Regis Welcomes New Chief Academic Officer

New Provost Karen Riley, Ph.D., shares her goals, plans and perspectives.

Q: You have a long history with the University of Denver, as a graduate student and dean of the college of education. What made you want to come to Regis?

A: The University of Denver will always hold a special place in my heart as it provided me with so many experiences. The simple answer is that I was drawn to Regis because of the mission. I believe in the Jesuit mission and want to work in an organization that allows me to marry my commitment to education and my faith.


Q: What kinds of steps can you, and Regis, take to assure that the University reflects values of inclusivity and diversity, and the Jesuit mission?

A: We all have the opportunity within our individual spheres of influence to affect change. It will be my responsibility to engage with faculty and staff to ensure that our curricula and policies reflect the Jesuit mission. I envision taking a three-step approach. First, we must name our commitment to living our values. Second, provide training and support to ensure individuals have the opportunity to not only understand our values but to apply them. Finally, we need to examine our policies and determine if they really move us toward the goal of living our values or if they perpetuate the status quo.


Q: You are becoming Provost as both the campus and the country emerge from an extremely difficult period. What challenges do recent events add to your role? How will you meet those challenges?

A: This will be an unprecedented year, filled with challenge and opportunity. We will be charged with addressing the pain and consequences of the past year. There will be challenges helping individuals heal and opportunities to embrace the call to action regarding social and racial justice. We will also have the privilege of helping to define the future of higher education. Our students' academic and social experiences over the past 18 months have been extraordinary and we will need to be intentional in meeting their academic needs while promoting wellness.

There may not have been a time in our recent history in which the Jesuit principle of cura personalis has been more important in higher education. Finally, we as a community also have an opportunity to intentionally evaluate our culture. It will be important to listen and evaluate what we have learned over the past few months and determine what we want to maintain and what we want to change.


Q: What do you think you'll look forward to the most at Regis University?

A: That is a challenging question because there are so many things. I am excited to learn more about the faculty's academic programs and research agendas. I am looking forward to exploring opportunities for growth and development. And last, but certainly not least, I am excited to work with others across the campus to support students and engage with the community.