Metro State President receives high praise in evaluation
Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
Posted: December 6, 2010
(Denver, Colo.) —A recent evaluation of Metropolitan State College of Denver President Stephen Jordan, conducted for the College’s Board of Trustees (BOT), credits Jordan with building the institution into a college of choice for students and a player in both state policy and funding for higher education.
Tom Meredith, a consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), presented the findings of his evaluation of Jordan’s first five years as president at the Dec. 1 BOT meeting. A comprehensive evaluation was called for by the trustees in April 2010 per Jordan’s presidential contract.
“The purpose of this is to tell (Dr. Jordan) what things we want him to keep doing, and as would be the case for any of us, what are the things we can do to make him even better than he is today,” said BOT Chair Rob Cohen.
The evaluation, which began over the summer as Jordan embarked on his fifth year as Metro State President, was conducted using conversations with more than 80 individuals from the Metro Denver community, national higher education leaders, and within the College.
Meredith kicked off his presentation by saying, “Out of all of these (evaluations) that I have done, I’ve never encountered this much positive support and respect for a president.”
The prevalent theme expressed by the interviewees, Meredith said, was one of pride in having Jordan represent Metro State, adding, “They are pleased that he is the face of Metro State.”
Among the characteristics for which Jordan was lauded were strategic thinking, entrepreneurship and being student-centered. “You were congratulated for being a motivator for big ideas, very transparent, respected in all corners, politically effective, sincere about diversity, a good decision maker, and the fact that you and your wife Ruthie make a great team for Metro was a great compliment,” he added.
Of particular importance, according to Meredith, was Jordan’s fiscal prowess. “The fact that you and this board decided not to use the stimulus funds or recurring expenses leaves this institution in good shape—I will tell you, extremely good shape—compared to institutions that I know of across the country.”
Metro State’s momentum under Jordan’s leadership, demonstrated physically by the construction of the Student Success Building, says, according to Meredith: “You just better get out of the way or Metro will consume you.”
Jordan’s relationships with various external communities were also widely praised. For instance, Meredith said that Jordan is listened to and respected at the state legislature and in state policy-making circles. In his work as chair of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council, Jordan was recognized as having led reforms to make the collegiate experience for student-athletes more balanced, such as shortening the length of seasons.
The second part of the evaluation involved improving Jordan’s performance. Citing that there were no major items of concern, Meredith said there was widespread advice that Jordan should focus on execution of current initiatives: “Bring those to a conclusion, and then be selective on the new initiatives as you move forward.” Areas for “even more improvement” included retention and graduation rates, campus morale, the state legislature and private fundraising.
At the conclusion of Meredith’s presentation, Trustee Antonio Esquibel said that after reading “The Changing Demands of Presidential Leadership,” in the AGB’s Trusteeship Magazine, “I checked off all of the items that make a good president, and Dr. Jordan scored high on all of them. So, it is nice to know that we not only validate what the national organizations say about the leadership but also what (Meredith) found here at Metro.”
A sought-after consultant in the area of higher-education leadership, Meredith has had a long and distinguished career in higher education. He served as commissioner of Higher Education for Mississippi’s university system, chancellor for the University System of Georgia, chancellor of the University of Alabama System, president of Western Kentucky University, and vice chancellor at the University of Mississippi.
About Metropolitan State College of Denver
With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. Starting in the fall of 2010, the College is offering master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, with plans to offer a master’s in social work in fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 67,500 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.