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Inside the President’s Cabinet

Members discuss proposed policies, AHEC Strategic Plan and Covid-19 safety.

By Lindsey Coulter

August 26, 2021

MSU Denver signThe Wednesday meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver President’s Cabinet was the first of the fall semester and the first to include Eric Mason, interim vice president for Strategy, Marketing and Communications, and Elizabeth Ribble, Ph.D., newly appointed Council of Chairs representative.

In welcoming those gathered virtually and in person, President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., shared her gratitude for the way the University community, including tri-institutional partners, has come together to support one another throughout the pandemic while continuing to prioritize student success. She also applauded all involved in planning the recent Faculty/Staff Mixer, Mug Club and Convocation events.

Davidson also reiterated the University’s vaccination requirement, verification processes and masking protocols, which are also outlined in today’s Early Bird article, and encouraged all unvaccinated Roadrunners to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“If you’re not vaccinated, unless you’re being told by your doctor that it’s not OK for you, I would highly encourage you to get the vaccine. It is the way through this,” Davidson said, adding that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Moving to the budget, Davidson noted the University’s success in advocating for increased funding from the state legislature, which will be dedicated to employee compensation as well as enrollment-driving marketing efforts. As undergraduate enrollment is down 11.24%, Davidson said to consider this academic year a time to recover, research, plan and refocus, recognizing that employees need the resources, compensation, culture, staffing support and physical infrastructure to succeed.

Covid-19 operational updates

Leone Dick, chief of staff to COO Larry Sampler, provided an overview of recent health, safety and operational updates related to protecting the MSU Denver community from Covid-19. Dick shared that the employee vaccine-verification rate is 60% and that the University is working hard to increase this number and to cross-reference student vaccine-verification information through the Colorado Immunization Information Database and other sources. Faculty members with concerns regarding student vaccinations, testing and potential positive cases can find FAQs and helpful resources in the Safe Return Faculty and Staff Guide.

As a reminder, all individuals on campus, including visitors, are expected to wear a face covering while indoors and to perform a daily health self-assessment prior to arrival. If you are feeling sick, do not come to campus. See the Safe Return Faculty and Staff Guide for guidelines around student mask noncompliance and more. New FAQs are also available to help members of the campus community understand important Covid-19 reporting and health protocols.

Policy presentations

Children and Minors Policy

This policy applies to protecting children who participate in University programs and activities, including academic courses, summer camps and conferences. The policy covers legal requirements regarding reporting of child abuse or neglect for MSU Denver employees, contractors and volunteers who work with children and minors; training requirements; and additional department/program procedures. The policy received unanimous approval from Cabinet members and will advance to the president for final approval.

Electronic Signatures Policy

The Electronic Signatures Policy outlines what is safe and permissible with regard to electronic signatures on University documents. The policy outlines the roles of Information Technology Services to vet software safety; General Counsel to determine appropriate use of electronic signatures; and the Office of the Registrar to manage student signatures and Human Resources to manage employee signatures, ultimately clarifying, streamlining and improving operations and processes. The policy received unanimous approval from Cabinet members and will advance to the president for final approval.

Staff Alternative Work Arrangement Policy

The Staff Alternative Work Arrangement Policy codifies greater accessibility to alternative work arrangements to address the need for consistency and structure. The policy reflects research on the impact of offering flexible and alternative work arrangements on employee satisfaction, engagement, recruitment, productivity and retention. Cabinet members asked questions about equitable application across the University spectrum, flexibility, guidelines, supervisor and team support, and more. The policy and the related guidelines document will undergo further review at the September Cabinet meeting.

AHEC Strategic Plan update

Amy Kern, professor of Industrial Design, presented the preview draft of the Auraria Higher Education Center Strategic Plan to gather feedback from MSU Denver stakeholders. The preliminary plan rests on three pillars: Experience Auraria, Expand Impact and Elevate Service. The plan expands on ways to get and keep people more engaged with the campus through improving common spaces and Wi-Fi, embracing the campus’ historical significance, considering alternative revenue streams, public-private partnership opportunities and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion. Feedback is welcome and encouraged.

Other updates

  • TEDxMSU Denver is Sept. 10 at the King Center. Reserve your tickets today as seating is limited.
  • The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson to lead the U.S. Southern Command, making the alumna of MSU Denver the second Army woman to achieve the rank of four-star general.
  • The UndocuHub presentation will be moved to the September Cabinet meeting.
  • MSU Denver is the 2021 winner of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Outstanding HACU-Member Institution Award.
  • Campus Climate Survey and Diversity Strategic Plan conversations will kick off this fall.
  • Please attend the Richard T. and Virginia M. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship events 7.
  • The next Board of Trustees meetings are Sept. 2-3.
  • Last fiscal year, the Advancement team exceeded its fundraising goal of $5.5 million to raise $6.6 million. The team’s goal for the current fiscal year is $7 million, and it expects to exceed this number.
  • Save the date for Homecoming on Sept. 27-Oct. 2.
  • See this Early Bird article, which outlines new Staff Senate leadership.
  • Graduate-student enrollment is up 1% from last fall.
  • The University’s total head count for this fall is just fewer than 18,000 students.
  • Check out another great season of Roadrunner Athletics.
  • The Roadrunners Who Soar Awards will be held Oct. 7.
  • Please continue to be vigilant with regard to suspicious emails and forward all potential phishing emails to

Topics: Inclusive leadership, President’s Cabinet

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