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New CSU President Amy Parsons' first year goals: increase teacher pay, expand student recruitment

This is an image of Colorado State University President President Amy Parsons standing outside in front of a set of columns on a campus building wearing a dark green dress.
Joe Mendoza
CSU Photography
Colorado State University named its 16th president in December. Amy Parsons began her new role as university president this month.

Colorado State University started the new year with a new president. Amy Parsons was named the school’s 16th leader in December. She took office this month and joined us to talk about how things are going a few weeks in.

Parsons beat out 11 other candidates for the position of president. She’s a CSU alumna and has held a variety of administrative roles within the CSU system, including legal counsel for CSU Fort Collins and executive vice chancellor of the CSU System. She also worked for the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a litigator. Most recently, she helped launch Mozzafiato, an e-commerce business focused on Italian beauty brands.

Parsons said her experiences working in the private sector give her “a great perspective from the outside on the university and what students need to be successful.”

Parsons met some pushback when she was announced as the sole finalist in CSU's president search, however. While she has a long history with CSU, members of the university community were concerned about a lack of experience in academic research and working directly with students and faculty.

While she’s not a career academic or researcher, Parsons recognizes the important role faculty play, “not just here at CSU, but in society and in the world.” She told KUNC she believes her role as president is to support and empower faculty and staff to take part in shared university governance.

One of Parsons' goals for her first year is to improve employee pay.

“We lost a bit of ground during the years of the pandemic and it’s time to really focus on those salaries, to address…cost of living, to address just the tremendous work that everybody’s doing.”

Another first-year goal for the president is to continue recruiting students with a focus on the entire state, not just the Front Range.

“CSU is already on a tremendous trajectory as it is,” Parsons said. “I think that CSU will continue to grow to a place where we are really setting the standard for the best land grant university in the country.”

She says land grant universities “have a special mission of access, of outreach around the state, of making sure we’re not just bringing in the best people into CSU but we’re taking our research and our academic mission out to the communities we serve.”

As a reporter and host for KUNC, I follow the local stories of the day while also guiding KUNC listeners through NPR's wider-scope coverage. It's an honor and a privilege to help our audience start their day informed and entertained.
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