On July 1, 2018, I was privileged to begin in this role. My predecessor, Alan Lamborn, had decided to retire from both the Reinvention Collaborative and from his leadership role at Colorado State University. Having benefited from its several years hosting the RC, and in hope of further contributing to the strengthening of undergraduate education at national research universities, Colorado State and the RC Board decided to conduct a national search for a new executive director. I was fortunate to be selected.
The reason I feel so fortunate is easily shared. I am a first-generation student from Flint, Michigan. My adopted parents valued education but it was perhaps more significant that a neighbor and friend who was always smarter than me decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps (also smarter than me) and apply to Michigan State University. I applied only to that single institution and never visited the campus—for that matter, any campus, ever—until the day I arrived in East Lansing to sign up for classes.
Long story short, it is a privilege to be positioned at a land-grant university with a charge to facilitate access and excellence across the research university landscape. In addition to my undergraduate degree from a public land-grant, I earned a doctorate at a private religiously-affiliated university and then spent the first 13 years of my faculty and administrative career at another private religiously-affiliated institution. Then followed 12 years at three public land-grants, two flagships among them. This experience, which includes serving as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, has primed me for my current role.
So, hello Fort Collins! What a great location from which to serve students, not to mention their diverse and dedicated faculty and staff and respective university administrations, all of whom strive for innovation and excellence.