New duties, new jobs at DHE

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education Friday got an update on some changes in senior management at the Department of Higher Education.

During the half-hour conference call meeting, Deputy Executive Director Matt Gianneschi told commissioners that Chief Academic Officer Cheryl Lovell will be leaving the department July 1. Before joining the department Lovell was a professor at the University of Denver. She’s been significantly involved in working with the Department of Education on implementation of the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids law.

Inta Morris, assistant director of interdepartmental affairs, is becoming senior director for grants and special projects, and Special Assistant Kim Poast is becoming associate deputy director for access and student services. Morris was acting department director after David Skaggs left the top job in mid-2009. Poast coordinated much of the work of the Higher Education Strategic Planning Steering Committee last year.

Gianneschi said the department also is advertising to fill three new positions (also with long titles) – assistant deputy director of academic affairs, associate deputy director of policy and planning and director of admissions and access policies.

Some shuffling in the department had been expected after Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia took over as executive director. The first move came when Gianneschi, once a top aide to former Gov. Bill Ritter, was brought into the department several months ago. The agency has a lot of its plate in the coming months, primarily working with institutions and the commission in developing a new state master plan for higher ed.

With the legislative session over, Gianneschi said Garcia is moving his office to DHE headquarters at 1560 Broadway, returning to the Capitol next November in advance of the 2012 legislature.

Commissioners also unanimously approved the allocation of state financial aid to colleges and universities for 2011-12. The commissioners had the unenviable task of spreading a static amount of money among a growing number of students. Both enrollment and the number of people who qualify for need-based scholarships are increasing.

Because of those factors, the commission for next year changed the normal allocation model and is using a system that includes a 30 percent cut in aid for students at for-profit institutions in order to soften the reductions for students at state and non-profit private schools. Staff memo & list by school