Jennifer Sobanet joined CU Denver on July 1, 2016 and currently serves as CU Denver’s Executive Vice Chancellor of Administration and Strategy.
Jennifer’s role expanded in Spring 2021 to include leading CU Denver’s strategic plan implementation, catalyzing strategic partnerships and innovation, and aligning the university’s resources to achieve its vision. While continuing to be accountable for the administrative and financial strategy of the university, she leads the university’s work in incubating, resourcing, and operationalizing its strategic initiatives, as well as developing new corporate, community and public/non-profit partnerships, with a strong emphasis on public-private partnerships, that elevate CU Denver’s research and creative works, teaching and learning, student experiences and success, and community impact. She oversees efforts to reimagine CU Denver’s space and place given its unique location in downtown Denver and actualize the vision through public-private partnerships and other innovative financing strategies.
Previously, as Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business Operations and Chief Financial Officer, Jennifer led the development of the university’s new incentive-based budget model, which rewards financial growth and reallocation of resources to innovative financial strategies. Jennifer also established the Office of Strategic Impact to support operational and performance enhancements by growing leadership effectiveness, breaking down functional silos, aligning resources, encouraging learning, facilitating stakeholder engagement and developing a shared mindset for continuous improvement and innovation. Also under her leadership, a public-private partnership (P3) procurement process occurred to explore options for the first-year student housing project, City Heights, which opened in August 2021. Jennifer’s work has been instrumental to the creation of CU Denver’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, as well as the Auraria Campus Capital Renewal Project.
Before her tenure with CU Denver, Jennifer served as Acting Executive Director and COO of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. In this role, she led the State’s development of higher education academic, student, and financial policy, bringing a focus on access, equity, and closing the equity gap. She also designed the State’s first performance-funding model for public institutions of higher education to help increase postsecondary completion and led the State’s higher education policy work on aligning workforce supply and demand and developing experiential learning opportunities for all students. She served as the Governor’s appointee to the Business Experiential Learning Commission.
Prior to joining the Department, she served as CFO and VP of Finance and Administration at Front Range Community College and held strategy, finance, and legislative positions at Colorado State University Global Campus and the Colorado Community College System. She also served as Economist and Budget Analyst in Governor Roy Romer’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting. Jennifer also brings valuable private-sector experience, as she spent nearly a decade in management consulting and corporate finance before focusing on public higher education.
Jennifer graduated summa cum laude from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She earned a master’s degree in international studies, with concentrations in Latin America and Spanish, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute and holds an MBA in international financial management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Outside of work, Jennifer is involved in the local community. She has served as Treasurer and Vice Chair for Goodwill Industries of Denver Board of Directors and is a member of the Leadership Denver Class of 2014. She enjoys yoga, tries to get in a run each day, and loves spending time in the mountains hiking, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing.