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Dear Roadrunners,


As 2020 has clearly shown us, few plans survive first contact with events. Yet while the pandemic has slowed our strategic-planning efforts, it has also taught us the importance of adaptability and flexibility and given us an opportunity to not let a crisis go to waste. That is why last spring after COVID pushed us all into a remote-work environment, we paused our strategic-planning efforts to imagine what bold strategic responses will not just be needed to weather this storm as an institution but will enable us to thrive in a post-COVID environment.

This fall, we have picked up the final phase of our strategic-planning process, incorporating what we’ve learned in the spring and summer through intensive scenario-planning and building on the great work that the Strategic Planning Team did over the past 18 months. Our intention is to have MSU Denver’s Strategic Plan 2025 approved by the Board of Trustees this fall and go live in early January. 

I want to thank Vice President of Strategy Cathy Lucas and Matt Makley, Ph.D., professor of history, for the work they have done co-chairing this effort and the inclusive and transparent approach of the entire Strategic Planning Team. Thanks to their hard work, and input from stakeholders across the University and state, we will soon have a set of shared goals and objectives that will serve as a road map for our future. I am also grateful to Christian Hardigree, dean of the School of Hospitality, for temporarily stepping into the co-chair role this summer.  

Despite the challenges of the last few months, I am truly optimistic about the future. Our Roadrunner spirit of tenacity, adaptability and innovation has us positioned as a higher-education leader for the post-COVID-19 future. We’ve always been the place that meets students wherever they are in their zigzaggy lives. It is what we’ve been doing since we first opened our doors and what attracted me here in the first place. What is clear now is that this approach is also the future of higher education. As COVID has forced so many students to stop and restart their life plans, we will be ready to help them find their new paths. That’s why I keep saying that MSU Denver was made for this moment.

I want to encourage you to get involved in the final push of the strategic-planning effort. Your engagement is essential in our success. We will continue to communicate regularly through the Early Bird, social media and this website, asking for your ideas and feedback. And all of us will be responsible for achieving the goals established in the final plan. 

Together, we will redefine what is possible in higher education.



Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

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