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Inside the President’s Cabinet

The meeting included updates on funding, vaccine distribution, HLC accreditation, MSU Denver Day of Giving and more.

By Lindsey Coulter

February 11, 2021

Jordan Student Success Building exterior.President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., began Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting by speaking to her three primary focuses for the month – state funding, fall-semester planning and vaccine distribution – and encouraging Roadrunners to remain compassionate and to engage in respectful dialogue around difficult topics.

“I know that there are debates happening across campus, and that’s OK. Friction and debate are how we grow and change,” Davidson said. “But we need to get all of us on one side and the problem on the other. Right now, our problem is that we’re underfunded.”

Davidson’s Feb. 3 letter to the University community further highlighted the critical need for equitable funding, as Metropolitan State University of Denver remains the lowest-funded higher-education institution in the state per student.

“I really do hope that the legislators do the right thing and instead of kicking the can down the line and waiting for new money to show up before they correct this inequality, that they start chipping away at it now,” Davidson said, outlining the University’s request for a multiyear approach that would direct roughly $48 million to MSU Denver, establishing an equitable base budget.

Auraria Campus Point of Dispensing

MSU Denver employees are also encouraged to stay tuned for upcoming communications about the Auraria Campus POD. The campus institutions have partnered with Covid Check Colorado and hope to begin distributing vaccines in accordance with the state’s phased distribution plan.

Davidson and fellow Auraria Campus executives have petitioned Gov. Jared Polis and state public-health leaders to move higher education up the vaccine-priority chain to create a new subcategory within Phase 2 for student-facing higher-education faculty and staff.

“When you’re eligible, get the vaccine. In the meantime, follow the social-distancing protocols … and continue to play it safe,” Davidson said, reiterating her goal to create a safe environment for more on-campus fall courses.

Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation

MSU Denver is also undergoing its comprehensive Year Four evaluation for reaccreditation. The evaluation includes a Student Opinion Survey that closes Feb. 21. All faculty and staff members are encouraged to help spread the word to increase student participation. The process will also include virtual visits as well as an on-campus site visit April 26-27.

Strategic Plan

As part of the newly launched 2030 Strategic Plan, the University will revisit and update the 2017 Infrastructure Master Plan to better align with the University’s current and future needs with regard to classroom space, affordable housing, the Classroom to Career Hub and on-campus and off-campus options. This Phase III process will deliver an overall infrastructure strategy, a decision on MSU Denver’s potential role as an anchor institution at Fox Park and a new facilities master plan.

The overall 2030 Strategic Plan is being rolled out to University stakeholder and leadership groups and will soon move to external groups and partners. Next steps include developing an operation plan for each pillar.

MSU Denver Day of Giving

The fifth annual Day of Giving is March 18. The theme, Serving Up Student Success, breaks down the “ingredients” for students’ personal and academic success, such as books, supplies, scholarships, internships, resources and wraparound services. The goal is to engage 750 donors from March 1-18. Funding proposals must be received by Feb. 21.

The Day of Giving also includes a virtual scavenger hunt, funding bonuses and matches based on engagement, a 10-hour telethon packed with Roadrunner content, a wine-and-beer tasting for Mug Club members and more.

Roadrunners are also encouraged to submit their favorite recipes for inclusion in a cookbook for donors. Additionally, employees can serve as social-media advocates using the Day of Giving Social Media Toolkit along with donating their time and expertise.

Council on Academic Excellence and Student Success presentation

Since its formation, the CAESS has completed a faculty survey on student retention that led to retention recommendations, a new Early Bird series and an app that provides targeted data to faculty members about the percentage of their students who have registered for the next semester.

For spring, the council is developing a student-retention guide for faculty that will be complete by the end of the semester. The goal is to make the guide easy to use, flexible and adaptable to various student groups and identities.

The group welcomes feedback on the guide and the future of academic- and student-success efforts.

University Lending Policy

The operational University Lending Policy provides guidance to academic and administrative departments that loan University equipment to students, such as laptops, cooking utensils, art supplies, etc. The policy outlines that item damage or loss will not be elevated to a criminal or civil action but will rather be pursued as student debt. The policy was returned to the University Policy Advisory Committee for minor edits and will return to the Cabinet for approval in March.


  • The Black World Conference is Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Professorship events will take place March 2-3.
  • Stay tuned for more information on the Campus Climate Survey, which opens March 1.
  • Information on a possible hybrid in-person and virtual spring Commencement ceremony will be available at the next Cabinet meeting.
  • Roadrunners and community members are invited to attend the upcoming Executive Update on the Cyber Range at MSU Denver.
  • Save the date for the Virtual Day at the Capitol on Feb. 26, the Presidential Speaker Series with Gayle Lemmon on March 11, the Spring Update on April 7 and an Executive Update on the Center for Education Solutions on April 22.
  • University Advancement has raised $3.5 million, with nearly $2 million in the gift pipeline.
  • Spring enrollment ended down roughly 9% from spring 2020.
  • Please refer students to Single Stop to help connect them to a variety of public benefits.
  • Human Resources is reviewing the Equal Pay Act and has completed its review of faculty transcripts. The Faculty Compensation Project continues to progress.
  • Digital Electronic Personnel Action Form (ePAF) training is now available.
  • Please tune in to Leading Through Extraordinary Times on Feb. 18.

Sanity boosters

Cabinet members also shared their go-to methods for maintaining humor and sanity throughout the pandemic, including being outdoors, practicing faith, staying connected to colleagues, watching comedies, keeping in touch with family and friends, meditation, pets, exercise, reading and playing guitar.

Topics: Events, Inclusive leadership, President Davidson, President’s Cabinet

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