Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members welcomed UCCS’ two newest deans to campus during virtual town hall events this summer.
Karen Markel, new dean of the College of Business, began her tenure at UCCS this June. Shortly thereafter, Lynn Vidler began their own tenure as new dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Both deans addressed the campus and community during virtual welcome events and answered questions about their strategic visions for their respective colleges.
Remarks by Chancellor Venkat Reddy highlighted the vital roles the deans will play for UCCS.
As he welcomed Markel to UCCS, Chancellor Reddy remarked, “What impresses me most about Dean Markel is her unwavering focus on the future.”
“We may be facing challenges, but we’re also facing a real opportunity, if we’re innovative enough to take it. Dean Markel is focused on making the College of Business even more flexible, innovative and resourceful than ever before.”
As she spoke about her strategic vision for the College of Business, Markel shared, “What struck me in my time on campus, both in my interview and during [an] accreditation visit, was how committed the faculty, staff and business community were to ensuring the success of the college.”
“I want to learn about how the college can help serve the community and vice versa. Our students often come from the region and intend to stay, and we want to ensure that they have the skills and experience to secure opportunities in our community.”
In welcoming Dean Vidler, who uses they/them pronouns, Chancellor Reddy spoke to the new dean’s strong intercultural competence, communication skills and relationship-building.
“Now, more than ever, we all need strong communication skills and the ability to build relationships – whether or not we’re able to meet in-person to do so. We all need cultural competency and an appreciation of our diverse skills, values and abilities.”
“These times may not feel perfect,” Reddy continued. “But I do believe this is the perfect time for Dean Vidler to be joining the Mountain Lion Family.”
In their opening remarks, Dean Vidler spoke to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new strategic plan and a shift to a new budget model as “moments of transition” for UCCS and for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“Inasmuch as we’re focused, in the short term, on ensuring the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students, there’s actually a future out there,” Vidler remarked. “And I don’t want us to lose sight of how the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is going to drive forward to that future.”
Vidler shared the guiding priorities and values that shape their approach to the position, from developing individuals’ skills and abilities at UCCS, to the intertwining of diversity and creativity, to the importance of integrity in campus culture.
Vidler also called upon every member of the UCCS community to step up, speak up and take action if they feel called to do so.
“Leadership is an activity, not a position,” they said. “You lead when you speak up about issues of diversity and inclusion on our campus. You lead when you help to create and disseminate new knowledge. Every one of us has the ability to contribute by engaging other people to make progress on challenges that matter.”