As a rookie police officer in Boulder in the early 1970s, Hal Nees received no training at all. So he took it upon himself to get his own training by enrolling at Metro State for a second bachelor’s degree, this time in criminal justice. That same spirit and drive would propel Nees through five degrees in total, including two master’s and a doctorate, all while working full-time in law enforcement.
Since coming to Metro State as a faculty member in 1998, Nees has progressed from assistant to associate to full professor of criminal justice and criminology. In May, Nees’ fellow faculty members elected him to a one-year term as faculty trustee.
Nees’ appointment to the Board of Trustees follows four years of service as president of the faculty senate (2004-08). During his presidency, the College underwent a number of changes that affected his constituent faculty: Stephen Jordan came on as the college’s first permanent president in nearly two years and the College tackled such weighty issues as the revision of the general studies curriculum and Faculty Pay for Performance.
“Four years was enough as Faculty Senate president,” Nees said, of stepping down. “It was time for someone else to take over. Lynne Kaersvang has done an excellent job (as president).”
As a professor, Nees says he enjoys bringing his experience into the classroom. “I can talk from first-hand experience about what it’s like to do the job,” he says. During his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement, he served as police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, division chief and police chief. He also ran the state’s largest community-based corrections program for five years.
But a lifelong desire to teach brought him back to Metro State, “probably the only higher-ed institution (where) I’d want to teach,” he says. “I believe in the mission and role of Metro State… and enjoy the nature and diversity of our students.”
As trustee, Nees says he hopes to listen to faculty and represent their views to the board. “I’d like to give the board a sense of how hard our faculty work,” he says, which he estimates at 54-55 hours per week, “and to recognize the diversity of faculty interests and build on that…. Admittedly, we’re in a difficult time (in higher education) because of budget issues. But I believe we can work toward figuring out what we want to accomplish, and then toward implementing that as funding becomes available.”
Of his motivation to take on the additional responsibilities of faculty senate president and trustee, Nees puts it simply: “People here are working to build their futures… Metro State is just a magical place, a place of hope.”
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