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New councils set to revolutionize University

By Dan Vaccaro

November 14, 2017

MSU Denver signIn September, President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., set the University community abuzz when she announced her idea to create advisory councils to tackle the high-priority challenges facing the University. Yesterday, she provided more detail about those councils at the President’s Cabinet meeting.

There will be six universitywide advisory councils tasked with providing recommendations to the cabinet. The framework for each council was created using information gathered at prioritization meetings held in October as well as through Davidson’s conversations with members of the campus community and local leaders.

Davidson noted that the councils will be comprised of people from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and expertise, in order to generate a diversity of ideas.

“This is a giant organization with an amazing pool of talented people,” she said. “We are going to make better decisions to move the University forward if we leverage the creative, brilliant energy from people across the community.”

The councils and their leaders are as follows:   

  • Strategy (lead: Matt Makley; co-lead: Anthony Grant)
  • Academic Excellence and Student Success (lead: Jeff Loats; co-lead: Angela Marquez)
  • Culture and Workplace (lead: Layton Curl; co-lead: Josh Mackey)
  • Built Environment and Infrastructure (lead: Liz Hinde; co-lead: Tina Wells)
  • University Policy Group (lead: Nick Stancil; co-lead: Sheila Rucki)
  • Fiscal Responsibility (lead: Rey Hernandez; co-lead: Dino Hernandez)

The next step in this process will be a public comment period. All members of the community are strongly encouraged to read the framework document, which includes the initial tasks for each council, and offer comment by Nov. 20. You can also sign up to volunteer for a council using the same form.

“I always say that decisions are made by the people who show up,” Davidson said. “It’s my job to give you opportunities to raise your voice and be heard. It’s your job to show up.”

Once the comment period is complete, revisions will be made to the framework by Dec. 1. The councils will officially begin their work following final approval at the next cabinet meeting Dec. 11. 

The first task for the leaders of each council will be to come up with a charter and build a core team that is diverse and relevant to the task at hand. Per Davidson’s recommendation, core teams should be “small enough to think nimbly but large enough to be reflective of our community.” The deadline for those tasks is Jan. 16.

Once the councils move from the concept phase, timelines and goals will be fleshed out in greater detail.

Davidson also emphasized that these councils are not meant to replace the shared governance structures already in place at the University, but to complement them. In fact, the recommendations made by the Shared Governance Taskforce will be integrated into the work of the new advisory councils.

The councils are also intended to be flexible, with the ability to tackle new issues as they arise. Davidson said she fully expects that in two years the councils will be working on challenges that are different from those with which they started.

“We will continue to adapt as we move forward,” she said. “These councils are not perfect, and they will change as we change. But the overall goal remains the same – to get all of us on one side and our issues on the other.”

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