Skip to main content Skip to main content

Leaders look forward at Fall Welcome Back

State of the University event focuses on MSU Denver’s future through investment in and recognition of the people who make it all possible.

By Matt Watson

September 22, 2021

President Davidson addresses employee at Fall Welcome Back 2021, the annual state of the University event. Photo by Amanda SchwengelGratitude and optimism were the central themes for the presidential address at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Fall Welcome Back event Tuesday in the King Center.

President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., thanked faculty and staff for navigating the storm of the pandemic and finding innovative ways to deliver rigorous remote coursework and student supports. She acknowledged that all employees have gone above and beyond to make an in-person fall semester possible with more online classes and flexible work arrangements than the University has traditionally offered.

“I could go on and on naming names and teams, but I really am grateful to every single professor who adapted their curriculum on the fly and every administrator who learned to work in new ways during the pandemic. You are really, truly remarkable,” she said.

Davidson reiterated her early-September message on increased compensation for faculty and staff as the foundation for the University’s multiyear budget strategy of “recover, stabilize, build,” which starts with investing in people.

“By supporting you with the compensation you deserve, and the resources you need, we can all better support our students – which at the end of the day is the reason why we’re all here,” she said.

The University also plans to invest in administrative systems, robust marketing, an institutional fundraising campaign and reinforced institutional planning capacity to implement the vision of the 2030 Strategic Plan.

In a fireside chat between Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell, Ph.D., and Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Tatum emphasized the contributions of every faculty member, from tenure-track to affiliates.

“I see everyone who stands in front of our students as a key member of our institution,” he said. “Whatever supports we’re providing writ large, we want to make sure those supports are widespread and fully integrated into the fabric of this institution.”

The provost said he has an open-door policy, including an informal “Talk With Tatum at Twelve” event each Tuesday at noon and an ongoing listening tour with faculty members at each college and school.

“I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we insert our voices in powerful ways that shape the trajectory of this University,” he said.

Larry Sampler, vice president for Administration and Finance/chief operating officer, discussed MSU Denver’s outlook on flexible work in his conversation with Staff Senate President Rebecca Reid.

“Post-Covid, nobody’s going to expect to be back in the office five days a week, every week. Flexible work arrangements are part of the future,” he said.

Sampler said the University is going to put substantial effort this year into training and socializing employees, particularly supervisors, on how to make a hybrid-work team effective.

“We’ve collectively learned that you can’t do the mission if you don’t have the people,” he said. “And having people doesn’t just mean they show up; it means they show up committed, focused, inspired and thoughtful. We can’t do the mission if we don’t take care of the people.”

Champion awards

Davidson also recognized several MSU Denver Champions for their advocacy during the 2021 legislative session, which resulted in a 13.3% base funding increase and the passage of several priority bills that will benefit Coloradans.

Visit to become a Champion and receive regular updates about the University's legislative priorities and opportunities to advocate for MSU Denver.

‘Roadrunners Rise’ T-shirts

If you weren’t able to attend Welcome Back in person or did not receive a T-shirt, you can visit the Strategy, Marketing and Communications Office in Jordan Student Success Building Room 430 to pick one up at the following times:

  • Today | 8:30 a.m.-noon
  • Thursday | 8:30 a.m.-noon
  • Tuesday | 1-5 p.m.
  • Sept. 29 | 8:30 a.m.-noon

Topics: Community, Events, Inclusion, President Davidson

Edit this page