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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

CSU leadership changes are meant to create a flexible future

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Collegian | Tri Duong

Colorado State University Interim President Rick Miranda prepares to give a speech at the CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden Aug. 9. Prior to becoming interim president, Miranda was the CSU System’s chief academic officer.

Piper Russell, News Editor

With former Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell leaving her position, CSU’s Office of the President has experienced significant change. Rick Miranda is CSU’s interim president and as such has the same authority as a president. Miranda made changes to the president’s office, including hiring new leadership.

“I’m committed to the institution,” Miranda said. “I’ve been here 40 years — I want it to succeed.”

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Miranda told The Collegian he wants to create a flat organizational structure in the president’s office to give CSU’s next president flexibility. In accordance with the new structure, all vice presidents will report to the president, and the executive vice president title will not be used.

“It’s easier to build structure than it is to take it apart,” Miranda said. “I wanted to give the next president the opportunity to rebuild however they want.”

Miranda said that in past years, some vice presidents reported to the provost. Miranda said six or seven vice presidents reported to him when he was CSU’s provost and executive vice president, which then went down to two or three by the end of Miranda’s tenure in that role. This year, all vice presidents will report to the president.

Additionally, because there is no vice president for enrollment, Miranda will be taking on that position’s responsibilities, which he also did before as provost and executive vice president.

“In this interim year, there’s sort of a little bit of a tension between staffing up and making sure we’re able to get the job done and preserving some flexibility for the next president and enabling the next president to hire their own team,” Miranda said. “Slowing down some of that activity, I thought, was the wise path to take.”

According to an email sent by Miranda, former Provost & Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen stepped down from her position and will serve as special assistant to the provost. 

Janice Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, is CSU’s interim provost. According to the same email from Miranda, Nerger is CSU’s “most senior dean, has led CNS with great success for 13 years and has great depth of knowledge and experience in academic leadership at CSU.”

“I know the institution really well, and I felt like when Rick (Miranda) asked me if I would consider stepping into this role, I felt almost an obligation in a sense,” Nerger said. “I felt like I was the right person to have a smooth transition for the students and the faculty. So there was a lot to be done, but I think both of us have such a great love and a great knowledge of the institution that we’re the right people to do this.”

Vice President for Strategy Jenelle Beavers will focus on planning for and implementing CSU’s strategic plan and forgo the chief of staff responsibilities she was filling, Miranda’s email said. Albert Bimper, associate dean and executive director of professional master’s programs and associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts, is now interim chief of staff for the president’s office. Kathay Rennels is the interim vice president for engagement and extension.

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Miranda and Nerger both spoke about the importance of communication, approachability and transparency in creating a smooth transition in leadership.

“We will have a capable team of leaders heading up each of our divisions as we head into the fall,” Miranda wrote in his email, “along with some flexibility for a new president coming in to identify key members of their leadership team and office staff.”

According to CSU SOURCE, the CSU System created a search committee to find three presidential candidates to recommend to the Board of Governors by the end of the calendar year.

“The major impact will happen later when we get a new president and they really start getting their feet on the ground and charting a direction for the campus and putting in place their team and making more significant changes,” Miranda said. “I don’t think the changes I’m making will have a very long term impact; I think I want to make sure that the university keeps moving in the right directions.”

Reach Piper Russell at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.

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Piper Russell, News Editor

Piper Russell is one of The Collegian’s news editors this year and is thrilled to be working in the role. She started as a news reporter her sophomore...

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