Announcing a Change in Academic Leadership

Nov. 11, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

Each of our campuses—CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus—has a history of strong collaborative partnerships as well as unique aspirations and needs in our mission areas of education, research/creative activities, healthcare, and community engagement.

In recent months, and particularly since the arrival of Chancellor Marks and her engagement with CU Denver through her 100 Days of Listening tour, it has become clear that achieving these aspirations will be facilitated by more focused leadership in the areas of academic and student affairs for each campus, while maintaining the advantages of certain consolidated academic resources and services for the university overall. To help provide the campus-specific lens that we believe each campus requires, CU Denver will shortly begin the search for a provost who will be more focused on its particular needs. This new role will still maintain responsibility for certain academic and student affairs issues across both campuses.

On July 1, 2021, Roderick Nairn, PhD, will transition to a new role as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at CU Anschutz. Both campuses and our consolidated university owe much gratitude for the significant work accomplished on behalf of faculty, students, and staff over the past 14 years, thanks to Rod Nairn’s tireless leadership.

Dr. Nairn will continue in the provost role for the consolidated institution through June 2021, which we believe will ensure a smooth transition to the new structure. We are also pleased that he will continue his exceptional work for the university with a focus on academic matters at CU Anschutz. A national search will launch later this fall for the next CU Denver Provost. Information on the search process will be provided in the coming weeks.

We want to be clear that this shift does not dilute our full-fledged commitment to our consolidated partnership. Indeed, we are exploring more strategic and deeper partnerships across our campuses to enrich our academic enterprise in research and education. We received assurance last week from our accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, that this move should not put our accreditation as a single university with two campuses at risk given our continued demonstration of functioning together for the greater good of our academic mission.

Our two campuses share common missions of education, research, and service. They will continue to have many shared academic programs and services. We will continue to integrate academic resources and programs where that makes sense and maintain separation where that is best. We believe this new division of responsibilities in the areas of academic and student affairs will help both campuses better serve our students, faculty, and staff and will ultimately enhance the university’s overall mission.

Don Elliman
Chancellor, CU Anschutz Medical Campus

Michelle Marks
Chancellor, CU Denver