Aerial View of CU Denver

Town Hall Provides More Details on Vaccines, Fall Planning, And More

March 22, 2021

On March 16, 2021, more than 400 CU Denver faculty and staff members gathered virtually to hear Chancellor Michelle Marks and other university leaders provide updates and answer questions on several important topics. Through the range of issues addressed, a common theme emerged of diligent preparation for the future. With the expansion of vaccine eligibility, ongoing strategic planning, and leadership search announcements, there was significant progress to report. 

Marks was joined on the panel by Provost Rod Nairn; CFO Jennifer Sobanet; Managing Associate University Counsel Chris Puckett; Alana Jones, interim vice provost and senior vice chancellor of student success; and Paul Teske, dean of the School of Public Affairs, who served as moderator. 

Below are some of the key issues and takeaways, as well as a recording of the discussion. 


As of March 19, all student-facing faculty and staff in higher education are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine as members of Phase 1B.4, regardless of age. To date, the Health Center at Auraria, with other partners, has run three COVID vaccine distribution clinics on campus where university employees were able to drive up to the 5th Street Garage on campus and get their vaccines, along with hundreds of other people in priority categories. The Health Center at Auraria will run additional campus vaccine clinics in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, websites like Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine Spotter can help users find and schedule their vaccine at other locations. 

“We strongly encourage everyone in our community to get the vaccine any way you can, whether on our campus or elsewhere. Getting the vaccine is protecting yourself, but also helping society reach herd immunity, which helps returning to a more normal semester in the fall.”

Chancellor Marks


Fall Planning 

Based on the expectation that vaccines will be widespread and public health guidelines will be relaxed by then, CU Denver is working toward a full return in the fall. In the event that a full return is not possible, preparations for other scenarios are being made as well. With ensuring safety as their greatest priority, the Lynx Together Task Force is managing these efforts, and additional updates will be shared on the Lynx Together website. Additionally, Chancellor Marks confirmed that there is no plan to issue any campuswide guidance for faculty and staff to return to the office before June 1. 

Strategic Planning 

The work to define CU Denver’s vision for 2030 continues and is now in Phase 2. All are encouraged to join a session or submit feedback via the Strategic Planning website. With the help of this input, a cohesive strategic plan will be available for further review by June 2021. 

Equity Task Force 

Recommendations from the Equity Task Force will be delivered in early April. A virtual meeting to discuss these recommendations is currently slated for April 15, 2021. 

Leadership Searches 

Antonio Farias has joined CU Denver as the vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Learn more about Farias’ experience, or connect with him here. The searches for a CU Denver-focused Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Success are underway, and finalists will participate in virtual campus visits later this spring. 

To learn more about these topics and other important issues, including CU Denver’s next steps in online education, watch the recording below.