Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, the newly named executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, visited the CU Boulder campus on Wednesday. She connected with university staff, faculty and students to gain a better understanding of how she can improve higher education.
“Part of the work is to focus on student success and the best way to really know what is happening in Colorado is to visit the campuses,” Reed said.
Before working in the Colorado government, Reed worked with the Obama administration as the deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Her previous experience in the federal government helped Reed understand students’ need for higher education and the obstacles that are associated with it.
Although she has only been in this position since March 7, she already has plans on how to help Colorado students. Reed worked with House and Senate leaders on investing in higher education, she met with the governor to work on education policies and she worked with youth apprenticeship programs that colloborate with high school students.
Reed said that some of the challenges in Colorado are the lack of voices supporting higher education, gaining support for financial aid and gaining support for student services. The growing population of students of color also presents a challenge in the equity gap.
According to Reed, in order to mitigate the equity gap for students, it is important to address the “belief gap.” It is the idea that if a student is constantly told that he or she will not be successful due to their income level or race, then the student will begin to doubt their own ability to be successful.
“We want communities to be supportive of students going further, but we have to say to our students ‘we believe in you, we know you can do amazing things and we support you,’” Reed said.
Because education is a public good, the community needs to invest and commit to students, Reed said. She hopes that her influence will allow all students to have the opportunity and resources needed to pursue their careers.
“There’s a lot of things I’m able to do and a lot of things I need to do to advance opportunities in our state,” Reed said.
Contact CU Independent General Assignment News Editor Kristin Oh at firstname.lastname@example.org.