The first President’s Cabinet meeting of the fall semester was packed with updates on projects, policy initiatives, events and enrollment.
In her opening comments, President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., revisited the University’s focus on post-pandemic recovery and stabilization and highlighted investments that will launch the institution successfully into the fall semester and beyond, including:
- Registration and retention initiatives such as the tuition lock (which has drawn more than 3,000 web visitors), the Indigenous and Native Peoples Grant, investment in internships and Deans Grants, and improving advising processes to make predictive registration and degree planning a reality.
- Optimizing new-student recruitment by reviewing prospecting and funnel-management activities, improving orientation and onboarding, packaging financial aid earlier and automating transfer onboarding.
- Creating student-success pipelines such as Pathways to Possible.
- Expanding concurrent-enrollment opportunities, marketing outreach and the Roadrunner Promise program.
- Improved budgeting processes, the transition to Workday, investments in technology and sweeping upgrades to learning and athletics spaces.
Academic Space Improvements are nearly complete
Sharon Lorince, director of Operations and Maintenance and interim co-director of Planning, Design and Construction within the Department of Facilities, provided an update on the fast-moving academic-spaces improvement project.
The ambitious project targeted 148 classrooms (124 in summer, 24 over winter break; MSU Denver proprietary spaces only), bringing them up to a higher and more consistent level of quality. Spaces received new lighting, ceiling tiles, carpet, finishes, furnishings, branding and audiovisual technology, depending on needs. To accommodate late-summer classes, work on some spaces did not begin until Aug. 8, and some spaces and projects within the original scope have been moved to winter due to current supply-chain procurement issues.
- Furniture installation was 99.9% complete. Some spaces may still contain older furniture to supplement missing tablet armchairs, but that will be resolved within the fall semester.
- Audiovisual-equipment installation is operable; material availability and delays in shipping require additional work to be completed in the fall semester.
- Delivery of some lighting controls was delayed to October. Installation will be coordinated this semester. Lighting in impacted spaces is still functional.
- Window-shade delivery has been delayed to September. The team has installed temporary shades on the spaces most impacted by direct sunlight.
- Punch-list walks were completed Thursday. Blue tape should not be removed in any space.
- Final cleanings are complete.
- It is critical that class schedules are updated through the registrar so crews know when a space is available to coordinate work throughout the semester.
- The team is conducting discussions and exercises to gather lessons learned and best practices to ensure that winter projects are successful.
The project team worked diligently over the weekend to ensure that every classroom is ready and functional for fall classes. Lorince thanked faculty and staff members for their patience and flexibility, as supply–chain issues, labor shortages and shipping delays have pushed back completion timelines on some spaces.
Workday transition is on track for Jan. 1 overhaul of finance and HR systems
Kevin Taylor, chief information officer and associate vice president for Information Technology Services, and Nick Pistentis, executive director of Application Services, provided an update on the transition to Workday. The system will streamline employee on- and off-boarding, make payroll more efficient and offer more than 2,000 ready-to-run reports to democratize access to data.
“Over the last 25 years, MSU Denver has accumulated a lot of complexity in our environment — a lot of customizations, a lot of manual processes — and our goal is to get rid of a lot of that,” Pistentis said. He noted that Workday will be mobile-friendly and allow employees more time to focus on work that drives the University’s mission.
Human Resources and Finance will transition to Workday in January. The team will conduct several rounds of testing to ensure accuracy. While ample training will be available, the system is designed to be highly intuitive and user-friendly from the outset. The transition is outlined in greater detail in the Early Bird and online.
- MSU Denver’s first-ever Welcome Week is designed to build community and connect. Join in the festivities, including a barbecue, student-engagement fair, ice cream and aguas frescas, a movie night and more.
- Please RSVP for the President’s Welcome Back on Sept. 13, which includes a complimentary breakfast and important University updates.
- The Free Speech and the Art of Democracy Panel on Sept. 15 will welcome Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Communication Studies Professor and Chair Katia Campbell and Davidson discussing free expression in higher education. Watch the Early Bird for details.
- Congratulate the August winners of the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Month: Ann Diker, Ph.D., professor of Nutrition; Caitlin Hoppel, director of Prospect Management and Analytics for University Advancement; and Rae Richards, Training and Development student coordinator for the College Assistance Migrant Program.
- Don’t miss the new PowerPoint templates produced by the University Communications and Marketing team.
- The search process is underway for a new chief strategy officer to replace Kelly Brough.
- Be sure to respond to requests to provide your input on the University’s ongoing internal-communications audit.
- The University is launching a statewide advertising campaign this week, including FIFA World Cup and NFL Thanksgiving Day spots.
- The Student Advocacy Council has passed nine resolutions since beginning its term Aug. 1, notably to donate $15,000 of its annual budget to the Roadrunner Food Pantry.
- Registration for the LEAD professional-development program will close Sept. 25.
- Minimum wage within the City and County of Denver will increase to $17.29 in January.
- Faculty members are encouraged to apply for the Presidential Faculty Fellows program.
- Pell-eligible students are retaining at 4% higher than the University average.
- Latinx students are retaining at a rate of 66.4%, mirroring the overall University rate of 66.3%
- Indigenous and Native students are retaining at nearly 70%. Enrollment within this demographic has increased from 69 students to 119.
- Recruitment of multiracial students rose by 30%, Black students by 17% and Latinx students by 5%.
- New-student recruitment is up 4%.
- Overall enrollment for undergraduate students is down 6% year-to-date.
- ITS will bring a security-related policy to the Cabinet’s September meeting.
Roadrunners Athletics news
- The MSU Denver volleyball team is ranked fourth nationally in NCAA Division II in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll.
- Over Labor Day weekend, Roadrunners Athletics will host 21 games, and faculty members, staff members and students are encouraged to attend.
- Student-athletes averaged a 3.2 grade-point average over the spring term, and 26 student-athletes achieved a 4.0 GPA.
- All Roadrunners are reminded to wear their red for College Colors Day on Sept. 2.