Meet Janine Davidson, Ph.D.
Finalist for MSU Denver president announced during Faculty Senate meeting
February 6, 2017
As the Feb. 1 Faculty Senate meeting began, Senate President Matt Makley introduced MSU Denver Board Chair Michelle Lucero and other board members in attendance – Jack Pogge, Elaine Berman and Barb Grogan. He called the meeting a great opportunity for faculty to initiate ongoing conversations with the board, and then asked Lucero to address the senate.
Lucero recapped the timeline of the search for a new president, starting with President Jordan’s retirement announcement in September. She noted that while the search for a new president began immediately, the board has also been working diligently with Jordan on his top priorities: becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), shared governance, reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and completion of the AES Building.
Lucero said that there were more than 60 applications for president. Applicant names were kept confidential to avoid putting their current positions in jeopardy, to attract high-quality finalists, and to protect the integrity of the search. She then announced that the finalist for the presidency is Janine Davidson, who has extensive experience as an academic and leader of complex organizations. Most recently, as the 32nd undersecretary of the U.S. Navy, Davidson managed all Department of the Navy affairs including Navy and Marine Corps integration, acquisition, finance, personnel, legislative affairs, research and development.
President Jordan then addressed the senate. He began by thanking members for their work, and told them that it was one of the absolute thrills of his life to lead MSU Denver, but that he has never seen a more perilous time for higher education than the present. Saying that the next president needed to be able to create “limited philanthropy” – a combination of public-private partnerships and fundraising – he believed that Davidson’s experience, particularly in government, would provide the kind of leadership required. In closing, he said, “If you can work with the U.S. Congress, then you can successfully work with the Colorado general assembly.”
Makley then opened the floor for comments from senate members. One immediate question – when would faculty be able to meet with the finalist? Lucero said that meetings were being scheduled Feb. 13-14 on campus, and a schedule would be sent out to stakeholders.
Other questions included asking about the finalist’s commitment to undocumented and diverse students, and her familiarity with the tenure process. Lucero gave examples of Davidson’s experience with diverse stakeholders. During her nearly 30 years of experience in military operations, national security policy and academic research, Davidson implemented LGBTQ diversity policies in the U.S. Marines and mentored employees of color at the Pentagon.
Trustee Barb Grogan said that she was one of the newer trustees, but told Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper that she wanted to serve on the board precisely because of the University’s commitment to its diverse students. “Never underestimate the work you do and the board’s respect for faculty. You take a lot of kids who wouldn’t be in college and transform their lives,” she said.
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