Inside the President’s Cabinet
The meeting featured recommendations for improving student employment opportunities and COVID-19-inspired design ideas for West Classroom.
June 18, 2020
President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., began the Wednesday meeting of the President’s Cabinet by reflecting on important conversations happening at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Davidson shared some details about the University’s plans for a safe and gradual return to campus and spoke with passion about the community’s commitment to anti-racism and racial justice.
“We’ve had an awakening of sorts in this country and around the world with respect to Black Lives Matter,” Davidson said. “We’re seized by an array of emotions, from anger to humility and everything in between.”
Davidson applauded the University community for leaning into this critically important issue, highlighting statements by Michael Benitez, Ph.D., vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, and the new dialogue series led by Katia Campbell, Ph.D., president, Faculty Senate. Additionally, the Board of Trustees has committed to establishing structures that advance equity and racial justice throughout the University, city and state. Davidson also reminded Roadrunners that MSU Denver will observe Juneteenth as a day of learning and reflection.
Update on safe-return planning
Planning for a safe return to campus amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Conversations on the summer and fall terms are expanding to include spring 2021 preparations. Davidson asked Roadrunners to remain flexible to shifts in health data and subsequent University policies. MSU Denver continues to work closely with Auraria Campus partners on safety protocols, with the understanding that the University’s physical presence on campus may be dialed up or down as needed.
For the fall semester, Tier I classes (those that require an on-campus presence to meet learning objectives) will be held in person on campus. Students and faculty taking and teaching Tier I courses have been contacted via email. More information will be available on the Registrar website and the forthcoming Safe Return to Campus webpage. Follow-up communications will also go out to employees and students outlining safety protocols.
While campus cleaning and sanitization efforts will be stepped up, Davidson reminded Roadrunners that it is our shared duty to remain responsible and vigilant in social distancing and mask-wearing to keep our vulnerable populations safe.
Student Employment Committee
In April 2019, Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, and George Middlemist, Ph.D., associate vice president for Administration/CFO, tasked the committee with reimagining student employment to improve engagement and overall outcomes. After a thorough review of the current program, the team recommended formal and mandatory training for supervisors, elevated learning outcomes, the provision of more meaningful feedback, community-building activities, streamlined recruiting, increased visibility, institutionalized budgeting, more off-campus work-study opportunities and expanded use of veteran work-study options. The team also recommended a feasibility study for the creation of a paid-time-off policy for student employees, exploring sick leave and administrative leave.
Other recommendations included improving access and opportunities for student employees with disabilities and allowing students to indicate their preferred names and pronouns on applications.
President’s Advisory Council on Built Environment and Infrastructure
In recent months, the council’s focus on the West Classroom building has expanded to also consider the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19.
The presentation included Industrial Design students’ renderings, which imagined more greenery, a natural color palette, transparency between indoor/outdoor spaces, healthier commons areas and more. Members relayed student feedback showing the need for more reliable Wi-Fi, renovated restrooms, improved work areas, charging stations, increased signage and more welcoming, inclusive spaces.
In preparing the campus to adapt to COVID-19, members recommended designing for adaptability and flexibility. This could include movable screens to provide barriers, social-distancing signage, hands-free technologies, establishing hybrid-use spaces, touchless vending options, antimicrobial wallpaper and more.
Farewell to Provost Vicki Golich, Ph.D.
Campbell invited Golich to share parting words of wisdom in her final President’s Cabinet meeting prior to retirement. Golich talked about her experiences in research and her enthusiasm for teaching. She also encouraged younger faculty members to feed their professional passions, reflected on shifts in higher education and recounted her career highlights. Read more in Monday’s Early Bird.
- The Strategy, Marketing and Communications team will soon embark on extensive website updates to improve the student experience. This will include a broad and inclusive effort to gather input from the campus community.
- University Advancement has exceeded its funding goal, raising $6.6 million and counting. Efforts continue to build the Dreamer Emergency Fund, which currently stands at $70,000 of its $300,000 goal. Stay tuned to the Early Bird to learn more about several significant gifts and grants.
- The first conversation in the new racial-dialogue series drew more than 500 live viewers. Stay tuned for info on upcoming events.
- The U.S. Department of Education has extended the CAMP Program grant.
- Summer enrollment is up 8.4% in FTEs and 7.1% up in head count, while fall enrollment is down 11.9% in FTEs and head count is down 7.7%, indicating that students may be waiting for fall announcements before making enrollment decisions.
- The NCAA will issue a decision on fall sports June 30.
- John Kietzmann has completed his service to the Cabinet as interim Athletics director. Newly announced Athletic Director Todd Thurman will join the July meeting.
- Voting for Staff Senate positions is open through 8 a.m. on Monday.
- Performance-management training is still available. Classified staff evaluations are past due and should be submitted to Human Resources as soon as possible.
Topics: Community, Events, Inclusive leadership, President Davidson, President’s CabinetEdit this page