Michelle A. Marks, PhD

Chancellor, University of Colorado Denver

Michelle Marks

Since joining CU Denver in July 2020, Chancellor Michelle Marks has pursued an ambitious vision for the future of CU Denver and its impact as a leading urban public research university.

An innovator dedicated to making higher education equitable for the good of society, Dr. Marks believes the urgent national need for equitable education, amplified in this time of great societal challenge, demands long-term solutions. She is leading CU Denver to address long-standing structural inequities through a reimagined approach to lifelong learning.  

Dr. Marks began her tenure at CU Denver with a 100-day listening tour and continues to listen through ongoing engagement with the university community. In fall 2020, she convened an Equity Task Force to address long-term equity issues at the university, and in spring 2021 she committed $4 million to support its roadmap for CU Denver to become an exemplar equity-serving institution.

Dr. Marks led the university in a highly collaborative, ambitious strategic planning process, completed in June 2021. CU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan promotes social mobility and workforce sustainability through an evolved vision of an equity serving institution. It outlines goals for advancing research and creative work, developing an open innovation in downtown Denver, and being known as the university for life, among others.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Marks led academic innovation and new ventures at George Mason University. There, she pioneered the ADVANCE pathways program, a new collaborative paradigm that united high school, community college, university, and corporate partners to create an extended learning community offering students and families affordable access to superior education and employment opportunities. 

Dr. Marks has dedicated her career to the study of leadership and team effectiveness. As a professor of management in GMU’s School of Business, her research focused on organizational leadership development and teamwork. Dr. Marks has been recognized for leadership throughout her career, culminating in such awards as the George Mason University Alumni of the Year Award (2017), Executive MBA Professor of the Year award (2008 and 2011), and Teaching Excellence Award (2006). She holds a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from George Mason University.

In addition to her chancellor role, Dr. Marks is also a tenured full professor in CU Denver’s Business School. She currently serves on the boards of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Denver Education Compact, and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU), part of the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities.