At the Nov. 1 meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver President’s Cabinet, President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., gave an overview of the Oct. 27 Board of Trustees meeting, which included: 

  • Extensive information about the operationalization of the 2030 Strategic Plan. 
  • Meaningful dialogue about African American student success. 
  • An overview of the deans’ early progress and paths to achieve ambitious retention and completion goals. 
  • Vibrant discussions about how to best support the University community during external tragedies and the University’s commitment to freedom of expression. 
President's Cabinet underway.

It was a very illuminating conversation, reaffirming our emphasis and dedication to freedom of expression on our campus,” said Davidson. “Our role is to educate, provide a forum and to help people understand what’s going on in the world where we can, in a balanced way. It’s good to know the board is behind us on that.” 

Project and initiative updates: 

  • MSU Denver has a new provost starting Jan. 25. Laura Niesen de Abruña, Ph.D., will be the University’s new provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.
  • A cross-functional Shared Governance Taskforce led by David Fine, J.D., general counsel, and Jenny Allert, associate professor of Nursing, will examine and refine the decision-making process at the University. A working document outlining a set of shared-governance guidelines/principles will be previewed next semester.
  • Ruby Matheny, president of the Staff Senate, shared the results of the Student Employment Survey, which gathered feedback from student-employee supervisors. Feedback included a desire for students to be able to edit their time sheets, Human Resources resuming the role of confirming students’ work eligibility, more streamlined and transparent onboarding processes and increased resource support for Human Resources staff.
  • Socktober 2023 raised more than $19,000 and donated more than 785 pairs of socks to students.
  • University Communications and Marketing is calling for changemakers to submit their Changemaker stories.
  • King Soopers Community Awards are an easy way to support Rowdy’s Corner and student success. View more ways to help.

Strategic Plan update

Meredith Jeffers, Ph.D., director of Strategy, gave a high-level update on the fall progress of the 2030 Strategic Plan objectives and key results.  

The OKRs are measuring change in growth toward the operationalization of our strategic pillars — how we’re focusing, what we’re focusing on, what we’re going to align to, commit and track moving forward,” said Jeffers. “At a high level, everything is moving forward, and I’m happy about that. What happens for spring is now the real question.” 

The work being done to operationalize Pillars I, II, III and V will continue into spring. The Pillar IV focus on diversity, equity and inclusion will be more intentional in spring. The Strategy team, along with Michael Benitez, Ph.D., vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, and other stakeholders will align DEI OKRs into Pillars I, II, III and V, setting DEI as the foundation for all initiatives.  

Pillar IV update

Benitez noted that DEI intersects with all pillars and is foundational to that ongoing work. Benitez and the Strategy team are fleshing out how DEI OKRs will anchor Pillars I, II, III and V. Benitez also highlighted the Teacher’s Assistant Program as a model initiative that is incorporating DEI strategies and showing success.  

“Students appreciate the program and its peer-to-peer mentoring,” Benitez said. “They are appreciating the bridge and really leveraging the relationship-building aspect to build stronger relationships with faculty.” 

Since its inception in 2020, the program has engaged 400 TAs, supporting 288 faculty members and more than 9,000 students. Nearly 52% of TAs are students of color, and 58% are first-generation undergraduate students.  

Budgeting process

Jim Carpenter, chief financial officer and associate vice president for Administration, noted that the fiscal 2025 process has begun. The budget circular with instructions and key dates will be released this month. The circular will support anyone responsible for preparing a budget and includes the President’s budget charge, which is aligned with the 2030 Strategic Plan and the investments needed to ensure institutional success. These include:  

  • Investing in our people. 
  • Fiscal health. 
  • Student success and advising structures. 
  • Preparing Coloradans for the modern workforce. 
  • Infrastructure development.

“I want everyone in the MSU Denver community to be invested in the budget-and-planning process,” Davidson said. “I hope the direction for evaluating budgets will help leaders align their departmental budget proposals with our mission of preparing our students for Colorado’s modern workforce.” 

Campus master plan

James Mejia, chief strategy officer, and Carl Meese, deputy chief of planning and sustainability for the Auraria Higher Education Center, provided an update on the campus master plan. As plans emerge to develop sections of downtown Denver areas that are adjacent to campus, MSU Denver is also looking at the larger issue of campus infrastructure.  

MSU Denver is prioritizing new infrastructure, such as the C2 Hub and faculty and staff housing, but is also invested in future development to enhance the quality and use of space for the entire Auraria Campus community.  

“Right now, you look out and you see Elitch Gardens and the mountains. In 20 years … we’re going to see tall buildings and a densely populated area,” said Davidson. “We’re trying to be a part of that change (with the campus master plan).”  

The current campus master-plan concept includes: 

  • Academic zones for classrooms and offices. 
  • Auxiliary zones to support student life, recreation and athletics. 
  • Mixed-use spaces such as housing, restaurants, retail and co-working spaces.

Opportunities for input are forthcoming.

See the full update.

Upcoming events: 

  • Through Friday, the Health Center at Auraria is offering Covid-19, flu and RSV vaccines at no cost to members of the Auraria Campus community who have a valid campus ID badge. Immunizations are available to walk-ins through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Plaza Building Room 111.
  • Roadrunner Tuesday is Nov. 28. Donate to help fight food insecurity at MSU Denver.
  • Fall 2023 Commencement is Dec. 15 at the Denver Coliseum. Bobby LeFebre, Colorado’s eighth poet laureate, and 9News chief meteorologist Kathy Sabine will be the keynote speakers. Both are former MSU Denver students.