July 1, 2020
I arrived in town last week and the glorious Denver weather has matched the excitement I feel about getting to work with such an extraordinary community. Your passion for students and their success resonates deeply with me, and I appreciate that as a research institution, you’ve never lost sight of your commitment to access and equity.
I’d like to start by thanking Chancellor Emerita Dorothy Horrell for her leadership and her compassion, and for leaving the institution in such a strong position for the future. Personally, I so appreciate the many hours she spent with me this spring in support of a smooth transition.
Just since the announcement of my appointment in March, the world has changed. The COVID-19 public health and economic crises have brought hardship to so many; they also pose a never-before-faced set of challenges to higher education. At the same time, there is a strong call for accountability on issues of racial justice and equity. It’s an understatement to say that these are difficult times, and the burden of these challenges has not fallen equally among us.
There is no doubt in my mind that we can—and must—rise to meet these challenges. Our students, our city, and our nation are counting on CU Denver to be a force for good that betters our society and our planet. This moment provides a real opportunity for us to come together as a university to chart a path toward real and lasting change.
I start my tenure knowing that I still have a lot to learn. But I am fortunate to have you, a campus community of committed and talented individuals, to help me understand the landscape and bring ideas for the future. For any future vision to be compelling, it must be crafted together.
Help Chart Our Course for the Future
Today I’m announcing the launch of a 100 Days of Listening campaign, for me to hear from the CU Denver community about the university’s values, culture, programs, partnerships, what’s working well and what can be improved. I invite you to share your perspectives either in virtual meetings or through an online form. I hope to meet as many of you as possible.
My first 10 days of listening—from now through July 10—will focus on equity, with a particular emphasis on racial justice (see the schedule and sign-up at the end of this email). After that the discussion will be broadened to topics of your choice.
My motivation as an academic leader stems from a personal belief that education is the key to social equity and economic progress and, indeed, can change the world. I know that for Denver and beyond, CU Denver is a critical asset to strengthening our economy and lifting up the lives of our students, their families, and our community.
I am honored to serve this institution. In working with you, I commit to being candid, transparent, and inclusive. I will listen and welcome your input, especially your innovative ideas. While this is a moment of change, we will navigate through it successfully
by holding close our commitment to our core mission and values. We are stronger together.
Join one of the following equity and racial justice listening sessions to share your perspective directly with me:
Please register here to join a listening session. You may also provide written feedback
On July 20, I will report back to you with our next steps for action.