Skip to main content Skip to main content

Inside the President’s Cabinet

Advisory Council leaders share achievements and recommendations, plus an extra day off for employees at Nov. 7 meeting.

By Dan Vaccaro

November 8, 2018

Cabinet membersCouldn’t make it to the President’s Cabinet meeting Wednesday? The Early Bird has you covered. Here are the highlights.

The primary focus of this month’s meeting was a robust discussion around the work of the President’s Advisory Councils over the past academic year. The goal was to share insights on what has been accomplished and to make recommendations for the future of each council.

President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., began by thanking the council leads for their work and presenting them with a small token of her gratitude.

The leads then delivered their reports, which are linked in each subhead below. The high-level takeaways from each council were as follows:    

Academic Excellence and Student Success

Leads: Jeff Loats, Ph.D., director, Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, and Angela Marquez, Ph.D., special assistant to the president for HSI

This council spent the past year working to determine whether academic departments should be realigned to better level workloads and best reflect and market the University’s mission. After gathering substantial data and collecting community feedback, results were presented to the president, provost and other leaders. At the Academic Affairs/Student Affairs Fall 2018 Assembly on Sept. 19, Provost Vicki Golich, Ph.D., and Loats presented the findings and shared four potential realignment models.

The Provost’s Office is collecting feedback on these models. Departments were sent questions to answer, and responses are due Nov. 16.

Council leaders recommended that a new steering committee be elected to tackle three additional topics: transfer issues, academic effectiveness, and career and college connections. Stay tuned to the Early Bird for more information on nominating new leadership for this council.

Built Environment and Infrastructure

Leads: Elizabeth R. Hinde, Ph.D., dean, School of Education, and Tina Wells, director of Facilities Planning and Space Management

Co-leads Hinde and Wells recapped some of the impressive work this council has tackled in the past year, which included the following outcomes:

  • A renewed sense of commitment to infrastructure challenges, particularly in the shared core.
  • Audits of 800,000 square feet of internal campus space to determine what needs to be updated and improved. Wells is putting together an interior-space improvement plan.
  • Creation of a housing task force that is assessing the housing needs of students, faculty and staff. The University has contracted with a consultant to gather data from stakeholders. If the data support a need, as expected, the council will look to partner with a variety of organizations on creative housing solutions.

The group hopes to continue to build on the positive momentum it has created. Wells will remain as a co-lead. Hinde will step down as co-lead of the council but will remain a member of the housing task force. Nominations for a new co-lead will be shared in the Early Bird in the coming week.

Culture and Workplace

Lead: Layton Seth Curl, Ph.D., president, Council of Chairs, chair and professor, Department of Psychology

Curl shared some of the group’s successes, such as expanded tuition benefits and maternity/paternity leave for employees. He also reported that the council is on hiatus for the fall semester but that members have identified some of the topics they were excited to address. Chief among those were salary and compensation, work/life balance and advancement opportunities for employees.

The council will be sustained to give the community a place to bring ideas and suggestions. Curl will step down as lead. A call for council-leadership nominations will be sent out in the Early Bird in the next week. 

Fiscal Responsibility

Leads: Rey Hernández-Julián, Ph.D., professor and interim associate dean, College of Business, and George Middlemist, Ph.D., interim vice president for Administration

The Fiscal Responsibility council’s report led to a conversation about how its work can and should support the Budget Task Force without creating redundancies. Davidson tasked co-leads Hernández-Julián and Middlemist with creating two models for how the council could proceed. The goal is to ensure that the campus community has a voice in responsible fiscal planning, while also creating a more specific charge for the BTF. The two models will be presented at the December Cabinet meeting for further discussion. 


Leads: Anthony Grant, Ph.D., director of Athletics, and Matthew Makley, Ph.D., president, Faculty Senate, and professor, Department of History

The Strategy council’s focus will be on two themes: 1) Who are we as a University right now? and 2) Who do we want to be? The council will collaborate with Vice President of Strategy Cathy Lucas in developing the 2025 Strategic Plan.

The council also announced it will host David Gaspers, principal city planner for the City and County of Denver, on campus next week to discuss Blueprint Denver and how the plan could affect the University. The event will be held Wednesday from 8:30-10 a.m. in the CAVEA (JSSB 420). Contact Makley for more details.

University Policy

Leads: Nick Stancil, deputy general counsel, and Sheila Rucki, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Political Science

Having presented its work at the last President’s Cabinet meeting, policy council co-leads Stancil and Rucki focused on the road ahead. They recommended that the council in its current incarnation be sunset and instead transition to a group focused on the daily operations of policymaking. The Cabinet approved the recommendation. 

Other updates:

  • Associate to the President for Diversity Myron Anderson, Ph.D., shared that the second Inclusive Leadership Summit was a great success with more than 150 participants.
  • Lucas reported that the University’s latest brand audit will be presented to different constituent groups across campus for the rest of the semester.
  • Lucas also shared that the Strategy Branch is developing legislative talking points that will be available to the entire community to ensure a consistent message.
  • Curl announced that he will be stepping down from his role as the president of the Council of Chairs and therefore will no longer serve on the President’s Cabinet.
  • Stancil introduced the new director of Equal Opportunity, Raúl Sánchez.
  • Middlemist reported that one-time stipends will be included in November paychecks.
  • Middlemist also shared that MSU Denver will use the governor’s holiday to close the University on Dec. 24. The day after Thanksgiving is an official MSU Denver holiday as of last year, so the University will be closed that day as well.
  • Evan Bowles, president of the Council of Administrators Steering Committee, shared that the COA and Classified Staff Council are moving forward with the plan to merge the two groups. The next step is to draft bylaws.  
  • Vice President of Student Affairs Will Simpkins, Ed.D., shared that last weekend’s Open House was a great success, drawing 425 prospective students and more than 1,000 people total.
  • Grant invited the community to the first home games for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, Nov. 16-17.

For those who can’t attend Cabinet meetings, you can always listen online. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 19 from 9:30-11 a.m. in JSSB 400.  

Edit this page