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An unprecedented audit, next steps on new majors and a look at the CDHE master plan among highlights from Board of Trustees meetings Dec. 7-8.

By Dan Vaccaro

December 11, 2017

Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D., executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, addresses the MSU Denver Board of Trustees on Dec. 8.
Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D., executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, addresses the MSU Denver Board of Trustees on Dec. 8.

MSU Denver’s Board of Trustees held its final meetings of the year on Dec. 7-8.

In case you couldn’t make one of the public sessions, here are a few of the highlights.

CDHE master plan
Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D., executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, gave a presentation on the state’s master plan. The plan, titled “Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development” was released in September and includes four goals: increasing credential completion, erasing the equity gap, improving student success and investing in affordability and innovation.

The plan sets a statewide goal of 66 percent post-high school credential attainment by 2025. That includes four-year and two-year degrees as well as certificates. Hunter Reed noted that right now only 55 percent of the population meets that goal.

“We have some work to do,” she said. “I know that MSU Denver will be a strong partner in that work.”

Trustees echoed that sentiment in the Q&A portion of the presentation. Trustee Barbara Grogan put it this way: “MSU Denver is going to be your strongest partner. We don’t need to change a thing, just need to do more, and we can help the state accomplish its goals.”

Hunter Reed has visited nearly every university in the state this year, conducting roundtable discussions with students, in particular, first-generation students. She said that in her conversations the three most important factors for keeping first-generation students in school are a sense of belonging, personal engagement and relevance of degrees to careers.

She also noted the narrative about higher education has shifted from being seen as a public good to a private good, meaning that people see the investment in education as something an individual can benefit from, but have forgotten how higher education benefits the community as a whole.

She called on the board and those in attendance to “make your voices heard about the importance of this investment.”

Best audit ever?
No news is good news, especially when it comes to audits. By those standards, MSU Denver’s 2016-17 audit was stellar. In fact, Steve Kreidler, vice president for administration and finance, called it the “best audit” he’s ever been able to present.

Professional services firm CliftonLarsonAllen conducted the audit and reported no findings or recommendations for the current year. All prior year recommendations had been implemented and all issues were resolved.

“We have an audit that is clean in terms of integrity,” said Kreidler. “Our financial position is slightly better as are our indicators. Overall, 2016-17 was a very good year for the University in those aspects.”

Board changes
Michelle Lucero completed her term as board chair, having served in the role since 2014. Jack Pogge, who had been serving as vice chair, was named chair, and Barbara Grogan became vice chair.

President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., thanked Lucero for her service. “I can’t imagine having a better chair, better partner, during my transition,” Davidson said. “Your passion and energy have been infectious, and are a part of what lured me here. I’m glad that you’ll stay on the board, as you have done so much for this organization, and you will continue to do that in 2018 and beyond.”

Coming soon to a classroom near you
Several new degrees, minors and certificates came closer to fruition by garnering Phase One Review approval from the board.

Proposed degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism, a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts in History with secondary social studies licensure and a culturally and linguistically diverse teaching focus.

Two new minors were also approved in lifestyle medicine and sport management. The proposed certificate is in unmanned aerial systems.

The next steps will be to report to the CDHE and the Higher Learning Commission, and add the courses to the upcoming fall 18-19 catalog for a fall 18 implementation.

Health Institute update
Jenn Capps, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Professional Studies, gave an update on the Health Institute. The University is moving forward with the project and will implement a phased launch plan starting in January.

Emily Matuszewicz, who is currently serving as chair of the Department of Health Professions, will become the interim director of the institute.

The plan is to start with low to no-cost initiatives like the creation of a permanent advisory board and user-friendly website that integrates all health-related majors, as well as putting together events for students and alumni in health fields. Growing the Healthcare Interest Program and the University’s partnership with Denver Health is another important component of phase one. HIP is a mentoring program for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Capps also noted that the plan calls for a strategic advising approach for students that provides guidance in more than just coursework, but also includes financial aid and career planning.

Students get their audit on
Five student groups from the College of Business shared findings from their internal audits. This annual project is part of the Internal Audit Projects class.

Students conducted research, investigated risks and provided recommendations on the following topics: Universitywide risk, admissions and recruiting, sales tax, the student affairs board and the tuition window incentive (12-18 pay the same).

Keep your eye on the Insider for an in-depth story on this unique course.

Roadrunners can fly
A presentation on educational excellence highlighted MSU Denver’s flight teams. The Aerobatics and Glider team finished first in the nation in only its second year of competition, beating out eight-time national champion the University of North Dakota and the Air Force Academy.

The Precision Flight team placed third in its regional competition and will attend nationals in May.

Bill Jones, a member of the precision flight team, described his learning experience in this way: “The beauty of aviation is that if you push a little higher, you will be able to fly a little higher than the rest. There is a direct reward proportional to what you put into it.”

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