desired publication date. Fort Lewis College Public Affairs Office 1000 Rim Dr. Durango, CO 81301 970-247-7401

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Announcements Civic Engagement Transcripts

The Center for Civic Engagement on the Fort Lewis College campus would like to announce that the Center is currently opening opportunities for student organizations, clubs and faculty departments to apply for their activities to be included on the Fort Lewis College Civic Engagement Transcript. Transcript applications are accepted in October and February annually. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our website at: CivicEngagementTranscript.aspx. There you can understand more about the purpose of the transcript, review application criteria, request an application and read more about the application guidelines tips, responsibilities and tricks for a successful civically engaged activity. Application processes can be viewed here: CivicEngagementTranscript/ ApplicationProcess.aspx.

Faculty/Staff Days in San Juan Dining

Faculty and staff will receive 20 percent off in the San Juan Dining facility when using Skycash on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Congratulations to…

Kim Hannula for winning a $599,215 grant for her project “Collaborative Research: Four Corners Undergraduate STEM Success (FOCUSS).” Shere Byrd for being awarded a $2 million grant to help meet the educational needs of FLC’s Native American students. Read more about Shere’s grant on pg. 12.

Who should apply: *An student club or RSO that currently incorporates a civic contribution or would like to build one within their club function that meets the application criteria *Any faculty member that has a course that does not currently have CBLR designation or is not interested in having the CBLR designation but has a civic component that students are experiencing and meets the application criteria *Any department that hosts several activities that incorporate civic component(s) within their students’ academic experience. Last year the campus had eight successful candidates that enabled over 400 student to begin the development of their civically-engaged transcripts. The Center staff is available to aid in developing activities to meet the application criteria, to provide technical assistance and to aid anyone in thinking about the application process. Application deadline for this term is October 10, 2011. For more information you can contact us at 247-7641; 71 Reed Library.

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October 2011 / Fort Lewis College Messenger / 


“Research builds,” says Fort Lewis College Geosciences Professor and 2011-12 FLC Featured Scholar Gary Gianniny. It’s an axiom that is illustrated by his research portfolio, which is as deep as it is impressive. His pursuit of knowledge has taken him around the world studying topics from evolution and sedimentary records found in limestone to the energy potential of microbial deposits and the effects of coal extraction on groundwater. Dr. Gianniny began his undergraduate academic career in Virginia still searching for what he wanted to pursue. It wasn’t until he transferred to Colorado College that he really found his passion for geology, thanks to an especially dynamic professor that influenced him greatly. He graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in geology and took a few years to

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be, in his words, “a ski bum,” before resuming his studies. Master’s and doctorate degrees followed, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. During this time, he started a line of research that continues to interest him today: examining the evolution of the Pennsylvanian Paradox Basin. By studying the limestone, gypsum and other rock layers in the basin, Dr. Gianniny uses the stratigraphic record to determine the causes of ancient sea level change, including changes in climate. This research provides insights into things society needs to know. Insights like: what other kinds of disruptions occurred during these climate change periods that can be read from the sedimentary records found in these rock formations? To what extent can this understanding help us to predict the continuity of gas reservoirs and aquifers in the region?

“This information is interesting to society, but I just love to try to figure out how the system worked that controlled the dance of these ancient shorelines,” he explains. Pursuing this research brought him to the Four Corners, a move that would eventually bring him to this area and to Fort Lewis College.


“I spent three summers and a fall studying the strata along the San Juan River while being based off a white water raft,” he recalls. “It was pretty great. In between research trips my wife and I discovered and fell in love with Durango.” Now at Fort Lewis College, Dr. Gianniny continues his research, but always strives to bring his students into his work in an effort to teach. Proof can be found in his list of scholarly publications, where more than a dozen were co-authored by FLC students. Some of those publications came from the many student research opportunities that have arisen from work on the spectacular glacially-sculpted cliffs north of Durango. Dr. Gianniny, an expert on ancient limestones, invited sandstone expert, Dr. Kim Miskell-Gerhardt to join him and his students in trying to decipher the complex geometries of strata. Seven students have worked with the research team, most of whom are now employed in geology or are in graduate school. “We have found that the climate driven sea level changes interacted with tectonics to produce an intricate shingle-like pattern on this eastern margin of the basin. No one dreamed that these outcrops would provide such a world-class example of interacting sedimentary systems,” he says. “Because I have such dynamic students and colleagues, I think we have nailed the evolutionary dynamics of this portion of the basin.” An additional avenue of Dr. Gianniny’s research is in energy production, for example, coal. Coal, while abundant in this area, comes with potential problems. Dr. Gianniny and his students have looked at how

