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Around CU Denver in Eighty Days

NEW CHANCELLOR KICKS OFF 80-DAY LISTENING TOUR

CU Denver’s new chancellor seeks to listen to students and find new ground within the university.

Chancellor Dorothy Horrell’s Reach Out and Listen Tour kicked off on Jan. 27 with an event at the Lawrence Student Center at 8 a.m. and the Student Commons room at 4 p.m. The tour is to continue for 80 days while the Chancellor gets to know the students and faculty of CU Denver.

The goal of Chancellor Horrell’s Listening Tour is to get to know the school and how each aspect of it functions. According to Horrell, the meetings will include, “Students, student government, faculty, advisory boards, staff members, as well as some of the business community,” Horrell said. “The Listening Tour is really an opportunity to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can about what’s on the minds of people.”

After deciding to split the responsibilities of the Anschutz campus and the Downtown campus between two chancellors, CU President Bruce Benson began the search for the new Chancellor back in September 2014.

Dorothy Horrell was announced as the new Chancellor last year, and officially began her new position on Jan. 4. Chancellor Horrell comes to CU Denver with 30 years of experience in higher education as well as six years of working on the governing board of Colorado State University.

The talks will focus on the parts of the University individuals are excited about as well as things that need to be improved.

For many students at CU Denver, finding a community can be a challenge. The term “commuter school” is thrown around haphazardly in conversations with leaders of the institution. This can make it hard for students to fully understand where their tuition dollars are going. Horrell’s listening tour attempts to provide an opportunity for voices to be heard regarding what steps need to be taken to help the university move forward. Whether or not this is effective will be seen in the coming weeks.

When asked about what challenges to her listening tour as well as her new job being a commuter school brings, Chancellor Horrell does not see this as a hindrance. “Our students come here for a very good reason,” Horrell said. “They are intentional about making a choice to come to CU Denver— that becomes our unifying element.”

Some students looking for a more traditional college experience find this lacking at Auraria Campus. David Heisler, President of CU Denver’s Student Government Association, sees being a commuter school graduate as being an asset to getting jobs in the future.

“It is definitely a huge issue, especially with our growing freshman class,” Heisler said. “Something I will hang my hat on is that because I have had the opportunity to work with so many different kinds of people, I am a different applicant than many.”

Chancellor Horrell’s tour will certainly identify what kind of direction the university will be moving towards in the coming future. Having only been at the job for a few weeks, it will give CU Denver an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of what kind of leader Dorothy Horrell will be.

—Dylan Streight

Above: SGA President David Heisler poses with Chancellor Horrell for the Listening Tour.

photo: Alex Tomme • CU Denver Sentry

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