After eight years in the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) where she served as an associate dean for student affairs and assistant professor, Jan Gascoigne, PhD, is now transitioning into a new role as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs in the CU Anschutz Office of Campus Student Services (OCSS). It’s a brand new position developed by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Raul Cardenas, PhD, in collaboration with the deans and associate deans of the CU Anschutz schools and colleges to provide OCSS with “big picture” leadership for the first time. Gascoigne’s looking forward to the opportunity to provide OCSS with a bigger vision in order to provide CU Anschutz students with improved support. To get to know Gascoigne better, “The Connection” recently asked her a series of questions.
The Connection: It’s obvious that you bring a lot of enthusiasm into this new role. What’s sparking it?
It’s exciting to be the first person in this role. I’m looking forward to leading some new student initiatives with the Office of Campus Student Services staff and building on the programs already in place. Great work is happening in the office and all over campus and this new role has the opportunity to facilitate conversations between
the schools and colleges and connect the dots so that our student services are seamless. I see the office creating opportunities for everyone to work together across campus with an eye on excellence in student services.
The Connection: What about this position is suited to your background and skills. Why were you drawn to it?
My experience is unique in that all of my professional positions to date have been newly developed roles that were initiated because there was an identified need to address gaps or enhance services. I enjoy the process of creating something new by collaborating with different constituents and capitalizing on current work
while identifying gaps. Our work in OCSS will be focused on student success, student satisfaction and student support.
The Connection: You’re already very familiar with the Division of Student Affairs which must be an asset. You’ve worked closely with Raul and were part of the planning committee for our recent Student Affairs conference.
I was really proud to be part of the committee and the conference. I’d attended the conference in the past and since it was going to be held at CU Anschutz for the first time, I wanted to contribute to making it a success and impactful for all participants. The experience showed me how talented and committed to excellence my new colleagues are. As far as Raul, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with him while I was an associate dean in
the ColoradoSPH. He’s respected nationally as a leader in student affairs and I’m delighted to join his team because they follow his lead and are passionate student advocates.
The Connection: We hear you’re a bit of an adventurer?
Jan Gascoigne: You heard right! My partner Melanie Johnson and I love to travel. Tanzania, Cambodia, the Amazon River, Galapagos Islands. We even summited Mount Kilimanjaro. But our biggest adventure may be the journey we’ve been on with our rescue golden retriever Charlie. When we took him to Feisty Fido class to see if he could learn how to behave a little better on a leash, he was awful. He did come home with a diploma, but just barely!
The Connection: Sounds like if you can handle Charlie, you can handle just about anything. So, what’s first as you start this new step in your career adventure?
Jan Gascoigne: Listening. I’ve already started meeting with our many campus constituents, especially students. I want to learn from them what we’re doing well, where we need to improve and what things we’re not currently doing but should be. These conversations will help me get grounded in what’s currently happening in order to identify and prioritize student needs and issues. Collaboration will be key and I expect that my lesson learned with the three universities in the ColoradoSPH, CU, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, will serve me and our CU Anschutz students well.