the extraction of coal bed methane affects the amount and quality of the groundwater. It’s a project of great interest to area land managers who want to know if residents’ water rights are being affected by energy production. Working with colleagues in the San Juan Collaboratory (Mountain Studies Institute, University of Colorado, and the San Juan Public Lands Center), Dr. Gianniny and his students helped to set up experiments that took a snapshot of the chemical composition of area groundwater in an effort to track its movement, essentially fingerprinting the water to show where it came from and where it went. “Our data did a lovely job delineating the source of waters in the hydrologic system of western La Plata and western Archuleta counties” he says. Research students and his classes have also contributed to useful information on the impact of dam flows on floodplain aquifers on the Dolores River. Collaborating with his wife, Dr. Cynthia Dott of the FLC Biology Department, their work demonstrates the critical importance of long duration high river flows to the recharge of these aquifers and the health of native vegetation. “Integrative science that bridges across scientific fields and provides useful information is by far the most exciting thing we can do in research,” he says. “One of our College-wide learning goals is the application of knowledge to inform action: that’s our game.” Dr. Gianniny’s work has brought him and his students attention, accolades and funding from the scientific community. It’s a reflection on the opportunity to do high quality research at a school that places such a high priority on teaching. “The idea that working at a place like Fort Lewis College, we could still compete with research one schools in terms of having interesting things to say and making contributions to science,” he says. “That is pretty exciting.”

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Colorado Whe

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Graduation Rates: ere does FLC really stand? On September 28, 2011, the Durango Herald published an article entitled “FLC lagging in pomp, circumstance.” The first sentence of the article reads “New data show Fort Lewis College students are graduating in fewer numbers than their peers around the state.” While there is always room for improvement, it is incorrect to say that FLC students “are graduating in fewer numbers than their peers around the state.” In fact, Fort Lewis College CO Regional Institution (plus CSU-Pueblo) Graduation Rates (2004 Freshman Class) has the highest graduation rate among Colorado regional institutions (Adams State As a result of the shift to higher standards, the FLC College, Colorado Mesa University, Metropolitan student body has changed. The average academic State College of Denver, and Western State College). index score has risen from 97 in 2004 to 102 today. In Regional institutions are a more appropriate group turn, the freshman to sophomore retention rate has to examine when thinking about peer institutions to climbed from 58 percent to 64 percent during that FLC. Colorado State University-Pueblo can also be same time period. added to the list of schools that FLC bettered. Overall, Fort Lewis ranks seventh out of the 12 major colleges Despite what was incorrectly represented in the and universities in the state. Durango Herald article, Fort Lewis College is an institution on the rise in terms of its academic Another consideration when looking at these reputation. That increase in reputation is already graduation rates is that the data come from the 2004 paying dividends in the academic preparedness of the freshman class at each institution. Given the evolution student body and student retention. It’s only a matter of Fort Lewis College, these statistics are looking of time before the positive effects are seen in the at a student body of the past, both literally and graduation rates as well. figuratively. In 2008, Fort Lewis College fully implemented higher admission standards that moved the school from a “moderately selective” classification to “selective.”

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Getting Students from Con Graduation Even as Fort Lewis College continues to strengthen its retention rate and bring in more academicallyprepared students, a need will always exist for the College to provide special programs and services to help its students get the best education possible and eventually graduate. A number of Fort Lewis College programs are designed to help students do just that, such as the STEM Success program and the Program for Academic Advancement.

Just a few weeks ago, FLC received the wonderful news that it had won a third Title III grant. With Dr. Shere Byrd as the driving force, this latest grant will be for $2 million over the next five years. The funding will go to purchase the latest equipment for the FLC Engineering/Physics, Anthropology, Archaeology, Native American Indigenous Studies, and Geosciences programs, as well as the Delaney Library, and Intertribal News.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and the STEM Success program is designed help students pursuing those disciplines. FLC has had between 500-1,000 students declared in the STEM majors in recent years.

