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Inside the President's Cabinet

Transfer Process Task Force launch, enrollment update and strategic planning process among highlights from Wednesday meeting.

By Cory Phare

August 15, 2019

A room shot from the Aug. 14 President's Cabinet meetingMetropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., welcomed attendees to the first President’s Cabinet meeting of the 2019-20 academic year Wednesday in the Jordan Student Success Building. 

“It’s exciting to be back – we’ve got a big year ahead of us, and I appreciate everyone’s leadership,” Davidson said.

Liz Hinde, Ph.D., discussed the launch of the Transfer Process Task Force, which will help address the time it takes to evaluate transcripts for students who want to transfer to MSU Denver, among other concerns.

The stated goals of the initiative include 90% of transcripts to be reviewed within one week, with a target start date of June 2020; other elements of the initiative are anticipated to be completed sooner. Currently, the processing wait time is 6-plus weeks.

Hinde addressed the need to collaboratively build on previous efforts described as “quick fixes” for a long-term systemic answer.

“We know there’s a solution and that the expertise lies in both academic and student affairs – we need each other and can’t solve this issue on our own,” she said. “That’s where this initiative comes in. We want to be a national model for systemic transfer success.”

Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, gave an update on enrollment statistics.  As of Wednesday, enrollment was 3.1% lower than at this point last year. He noted that the decline is the result of a combination of economic factors such as a strong job market along with declining community-college enrollments.

He also thanked everyone for helping to combat these trends. “We’ve got a lot of enrollment strategies in place that have really made a difference – calling campaigns, targeted communications and more,” he said.

Cathy Lucas, chief of staff and vice president of strategy, provided an update on the ongoing strategic planning process. The Strategic Planning Team has spent the summer gathering data from one-on-one interviews and group meetings with faculty/staff and external constituents. The feedback will be synthesized into themes, which will then be developed into concept papers and shared at a visioning conference in late September.

Following this, the concept papers will be posted online for comment from the community. The finalized strategic plan is slated to be presented to the Board of Trustees in the spring before going live in July.

Lucas also noted the upcoming Brand Launch Week, in which the University’s refreshed brand identity will be celebrated at two events: the President’s Welcome Back breakfast, taking place Sept. 10 (more details to follow in the Early Bird), along with the highly anticipated TEDx MSU Denver event Sept. 12. Faculty and staff can still purchase tickets for $10.

Other business items included:

  • An introduction of the new leaders for three revamped Presidential Advisory Councils:
    • Academic Excellence and Student Success: Matt Forcella, academic advisor, and Kristy Lyons, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychology.
    • Culture and Workplace: Bill Carnes, professor of Management, and John Kietzmann, associate director for marketing and promotions/external relations in Athletics.
    • Built Environment and Infrastructure: Amy Kern, assistant professor of Industrial Design, and Jeno Balogh, Department of Engineering and Engineering Technology.
  • Sheila Rucki, Ph.D., professor of political science; and Nick Stancil, deputy general counsel, provided updates of three proposed University policies:
    • A board-level policy on how the president is reviewed, based on duties within the job description and that asks trustees to solicit input from University constituents.
    • Two presidential-level policies, one that added language to reinforce not using confidential information in emails from a cybersecurity perspective, and another looking at publicly available space that dovetails with previous policy on freedom of speech.
  • President of the Student Government Assembly Danielle Holmes shared that SGA is producing a podcast on community events and issues that affect students.
  • President of the Faculty Senate Katia Campbell, Ph.D., said initial conversation in the upcoming year will include policies on intellectual property and freedom of speech, and noted the importance of the faculty role in retention and enrollment.
  • Simpkins provided an update on the C2 Hub. The visioning process for a new facility kicked off in June, and open meetings on the subject will continue through the fall semester.
  • Provost Vicki Golich, Ph.D., acknowledged the positive work of the General Studies Renovation Task Force, which continues and will affect the transfer-success initiatives. She also updated attendees on final stages of the search for an associate vice president of Curriculum and Academic Effectiveness.
  • Hinde noted that the School of Education has raised approximately $200,000 for its trauma-informed-practices initiative; the school is also undertaking efforts for state reauthorization to ensure teacher-licensure success, she said.
  • Director of Athletics Anthony Grant, Ph.D., announced two new coaches: Hank Lewis will lead the men’s soccer team, while Nicholas Lara will serve as the head coach of the men’s and women’s cross-country teams.
  • Lucas called attention to the process of posting agendas to the President’s Cabinet SharePoint site the Friday prior to meetings; agendas and minutes will still be posted to the public-facing webpage following this.
  • Larry Sampler, vice president of Administration and Finance and chief operating officer introduced new hires Stacy Dvergsdal, AVP of Human Resources; and Mark Wilson, emergency-preparedness manager.
  • Davidson noted that Lucas, Foundation Board of Directors member Marti Awad and Trustee Wendy Dominguez are finalists in the Denver Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business Awards. “We’re all rooting for you,” Davidson said.

Topics: Enrollment, President Davidson, President’s Cabinet

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