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An engaging kind of guy

As the new associate dean in our Student Engagement and Wellness Department, new arrival David Haden has his sights firmly set on helping all students.

By Mark Cox

February 6, 2017

When did you arrive?

I started on Jan. 3, so I’m a real newbie. Still a bit wet behind ears.

Tell us what you do.

There are a couple of key components. I work with and supervise staff in all our areas – student conduct, conflict resolution, care team and case management, Title 9 investigations, and veteran and military student services. But I also help the dean with any projects, tasks and committees where our team needs representation.

Your immediate impressions of MSU Denver?

This is not your average university. For a start, the campus itself – shared with two other colleges – is very distinctive. But the main reason this place appealed to me was, simply, the students. My past couple of roles were at more traditional, established colleges, so I’m especially excited about the prospect of working with lots of first generation students and a diverse population. That was a big factor in my coming here.

What are your main priorities?

One: Get to know the people I’m working with – and the broader campus community – really well. And two: I need to get quickly up to speed in all the areas I’m working on so I can start making a positive contribution.

What are major issues for students today?

Oh wow, where do we start? There are a lot of issues. One big uncertainty is how what is happening nationally on the political stage may impact our student population. In particular, it’s a scary time for our undocumented students so we need to be there to support them. Besides that, finances remain challenging for many students and student loan debt is a real issue. Then, there are the typical challenges that any campus will face, such as alcohol and drug abuse, and unsociable behavior.

What’s the main focus of your department?

As our website homepage says, we “help students be their best selves, stay the course, and succeed in school, career, and life.” We believe students benefit greatly from doing activities outside the classroom – it helps them both professionally and in terms of personal growth. That’s why it’s hugely important for us to have a close working relationship with faculty members, who can do so much to help push students our way. And if students are learning new things and growing in confidence, that’s a positive result for everybody.

What needs to happen before you can leave the office thinking, “This has been a good day.”

By the end of the day, you always want to feel that whomever you’ve been working with is in a better situation than they were at the beginning. But with this type of job, you never really leave thinking everything has been done. That’s probably part of the attraction, I suppose. It’s very challenging and demanding, but there’s also something different to do every day. You never get bored.

Outside interests?

I’m a crazy cat person, and my two felines Georgia and Lucy (who I adopted from a shelter) always keep me busy. And I’m also a big baseball fan. The glorious Cubs are my team, but I’ll have to see about adopting the Rockies now that I’ve moved to Denver.

Contact details or 303-556-4042

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