On Nov. 18, following a months-long outreach effort, the University of Colorado Board of Regents approved 16 members to a presidential search committee. The Regents selected committee members from a pool of 110 diverse nominees that included faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and community members from across the state. Four of the committee members are from CU Denver and will serve as a voice for deans, faculty members, and students.
In addition, the Regents announced the selection of Storbeck Search, a Philadelphia-area executive search firm, to assist with the search process. The Regents will meet again on Dec. 8 and are expected to finalize the president position description and the search committee’s charge. In January, the search committee will begin meeting regularly with Storbeck Search to begin the active search.
CU Denver News connected with the CU Denver representatives on the presidential search committee to find out why they wanted to participate and what qualities they would like to see in CU’s next president.
Paul Teske, PhD, is the dean of the School of Public Affairs. He will serve on the committee as the “dean representative.”
“I have been a faculty member or dean for almost 20 years at CU Denver, and I have worked under a few different system presidents. So, I am pleased to serve on the search committee for the next president.
“That person needs to have a strong vision for our four-campus system that is so essential to Colorado’s economy and future. And, I think they need to understand the different strengths of our units and provide both support and space for our many overlapping activities—teaching, research, community service, patient care—to function at the highest levels.”
Maryam Darbeheshti, PhD, is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, Design and Computing. She will serve as a “faculty representative.”
“As a CU Denver alumni and faculty member for over 10 years, I feel I can provide valuable insight in choosing a president for our university. Furthermore, as a female faculty of color, I think that my presence on the committee will bring greater diversity to the team. It is incredibly important to me that the marginalized populations at CU are represented and heard.
“I expect the next CU president to place great value on inclusivity. They should have a vision for CU that aligns closely with the goals of CU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan. They should understand the value and importance of the work that all faculty (TTF, IRC, and lecturers) bring to our university. Additionally, they should work closely with underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community, to ensure their needs are met.”
William Mundo is a graduate student pursuing his medical doctorate from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He received his master’s degree in public health and undergraduate degrees in public health and ethnic studies from CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, respectively. He will serve as a “student representative.”
“As someone who has been an undergraduate, graduate, and professional student at CU, I believe I have a unique perspective when it comes to being a learner at our university. I care deeply about the health, vitality, and condition of our university, particularly the advancement of all students, especially those from underrepresented groups. I decided I wanted to be part of the CU presidential search committee because as a society and as a university, we are at a critical point in time as it relates to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“I hope that the next CU president will focus on expanding recruitment and support programs for high-performing students, staff, faculty, and executives from underrepresented and diverse groups in every sense.”
Chris Hilton is an undergraduate student studying public health in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is also president of the Student Government Association. He will serve as a “student representative.”
“The biggest takeaway is how exciting it will be to represent the students from all four campuses during this journey. I’ve seen up-close how committed the Board of Regents is to transparency and DEI efforts in this search, and now to be part of that and echo students’ concerns and interests will be amazing. As one of the few students in the room, it is so important to remind everyone that this all exists to help make a CU education desirable, valuable, and attainable to all students.
“It is also a great time to be representing CU Denver. Dr. Darbeheshti, Will Mundo, and I were part of the fall 2021 New Student Convocation, which helps show the influence our students, staff, and faculty can have on the future of the entire CU system, and on higher education in Colorado.”