UCCS chancellor to be hired in coming weeks, candidate profiles

May 09, 2017

Hannah Harvey

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     On April 20, UCCS announced three finalists for the position of chancellor at the university.

     Michelle Johnson, Venkat Reddy and Havidan Rodriguez are being considered to lead UCCS.

     A search committee that included Susan Szpyrka, senior vice chancellor for Administration and Finance, Jevita Rogers, senior director of Financial Aid and CU Regents Kyle Hybl and Stephen Ludwig was assembled to evaluate the candidates.

     Venkat Reddy, dean of the College of Business, was appointed to serve as the interim chancellor after Chancellor-Emerita Pamela Shockley-Zalabak, who served the university for 15 years, retired on Feb. 15.

     Students had the opportunity to listen to each candidate’s appeal for the position and voice comments and questions at three open forums for Venkat Reddy on April 25, Michelle Johnson on April 27 and Havidan Rodriguez on May 9.

     Confidential candidate surveys emailed to UCCS students, faculty and staff were collected May 3 to provide CU President Bruce Benson with feedback that will guide his final hiring decision.

     The new chancellor is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Venkat Reddy

     Reddy has served as interim chancellor for three months. A member of the UCCS community for the last 25 years, he is a professor of finance and associate vice chancellor for Online Education and Initiatives.

     Reddy is also a two-time recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award for the College of Business.

     The dean has worked to improve several aspects of the campus, including renovating Dwire Hall, creating the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative and granting more opportunities for students to study abroad as part of his accomplishments for the university.

     In January, the Colorado Springs Business Journal recognized Reddy for his efforts as one of the leaders to watch, according to the Chancellor Finalist website.

Michelle D. Johnson

     Lieutenant General Johnson has been the superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy since 2013. Johnson, who is a USAFA graduate herself, announced her retirement from USAFA on April 27.

     Johnson oversees 4,000 undergraduate students as the first female superintendent of any U.S. military academy.

     Prior to her role as superintendent, she held the position of U.S. Air Force Aide during two presidential administrations, according to the UCCS Chancellor Search website.

     During her time in the Air Force, Johnson served as a multi-jet transport and air-refueling pilot and commanded units of more than 3,600 people across various squadrons.

     Johnson also served as NATO’s deputy chief of staff, Operations & Intelligence.

     Between 2007-2009, Johnson was deputy director for Information and Cyberspace Policy, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate and on the Joint Staff, where she developed the first cyber policy for the Department of Defense, according to the Chancellor Finalist website.

Havidán Rodriguez

     Rodriguez serves many roles at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. He is a founding provost, the executive vice president for Academic Affairs and a professor of sociology and anthropology.

     Prior to his time at the University of Texas, Rodriguez held administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, including director of the Minority Affairs Program for the American Sociological Association from 1995-98, according to the Chancellor Finalist website.

     The provost has done research with funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, among other organizations. His research projects include examining disasters where he has traveled to Honduras, India and Sri Lanka following several hurricanes.