George Mason University

News at Mason

Michelle Marks named the next chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver

March 26, 2020   /   by Preston Williams

Michelle Marks

The University of Colorado has named George Mason University Vice President Michelle Marks the next chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver, effective July 1.

Marks has served in various roles at Mason since 2002, currently as vice president for academic innovation and new ventures. Her work has defined the university’s mission of access, using education innovation to create pathways to degrees for students of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, including through online education.

“What an absolute honor and privilege it has been to work with dedicated faculty, staff and administration to find fresh approaches to make George Mason University a beacon of opportunity for students of all backgrounds and life circumstances,” Marks said. “Mason’s mission has been my mission, and as I look forward to carrying that on to CU Denver, in my heart I’ll always be a Patriot, too.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Marks,” Mason Interim President Anne Holton said. “She has been a leader in delivering on Mason’s vision to provide that bridge between talent and opportunity. So many Mason students—and graduates—have benefited from her ideas, her passion and her leadership. We are deeply grateful for the enormous impact she made here. We will miss her and wish her all the best.”

“Michelle has been a great asset to Mason for nearly 20 years, and she is a true innovator at heart," said Provost S. David Wu. "Her contributions to scale online education and the ADVANCE pathway program are great examples of her creative work. These programs have had a tremendous impact on thousands of students across the region and have positioned Mason to be a leader nationally. She has served with distinction, and I wish her all the best at CU Denver.”

Marks, who earned a master’s and a doctoral degree in industrial/organizational psychology at Mason, has served as vice provost for academic affairs, associate provost for graduate education, and professor of management in Mason’s School of Business. In 2006, she received Mason’s Teaching Excellence Award and she received the Executive MBA Professor of the Year award in 2008 and 2011.

Marks currently oversees the Office of Digital Learning, the Academic Ventures project management group, the Office of Continuing and Professional Education, academic initiatives, policy and registration, and delivering programs in formats that are flexible and convenient for students. Marks has scaled up Mason’s online programs and partnerships to incorporate technological advances in higher education.

One of Marks’s signature achievements at Mason is the ADVANCE transfer program with Northern Virginia Community College, which streamlines the time and cost to earn a four-year degree. In fewer than two years, ADVANCE has generated 102 new program pathways and more than 1,000 student enrollments. The Chronicle of Higher Education cited the ADVANCE Program as “one of the nation’s most successful transfer partnerships.”

Indicative in part of Mason’s access initiatives, CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index the past two years has cited Mason as the best school in Virginia for the social mobility of its students.

The University of Colorado Denver, with an enrollment of about 15,000, shares much in common with Mason. CU Denver is the most diverse public research university in its state and, like Mason, is a Tier 1 research institution in a metropolitan area serving a high percentage of first-generation students, Pell Grant recipients and undergraduate transfers.