Changing Lives

Karen Riley, PhD, Dean and Professor, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

At the core of our mission, and that of the University of Denver, is a strong commitment to creating meaningful social change that is rooted in deep, reciprocal relationships with our community. Increasingly complex societal issues such as the mental health crisis, educational achievement gaps, and intergenerational poverty cannot be addressed effectively from one angle and call for new approaches to problem solving. Developing and scaling effective solutions to these societal challenges requires breaking down organizational and information silos in disciplines and systems and actively collaborating with the people most affected by problems.

Current societal challenges require institutions of higher education to prepare students to be lifelong learners, habitual innovators, and responsive to culturally diverse populations. The Morgridge College of Education (MCE) has experts across the spectrum of learning, wellness, data, information, and human development who are unified by a commitment to systemic social change. We are preparing our students with the skills and dispositions to address societal challenges as they transition between professions and careers and navigate a broad range of culturally diverse community settings, ranging from the established to the emergent, in rural communities and urban hubs, throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Over the past few years we have worked hard to build a strong foundation that allows us to thrive during times of challenge. Through this new strategic plan, we make choices about future priorities that will open doors to larger and bolder opportunities to serve our students and community.

In order to meet these societal challenges, we engaged in our second strategic planning process. We stepped back to reflect, evaluate, and plan. How can we build on our own successes in order to advance our mission? How do we prepare students to lead and affect real change? How do we utilize our resources to create knowledge that informs the complex issues in our society?

We commit to the following goals:

• embrace an inclusive, college-wide think & action collaborative approach to achieve maximum societal benefit;

• prepare students for an increasingly interprofessional world;

• advance breakthrough solutions to complex challenges using an intersystems approach;

• and infuse the values of MCE into our everyday actions and unify the college under a collective identity, while also valuing the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students.

Our goal is to improve the human condition.

I am honored to lead this team and humbled by their drive and accomplishments. It is clear that we have enjoyed remarkable success, and we are committed to an ambitious path forward. Together, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni are poised to lead into the future.



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