Woman of Influence: Pam Shockley-Zalabak

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Pam Shockley-Zalabak, UCCS-University of Colorado Springs

Growing up in the tiny farming community of Drummond, Okla. played an important part in forming Dr. Pam Shockley-Zalabak into the leader she is today.

“It gave me a strong work ethic, a belief in the power of education, an appreciation for living with many generations of people and, of course, a love of athletics,” the chancellor of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs says.

This small-town powerhouse has big plans for the university; plans that will shape southern Colorado for generations. “First, we want to grow the student body,” she says, “southern Colorado does not have enough young people moving on to higher education.” She notes that fewer southern Colorado students go on to post-secondary education than their northern Colorado counterparts. The university has nearly 10,000 students now and Schockley-Zalabak would like to see that reach 15,000 in the next five to 10 years. “It is not growth for growth’s sake, but to meet the educational needs of our region and our young people.”

Shockley-Zalabak has authored eight books and more than 100 articles and productions on organizational communication. Her research interests center on building organizational trust. Her most recent book, Building the High Trust Organization, was published in 2010. She also carves time out of her schedule to teach in the university’s communications department.

“I love the students the most,” she says when asked about the best part of her job. “I am so encouraged seeing their potential, growth and their opportunities. The college years are quite a time for exploration.” She also says she loves working with the “wonderful faculty and staff.” UCCS employs about 1,700 people. The college offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 masters and five doctoral.

Sadly she admits, that she does not carve out much time for her favorite leisure activities. “I love hiking, animal photography. I also love music. I like to go to concerts and lean toward classical.”

Schockley-Zalabak has won multiple awards, including the CSBJ Women of Influence Award in 2008. She won the 2011 Makepeace Community Trustee Award, the highest honor offered by Leadership Pikes Peak.