Money will also go to Native American-specific programs like better tracking of Native American alumni, advising and orientation programming at the FLC Native American Center, new courses in the Native American and Indigenous Studies program, and better training for FLC faculty and staff in the College’s historic mission to provide an education for the country’s Native American peoples.

In 2008, FLC was awarded two Department of Education Title III grants to help students in the STEM disciplines. Title III grants are available to institutions that have a high number of students receiving need-based financial aid. The first Title III grant was for $1.9 million over 5 years. The focus of the funding was to bolster the College’s Freshman Math Program. The goal was to help more students succeed in their math courses and progress on to the more advanced math classes that are required for majors such as biology, chemistry, and engineering, for example. The second Title III grant, also awarded in 2008, gave $2.5 million over 2 years. The focus of the second grant was centered on the sciences. The grant paid for much of the new lab equipment in the Biology wing of Berndt Hall that was completed in 2010. The funding also helped start up the College’s Public Health degree program and helped lay the groundwork for the creation of an Environmental Health and Safety degree program sometime in the future.

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Aside from the Title III grants and the STEM programs at FLC, there is another program aimed at helping those who are potentially at risk of academic struggles: the Program for Academic Advancement. PAA is a federally-funded TRIO program that the College houses on campus. The goal of PAA is to help low-income and/or first-generation students succeed in school through offerings such as tutoring, academic and financial aid advising, life-skills workshops, and connections with programs like child care, food banks, and affordable housing. Though PAA doesn’t make distinctions according to race, the socio-economic reality is that many minority groups fall into the low-income, first generation categories. According to the 2009-10 numbers, 202 FLC students were enrolled in PAA (131 female and 71 male) and 148 qualified as both low-income and first generation. PAA held an 82% retention rate in 2009-10 and 95% of PAA students earned a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

nvocation to The good work of these programs, and the many other College programs that offer aid to students as they strive for academic success, will likely continue to be reflected in an increasing retention and graduation rate in the future. Thanks must also go to the faculty and staff of Fort Lewis College who spend countless hours helping FLC students navigate college academically, financially, athletically and socially.

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Sports Skyhawk women’s soccer drops to No. 9 in the nation

Tie at Colorado Mesa causes Fort Lewis to slip two spots by Chris Aaland

The Fort Lewis College women’s soccer team (90-2 overall, 6-01 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) fell two spots to No. 9 in the sixth NCAA Division II poll of the season, released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Continental Tire. The Skyhawks, ranked No. 7 in the nation last week, won a 3-2 overtime thriller at New Mexico Highlands last Friday before playing to a scoreless draw through two overtimes at Colorado Mesa on Sunday. Fort Lewis will face its toughest test of the season this coming weekend when it travels to No. 25 Colorado Mines (7-1-1, 3-1-1) at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 and to No. 13 Metro State (9-1-0, 5-1-0) at noon Oct. 9. “These games are huge for us,” said fifth-year Skyhawk skipper Damian Clarke. “Not only are the results massive for the conference standings, but they have very important regional and national implications as well. I think we have done well to continue improving as a team, but we have to keep getting better if we are going to get out of this weekend with positive results.” Fort Lewis’ 9-0-2 start has shattered a school record for best start to a season without a loss. Clarke’s first FLC team in 2007 went 5-0-2 to start the year. Three RMAC teams are ranked again this week: No. 9 Fort Lewis, No. 13 Metro State, and No. 25 Colorado Mines. Additionally, the NCAA released its statistical leaders through Oct. 2, 2011. Fort Lewis ranks ninth in winning percentage (.909) and 23rd in scoring offense (2.64 goals per game). Sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Raso also ranks 14th in minutes played, while sophomore forward Emma Cannis is 24th in total assists (five).

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The complete poll includes: 1. Bridgeport (Conn.) 2. UC-San Diego 3. California (Pa.) 4. Abilene Christian (Texas) 5. Grand Valley State (Mich.) 6. Saint Leo (Fla.) 7. Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) 8. Saint Rose (N.Y.) 9. Fort Lewis (Colo.) 10. Rollins (Fla.) 11. North Georgia 12. Central Missouri 13. Metro State (Colo.) 14. Northern Kentucky 15. Seattle Pacific (Wash.) 16. Kutztown (Pa.) 17. Merrimack (Mass.) 18. Florida Tech 19. Edinboro (Pa.) 20. Quincy (Ill.) 21. Minnesota State 22. Armstrong Atlantic State (Ga.) 23. Central Oklahoma 24. Cal. State-Los Angeles 25. Colorado Mines Also receiving votes: Indiana (Pa.), Lander (S.C.), St. Edward’s (Texas), Cal. State-Stanislaus. The NCAA Division II regional rankings were also announced. The Skyhawks remain atop the Central Region rankings: 1. Fort Lewis (Colo.) 2. Metro State (Colo.) 3. Minnesota State 4. Colorado Mines 5. Winona State (Minn.) 6. Regis (Colo.)

