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Staff Senate recap

Members offer feedback on AHEC Strategic Plan and share committee updates.

By Lindsey Coulter

September 20, 2021

Aerial view of campus and downtown Denver.Staff Senate Vice President Jeremy Van Hooser began the group’s meeting Tuesday by inviting officers and senators to fill a representation vacancy. Upon reaching quorum, senators voted to add Rebecca Dobbin, program assistant and travel manager for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, to join the body as an at-large senator.

AHEC Strategic Plan

The group then welcomed Amy Kern, associate professor of Industrial Design, who shared a draft of the Auraria Higher Education Center Strategic Plan for feedback. Kern noted AHEC’s desire to move from campus “landlord” to liaison and steward, as evidenced by a strategy map that focuses on three pillars: Experience Auraria, Expand Impact and Elevate Service.

To help stakeholders and community members to “Experience Auraria,” the Strategic Plan outlines goals to enhance the student experience by improving common spaces (particularly in the Tivoli Student Union) by adding amenities that will increase use and engagement. Among these planned amenities are a hair-and-nail salon, shipping services and a greater variety of food vendors. The plan also includes creating a stronger sense of belonging and making the campus a community destination through embracing the land’s unique shared history, hosting festivals and events such as farmers markets and art fairs, and exploring other innovative funding models and development opportunities.

The plan proposes to honor and celebrate the campus’ history by working with the Northern Arapahoe tribe to construct a recognition garden in the Tivoli Quad; engage in reconciliation through a land acknowledgment and establish the Auraria Foundation to increase grant and philanthropic funding. Other goals include creating a business-development plan to explore enhancing partnerships with revenue potential; creating a modern workforce to carry out statutory duties and guarantee the sustainability and financial security of campus; and refining the campus’ identity and developing a brand that reflects its mission.

Meanwhile, elevating service will likely focus on steps such as enhancing campus stewardship, optimizing use of space and developing a shared commitment for the maintenance and modernization of common spaces to benefit recruitment and retention at each institution. Improving common spaces through increased partner collaboration and modernizing tech infrastructure (particularly the Wi-Fi in the Tivoli Student Union and Auraria Library) are also in the plan.

The Strategic Plan is set to launch by the beginning of 2022.

Kern also asked senators to share one thing AHEC could do to improve their individual campus experiences. Responses included:

  • Establishing more permanent tent structures for outdoor events on the Tivoli Quad.
  • Ensuring that events hosted on campus are available to students and are not cost-prohibitive.
  • Increasing variety in terms of food vendors and physical places to eat.
  • Increasing housing options closer to campus and on campus.
  • Improved signage and interactive-map options.
  • Better promoting and use of the SpringHill Suites hotel.
  • Improving accessibility along 9th Street and in the West Classroom building.
  • Offering improved event spaces that are dedicated to campus users.

Roadrunners can provide additional anonymous feedback online.

Committee round robin

  • Learn more about the recently approved Phase II budget in President Janine Davidson’s letter to employees.
  • The Senate Policy Review Committee is considering next steps for the Safer Spaces Resolution, increasing policy-library visibility, and establishing processes for Staff Senate members serving on University committees and voting on behalf of the body.
  • Stay tuned to the Staff Senate SharePoint page for important reminders and more information on upcoming events.
  • The Staff Excellence Awards will be included in the upcoming Roadrunners Who Soar Awards Ceremony on Oct. 14.
  • The Senate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is researching related professional-development opportunities.


  • Follow the Early Bird this week for a series of stories celebrating Hispanic-Serving Institution Week and Latinx Heritage Month.
  • Mark your calendars for Homecoming week Sept. 27-Oct. 2.

Topics: Events, Inclusive leadership, Staff Senate

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