In September 2017, President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., laid out her vision for MSU Denver: to become the model urban university for opportunity, diversity, excellence and transformation.
Davidson identified five focus areas through which the University could achieve that goal.
1. Strengthen student success
Students are the top priority and MSU Denver will ensure they receive the support they need to graduate, get good jobs and move up the economic ladder. To do so, the University will redesign its student services structure to apply best practices and creative programs to enhance recruitment, retention, graduation and career services.
The University will work to change the national narrative around student success, epitomized by rankings skewed in favor of universities that cater to the top 1 percent. MSU Denver will use the stories of its students and stats to redefine traditional metrics for school “quality” so they reflect outcomes like job placement and economic mobility.
MSU Denver will market itself to business leaders, parents and prospective students as offering an education that is both the highest value and smartest choice, emphasizing the remarkable success of its graduates – Fulbright scholars, award-winning novelists, CEOs and many others.
2. Address shrinking resources
With state support at an all-time low, MSU Denver will develop a funding sustainment plan to ensure it is getting the most out of limited resources and keeping the dream of higher education in reach for all students.
The University will build on its record-setting fundraising year and expand its efforts in this area with the creation a strategic fundraising plan. The Advancement and Marketing and Communications departments will work together to develop an integrated fundraising and branding strategy to change the current narrative at the state and federal levels.
3. Invest in people
Faculty and staff are essential to student success and the delivery of the University’s mission. Accordingly, MSU Denver will develop a task force to look at compensation.
Barriers that get in the way of the mission will be identified and knocked down.
The University will become a destination of choice for faculty, staff and students. The community will work to find the sweet spot that includes better employee engagement, recognition and continued empowerment.
4. Deliver on the promise
MSU Denver remains committed to past priorities while also continuing to talk to employers, parents and community leaders about what graduates need to be successful and developing programs and curricula to address those needs.
Projects that can be scalable as the institution considers its future will be given priority.
5. Lead inclusively and with intention
Five “issue-oriented” councils will be created to provide recommendations on top priorities and emerging issues. These faculty- and staff-led councils will focus on strategy; academic excellence and student support; culture and the workplace; infrastructure and fiscal responsibility; and efficiency and process transformation.
Inclusive leadership is not just a tagline. It’s the secret sauce for innovation and problem-solving in a large, talented and diverse organization.
Davidson will continue to engage with both external and internal audiences. Besides her weekly video series, she plans to have monthly fireside chats with employees and pizza parties with students.