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Inside the President’s Cabinet

By Dan Vaccaro

June 12, 2018

President's Cabinet meetingCouldn’t make it to the June 11 President’s Cabinet meeting? The Early Bird has you covered. Here are the highlights.

Tuition benefit even more beneficial

Starting this fall, eligible Metropolitan State University of Denver employees and their spouses/dependents can take advantage of a significantly enhanced tuition-benefit program.

Changes include:

  • An increase in the number of credits that can be taken, from six per fiscal year to nine per academic semester for eligible employees taking undergraduate courses.
  • Degree-seeking eligible employees will be able to register during the regular registration period as described by their student status. 
  • A 100 percent undergraduate tuition waiver will be offered to the spouse and dependents of eligible employees for up to 12 credits per academic semester.

These enhancements were recommended by the Employee Tuition Benefits Committee on the Budget Task Force and are a direct response to results from the MSU Denver employee survey. More details will be provided in the Early Bird as soon as they are available.   

Partnership to expand professional development opportunities

The University is partnering with Academic Impressions to offer more professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.

Amit Mrig, president of Academic Impressions, says the partnership will allow the University to better align its strategic priorities with professional development opportunities. He noted that 71 percent of employees in higher education report that they’d be more likely to stay at their job if they had access to such opportunities.

The partnership allows all MSU Denver employees access to a suite of online resources and provides 25 seats at national conferences, plus follow-up coaching after those events to help employees share and implement what they have learned.

For Josh Mackey, director of Human Resources, the partnership is about leveraging the expertise of a local company with a national reach that can help support the professional development team in his area. Mackey said the University is trying to create a culture of “learning and growth” and that this collaboration is a step in that direction.

Latest news from the advisory councils

The co-leads for two of the President’s Advisory Councils shared their work from the spring semester.

Liz Hinde, dean of the School of Education, and Tina Wells, director of facilities planning and space management, gave an update from the Built Environment and Infrastructure Advisory Council (PDF). Their presentation included an overview of the campus assessment conducted by the group, results from a campuswide survey and several recommendations.

Next steps for the council will be to update the Built Environment Master Plan to provide short- and long-term direction based on academic priorities, use space audits to develop an interior space improvement action plan and assess learning environments for inclusivity. 

Jeffrey Loats, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, and Angela Marquez, special assistant to the president for HSI, presented on behalf of the Academic Excellence and Student Success Advisory Council  (PowerPoint). They recounted their work over the course of the semester and shared results from an assessment on the appetite for change around a potential restructuring of the University’s academic organization. 

With most respondents in favor of either significant or moderate realignment, the next steps for the council are to analyze different scenarios, consider what administrative resources would be required to make each happen and share those options with leadership and the university community.

MSU Denver shows up big at AASCU conference

The University was honored for its commitment to public discourse and engagement at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference last week. 

Not only were participants reminded that MSU Denver got “best in class” for a large, public, comprehensive, regional university in 2016 for its student voter turnout of 65.5 percent, but two members of the University’s faculty were honored. 

Bethany Fleck Dillen from the Department of Psychology was named a 2018 Civic Engagement Fellow for AASCU’s American Democracy Project and the next editor of the eJournal of Public Affairs with a focus on pedagogy.

Provost Vicki Golich won the William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement, which recognizes “exemplary leadership in advancing the civic learning of undergraduates.”

Look for more on these recognitions in the Early Bird this week.

Fond farewells to Cabinet members

President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., saluted two outgoing Cabinet members.

Steve Kreidler, vice president of Administration, and Josh Mackey, director of Human Resources, will be leaving the University at the end of June.

“You have both made incredible contributions to the University,” said Davidson. “Thanks for everything you have done.” 

Not just another manic Monday

President Davidson is considering changing the day and time of Cabinet meetings after receiving feedback about the inconvenience of the current schedule. She said Monday at 9 a.m. may not be optimal for attendees, who often need time first thing in the morning to prepare for the week.

An email will be sent to Cabinet members to gauge their thoughts on alternate days/times. That new meeting time will go into effect at the August session. The Cabinet will not meet in July. Stay tuned to the Early Bird for the latest. 

For those who can’t attend Cabinet meetings, you can always listen online.

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