Jan. 31, 2023

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the spring 2023 semester! I hope your courses and projects are off to a strong start as we wrap up the first month of the year after a couple of holidays and a lot of snow. As always, there is a lot going on at MSU Denver, and I want to provide a high-level overview of some pertinent topics for faculty and staff.

We have several new Roadrunner leaders, starting with trustee appointees Jerry Glick and Olivia Mendoza. They jumped right in at last week’s board meetings, and I’m thrilled about what they bring to our hardworking board. Interim Chief Financial Officer Jim Carpenter officially started this month, and he’ll be integral to our new strategic budgeting process. With Chief Enrollment Officer Long Huynh and Chief Strategy Officer James Mejía coming on board last semester and Deans Jeffrey Newcomer and Hope Szypulski named to lead the College of Aerospace, Computing, Engineering and Design and the College of Health and Human Sciences, respectively, we have a stalwart leadership team in place to help us LAUNCH! this year.

On the legislative front, I visited the state’s Joint Budget Committee this month to present our joint request from MSU Denver and Colorado’s other colleges and universities for an increase of $144.7 million in state operating funding and 4% in tuition authority. Colorado is 49th in the country in state funding per student, and our request makes it clear that that is inadequate to meet the state’s long-term strategic goals. That funding request would translate to approximately $13 million more for MSU Denver’s base funding, dependent on enrollment, and would help us cover core minimum-cost increases, including inflation and employee-compensation increases.

Spring enrollment is still firming up, but the latest numbers show our undergraduate student head count as 14,596 (2.4% lower year-to-year) and graduate student head count as 1,069 (down 3.3%). Full-time equivalents from undergraduate lower-level courses are down less than 2%, but FTEs from upper-level courses are down 6% relative to spring 2022. All the while, new registered undergrad students are up almost 17%! This shows that we’re getting new students on campus, but they’re not persisting as well as we’d like. We’re keeping a close eye on these numbers and will talk more about them and our “Stuff That Works” initiatives to support retention at Spring Update on March 2.

MSU Denver’s Health Institute Simulation Labs project that the state funded is on schedule, which is exciting after all the hard work we’ve put into the academic alignment of the Health Institute. You can learn all about the Sim Labs project on the University SharePoint site and see which campus departments are moving around to accommodate construction. Thank you for your flexibility as we work on this transformative project!

I also want to thank everyone for their efforts getting Workday up and running and for your patience as we sort out the kinks on a great platform that is going to improve so many of our processes. Make sure you’ve logged in and are learning your way around this semester.

To keep tabs on all these major initiatives, I encourage you to read the Early Bird regularly, especially Larry Sampler’s columns with the latest operational updates. You can also connect with me through the President’s Idea Catcher or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

Lastly, here are some events to look forward to this semester:

Thanks for all you do in service of our students!


Janine Davidson, Ph.D.