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Raul's Report

​​Preparing for what's next 

We’re off and running, well into this new spring semester. Some people would say we’re “settling back in” to our routines, but I’ve never liked that term. To me, it just sounds passive and implies that our work environment is stagnant and unchanged. And, that’s certainly not the way I’d describe the days we spend at CU Denver and CU Anschutz. Around here, we’ve got to stay on our toes and be prepared for whatever comes at us, so I’d prefer to say that we’re moving forward and charging ahead.

New directions at CU Anschutz    

At CU Anschutz our new Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jan Gascoigne, PhD, is taking her knowledge of the campus and the connections she made as an associate dean for student affairs and assistant professor in the Colorado School of Public Health and is leading her Office of Campus Student Services staff in new directions. Discussions with key stakeholders, especially with our students, have led to an ongoing review of processes and procedures and streamlined options are being considered.

CU Denver chancellor begins year two

On a much larger scale at CU Denver, 2016 brought us a new chancellor who came in determined to listen and get to know us. Since completing her listening tour, Dorothy Horrell, PhD, has kept us thinking and reflecting
about where we’re headed. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year! In that time, Chancellor Horrell, listened, outlined 
five priorities for the university and set up working groups that have become action groups.

Leadership from student affairs colleagues

Horrell’s highest priority is elevating student success. So, it’s no surprise that our Division of Student Affairs staff is well-represented in all of the action groups. I’m proud to say that your colleagues are right in the middle of the conversations, taking a leadership role in the collaborative effort the chancellor has set in motion. By design, the groups’ members bridge the gaps between academic affairs and student affairs and they’ve been tasked with going beyond discussion and finding ways to put thoughts into positive actions for our students.

Our team members are thought leaders in this process, helping to guide the university’s future by putting the student experience first. I’ve been involved with the groups, I’ve seen them in action, and I’ve been impressed with everyone who’s taken on the challenge to be part of the process. When the call to action went out, they responded with an eagerness and willingness that’s been cool to see.

We all have a voice

While your colleagues represent all of us at this new table, they bring our thoughts and ideas along with them. That gives us all a voice and makes each of us a contributor to the discussions and eventual actions. In the end, the future direction of CU Denver won’t be decided from the top down, it will be guided by all of us through this collaborative effort.


I think the takeaway for me from this past year is that Chancellor Horrell said her focus is student success and she’s followed it up with her actions. All we could ask is that our division be part of the conversation and that has happened. I can feel the optimism, and I hope you can, too.

Each time I begin a new semester, I take time to reflect back on our progress. And, I’m happy to report that no one is “settling” when it comes to student affairs. With new leadership and new ideas at both CU Denver and CU Anschutz, we’re beginning to see a lot more attention and support for student affairs and that gives us all a reason to smile.

Together, we’ll keep moving forward and our students thank you for that.  


Raul Cardenas, PhD, Vice Chancellor, CU Denver | Anschutz Division of Student Affairs


Please contact Bonnie Hixson​ to schedule a time to meet​​​

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