Sports Fort Lewis men’s soccer climbs to No. 1 in national rankings

Showdown at No. 14 Metro State looms by Chris Aaland

The Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team (10-00 overall, 6-0-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Continental Tire announced. The Skyhawks, ranked No. 2 a week ago, won a pair of road games last week, defeating No. 22 Colorado Mines 4-1 last Friday and Colorado Christian 3-1 Sunday. “Obviously, getting the current number one ranking in the nation is a huge honor for the program and reflects the hard work that has been done by the players and the coaching staff to this point in the season,” said third-year FLC head coach Oige Kennedy. “However, we are highly aware that we have to continue to work hard to keep the ranking and to keep our place at the top of the RMAC, which is our primary aim for the season. We are all looking forward to another tough weekend on the road with games against Metro State and UCCS and hope we can get a big support for both games that will have a big impact on our 2011 season.” Being ranked No. 1 is nothing new to the Skyhawks, who perennially compete for NCAA Division II championships in men’s soccer. Fort Lewis won the 2005 and 2009 national titles and finished second in the nation in 1999 and 2006. FLC was last ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll prior to the start of the 2010 season. Fort Lewis will immediately have their No. 1 ranking tested, as they travel to No. 14 Metro State (7-2-1, 5-1-0) at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and to UC-Colorado Springs (5-5-0, 3-3-0) at noon Oct. 9. The meeting is the first of the year between the Skyhawks and Roadrunners. UCCS gave FLC its biggest scare of the season in a 1-0 Skyhawk win in Durango on Sept. 25.

The Skyhawks rank highly amongst NCAA Division II leaders. Senior midfielder Thomas Hoang leads the nation in assists (10) and assists per game (1.0). Senior goalkeeper Ryan Wirth ranks fourth in goals against average (0.40). As a team, Fort Lewis is tied for the national lead in winning percentage (1.000), ranks third in goals against average (0.40), third in shutout percentage (0.75), fourth in total goals (29), ninth in team shutout percentage (0.6), and tenth in scoring offense (2.9 goals per game). The complete coaches’ poll includes: 1. Fort Lewis (Colo.) 2. Franklin Pierce (N.H.) 3. Simon Fraser (B.C.) 4. Northern Kentucky 5. Rollins (Fla. 6. C.W. Post (N.Y.) 7. Midwestern State (Texas) 8. California (Pa.) 9. Incarnate Word (Texas) 10. Barry (Fla.) 11. Lander (S.C.) 12. Mercyhurst (Pa.) 13. Clayton State (Ga.) 14. Metro St. (Colo.) 15. Northeastern State (Okla.) 16. Grand Canyon (Ariz.) 17. St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) 18. Northwood (Mich.) 19. Florida Tech 20. West Virginia Wesleyan 21. Anderson (S.C.) 22. Colorado Mines 23. Rockhurst (Mo.) 24. Cal. St.-Dominguez Hills 25. Lynn (Fla.) Also receiving votes: Cal. St.-Los Angeles, Texas A&M International, Eastern New Mexico, Regis (Colo.), Saginaw Valley State (Mich.).

The RMAC placed three teams in the Top 25 in the sixth coaches’ poll of the season: No. 1 Fort Lewis, No. 14 Metro State, and No. 22 Colorado Mines (7-3-0, 5-20). Regis (5-2-1, 2-2-1) also received votes.

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Fort Lewis College Public Affairs Office 1000 Rim Dr. Durango, CO 81301

To purchase your copy, contact the Margie Deane Gray by e-mail,, or by phone: 970-247-7177

Fort Lewis College Messenger - October 2011  
Fort Lewis College Messenger - October 2011  

The faculty and staff magazine of Fort Lewis College.