MSU Denver Launches National Search for a New Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

In 2023, Metropolitan State University of Denver carried out a search for a new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The University partnered with executive search firm WittKieffer to conduct the search.  In late October 2023, the search concluded.

Dr. Laura Niesen de Abruña will be the new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs for MSU Denver, effective January 2024.

Dr. Marie T. Mora, who has served as Provost Ad Interim since March 2023, will continue to do so until Dr. Niesen de Abruña’s official start date of January 25, 2024.

Position Information

The position of Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs posted May 22, 2023.

Full Job Description

2023 Provost Search Committee Members

Led by two co-chairs, the Provost Search Committee was comprised of 12 members:

  • Co-Chair:  Dr. Rosemarie Allen, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Co-Chair:  Dr. Samuel Jay, Associate Professor of Communication Studies; Director of Faculty Affairs
  • Dr. Chalane Lechuga, Professor of Chicano Studies; Director of Faculty Research and Development for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Dr. Alex Boodrookas, Assistant Professor of History; Faculty Federation Recommendation
  • Larry Sampler, M.A., Vice President for Administration and Finance & Chief Operating Officer
  • Dr. Will Simpkins, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Dr. John Masserini, Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
  • Dr. Anahi Russo Garrido, Director of the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy
  • Dr. Abel Moreno, Chair and Professor, Department of Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics
  • Dr. Smita Singh, Assistant Professor of Event Management, School of Hospitality
  • Dr. Jess Retrum, Chair and Professor, Department of Social Work
  • Dr. Elizabeth Goodnick, Associate Professor of Philosophy; Faculty Senate President
  • Michael Warner, Student Trustee, Student Advocacy Council



  • Campus Listening Sessions – multiple sessions held throughout the month via Zoom.
  • Search Committee convened.


  • Finalization of leadership profile and associated ad
  • WittKeiffer‘s active recruitment period of applicants


  • Search Committee reviewed candidates


  • Search Committee selected candidates for first-round interviews


  • Search Committee conducted first-round interviews
  • Search Committee selected semi-finalists
  • Interviews of semi-finalists


  • Search Committee selected finalists
  • Interviews of finalists


  • Finalist selected.
  • Finalist hired.