About the University of Colorado System

The University of Colorado is a public research university system with four campuses:  University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, University of Colorado Denver and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  It is led by a president, and governed by a nine-member elected Board of Regents.  With more than 67,000 degree seeking students and an additional 8,000 taking courses for credit, nearly 6,500 students taking online courses exclusively, over 6,200 full-time instructional faculty and an additional 1,700 research faculty members, CU is the largest institution of higher education in Colorado and has an annual budget of $4.8 billion.  CU researchers attracted more than $1.2 billion in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2018-19.  Academic prestige is evidenced by the university’s five Nobel laureates, 10 MacArthur “genius” Fellows, 20 astronauts and 20 Rhodes Scholars.  For more information about the entire CU system, go to www.cu.edu.

About the University of Colorado Denver

Nestled in the center of one of America’s most vibrant and fastest growing cities, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is Denver’s public urban research university. It educates a diverse student body through quality academics, ambitious research, creative work, and civic engagement in the city it calls home. Leveraging its proximity to and partnership with so many public, nonprofit and private sector employers, CU Denver graduates gain the powerful combination of immersive classroom and real-world applied experiences that are in demand today. CU Denver’s provides well-educated top talent and a new generation of knowledge to fuel the future of Denver and the region. It is CU in the City.

CU Denver offers more than 100 academic degree programs, from bachelor’s to doctoral level, in the heart of downtown. Here, more than 15,000 students pursue academic programs that range from business, health, engineering and global energy management to music industry studies to criminal justice. As part of the state’s largest public university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with nearly 2,500 employees and annual economic impact exceeding $800 million. 

In 2004, the Denver and Anschutz campuses were consolidated to realize enhanced mission outcomes with greater academic, administrative and operational efficiencies. The University of Colorado president announced in 2014 that the CU Denver campus and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus would each be led by its own chancellor, reporting to the president.  The institution would continue to be consolidated, and the structure would provide dedicated leadership on each campus to address their respective unique opportunities and challenges.  A number of units and programs continue to be consolidated including academic and student affairs, human resources, information technology, finance and facilities.  The consolidated services for the two campuses preserve the unity of the academic and administrative areas and allow ongoing shared services and efficiencies. The arrangement allows the CU Denver Chancellor the ability to direct the academic focus while benefiting from a close relationship with the region’s premier medical campus. The two campuses remain a single academic entity, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and are an integral part of the four-campus University of Colorado system.  Each chancellor represents their respective campus to the external community and to the Board of Regents.

CU Denver has a diverse student body of nearly 11,000 undergraduate and over 4,000 graduate students. Over 60% of the fall 2019 entering class are students of color; the campus is an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution.  Many students are first generation and most work while pursuing their studies. Over 30% of the undergraduate students pursuing health-related degrees. The campus employs 1,800 faculty and staff and has an annual budget of $330 million. CU Denver is located in downtown Denver, Colorado and shares the Auraria campus, which is the largest campus in the state, with two other distinct and separate institutions: Community College of Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver. Each institution has its own neighborhood, and the three institutions maintain and manage the campus with a shared governance model through the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC). In addition to shared facilities (e.g., classrooms, labs, student union, library, health center) on the Auraria Campus, CU Denver owns and operates three academic and administrative buildings in the downtown’s urban core.

Role of CU Denver Chancellor

The CU Denver chancellor is the chief executive and academic officer of one of the West’s leading urban universities. The chancellor is responsible for furthering a vision for the campus that is consistent with its mission and increasing understanding and support of the mission among its constituents.  CU Denver aspires to:

  • Enhance its role and significance as a premier public urban research university
  • Ensure access for undergraduate, graduate and professional students and create a respectful, safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the campus community while embracing diversity in all its forms, including ethnicity, religion, veteran status, country of origin, LGBTQ+, gender identity, and political viewpoint, among others
  • Elevate entrepreneurial and innovative initiatives and build on the many successful private, public and nonprofit partnerships already underway
  • Expand on the collaborative partnership and opportunities created by the consolidation with the CU Anschutz Medical Campus including health careers and professions pipeline and pathway programs, research, joint degree programs and infrastructure sharing
  • Promote and improve the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of undergraduate, graduate, resident, non-resident and international students
  • Leverage opportunities for students in a shared campus model
  • Steward use of the University of Colorado South Denver facility in the south metropolitan Denver area

The chancellor provides intellectual and administrative leadership that underscores a commitment to student success by fostering excellence in teaching, research and creative work, and service.  The chancellor works collaboratively with faculty, staff and student governance groups to promote shared governance and to seek input on major decisions.  The chancellor is responsible for aligning and managing campus resources—financial, human and physical—with the mission and vision of the campus and university. The chancellor also plays a leadership role in improving the mental wellness of faculty, staff and students.

The chancellor provides leadership and is responsible for establishing significant external relationships on behalf of the campus, including having primary responsibility for fundraising activities; city relations (and in unison with the system with state and federal relations); and alumni, business and community relations. The chancellor will be committed to the goal that the University of Colorado Denver is seen as a vital asset to Denver, the metropolitan region, and the state.  

The ideal chancellor candidate will have the ability to identify trends, opportunities and challenges in higher education, including understanding and promoting advances in pedagogy and technology. The chancellor will also be an effective convener and facilitator who can engage the collective minds and will of the campus stakeholders to set and achieve strategic priorities. The chancellor will be resilient and have the courage to act – to make the tough decisions even in the face of incomplete information or conflicting perspectives. 


  • An earned doctorate, equivalent terminal degree or relevant combination of education and experience
  • Executive leadership experience in large, complex organizations
  • Passion for student success and an appreciation for the academic mission of teaching, discovery and service with a commitment to free expression, academic freedom, tenure and shared governance
  • Combination of talents and experience enabling effective leadership of a public urban research university
  • Record of leadership in promoting equity, enhancing diversity in all its forms, and creating a cohesive, collaborative and inclusive culture
  • Demonstrated excellence in resource management and development
  • Record of leadership to plan, develop, advance and implement complex strategic goals, policies and program initiatives that require management of financial, human and capital resources over short and long periods
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with a full range of external constituents, such as alumni, donors, members of the community, media, legislators, other government officials and leaders in the private and nonprofit sectors
  • Ability to develop collaborative relationships and secure significant resources from state, federal, corporate, foundation and private entities
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of an executive team in a large and complex university system or comparable organization
  • Ability to lead improvement of academic performance, with particular success in improving retention and graduation rates
  • Record of developing and implementing strategies to assure graduates and employees are both technically competent and analytically prepared in a networked world
  • Experience in developing and fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial culture


The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (a letter of interest, resume/CV, and the names and contact information of five or more references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University of Colorado Denver.  Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted to the search firm by February 6, 2020.  For additional information, please contact:

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-804-1996 x102 or x109
pwilliams@parkersearch.com | rmcneal@parkersearch.com

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body, faculty and administrative staff. The university strives to promote a culture of inclusiveness, respect, communication and understanding. We encourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and all veterans. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.

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