If you see MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan over fall and spring semesters, you’re also likely to see Denise Helm.
Helm will shadow Jordan and other MSU Denver administrators and immerse herself in the University culture, community and administration as an American Council on Education fellow—a mentoring program designed to prepare administrators for senior-level positions in higher education.
As one of 12 ACE fellows for 2012-13, Helm will observe and participate in meetings, events and special projects while mentoring with Jordan and Vicki Golich, MSU Denver provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Helm, who is associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, will be looking to learn more about public-private partnerships, gain a broader understanding of administration and observe Jordan’s leadership style.
“Dr. Jordan works very hard to build a team of excellent leaders,” Helm says. “He works hard at maintaining a team atmosphere between all the players. My next goal is to find out how he identifies those team members before they come to MSU Denver and how he maintains that team.
“He’s very much a visionary and he has the ability to help others see his vision. He’s remarkable when it comes to listening to other people’s perspective and adopting their perspective even when it’s contrary to his original thinking.”
Helm already has met with several MSU Denver leaders, including those in advancement and external relations and marketing and communications. Helm plans to meet with many more.
Her learning mission has led her to tour much of the campus, including the Student Success Building and the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center. She even plans to ride along with campus police.
“I think the one thing that really surprises me is the collegial atmosphere that exists at MSU Denver and how supportive, friendly and genuinely nice everyone is here and how they have a very clear picture of where this institution is going and how everyone is moving in the same direction,” Helm says. “It’s very pleasant to see how everyone has the same goal in mind.”
Throughout the year, Helm will also visit 25–30 other college and university campuses as well as complete a report about her experiences. ACE Fellows also attend three retreats, where they perform case studies, visit campuses or attend national meetings.
Since 1965, more than 1,800 higher education officials have taken part in the program.
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