Western Colorado University President Brad Baca is advised by a Senior Cabinet that is comprised of Vice Presidents from across campus.
Brad Baca is the 15th President of Western Colorado University. He joined Western in 2002 as Vice President for Finance and Administration. In 2013-14 he served as interim President. During his time at Western, Mr. Baca has developed a reputation as creative and trustworthy, someone who can convene stakeholders, facilitate problem solving, and accomplish complex […]
Jessica Young, Ph.D. is a leader in science and an agent of change with a passion for educating. She has served Western as both a faculty member and in senior administrative roles since 1996 and was appointed by President Baca to the position of Provost beginning January 1, 2023. The provost serves as the second-highest […]
After graduating with an accounting degree from Sacred Heart University Ian spent the early part of his career working in various capacities within the ski industry, first in Tahoe and later in Vermont, with the main focus of product and revenue analysis. After leaving Vermont he spent a year and a half on Martha’s Vineyard, […]
Mike LaPlante was introduced as Western Colorado University’s Vice President of Advancement in April 2019. LaPlante has spent the past 25 years in growing leadership roles within higher education development. For 15 years prior to joining Western, LaPlante served Colorado State University in various capacities. Initially he led the Athletic Development team, where he grew […]
Steven D. Parker
Steven D. Parker (He, Him) is a transdisciplinary scholar-practitioner-leader in the fields of education and mental health. As a social worker, he has years of experience working alongside humans who are underrepresented, underserved, and marginalized in the United States. He has centered his work as a social worker around individuals who live with neurological developmental […]
Gary C. Pierson
Gary Pierson joined Western Colorado University in July 1998 as the Director of Campus Life. Pierson began his career in higher education in 1982 and served in a variety of roles at colleges and universities across the country including Quincy University (IL), Pittsburg State University (KS), Kansas State University (KS), Portland State University (OR) and […]
Leslie Taylor joined Western Colorado University in March 2022 as interim Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment and accepted the role permanently in May 2023. As VP, she leads the University’s marketing efforts, recruitment and admissions, and student financial aid. From April 2018 to December 2021, Taylor served as Vice President for Enrollment and Access […]
How did you discover Western? I discovered Western years ago when I was considering becoming a college professor and thinking about where I’d like to live and teach. Happily, there was a job opening at Western for a Physics professor when my first postdoc ended, and the rest is history. What are some of the […]
Like many of our colleagues around the state and nation, we’ve been watching for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on two cases related to race-conscious admissions. Yesterday, in what is being called a landmark decision, the Supreme Court banned almost all considerations of race as a factor in university admissions.
While this ban will impact admissions practices at many institutions, it will not affect the undergraduate or graduate admissions process here at Western. We have and will continue our work to implement systems that affirm the inherent worth of all people. Our practice for more than 5 years has been to assess each student holistically across a range of factors, starting with academic achievement, with careful consideration of educational opportunities and personal experiences. At Western, we believe in the transformational power of higher education, and through holistic review, we strive to offer every qualified student the opportunity to earn a 4-year degree.
Having a student body that includes individuals with a broad range of academic and life experiences, skills, interests, and identities aligns with our institution’s values and our role as a regional public university. And, perhaps as importantly, a diverse student body enriches our community and the lives of all our students. We value differences in all of its forms and affirm our value for and commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice plus (DEIJ+).
We do not agree with this decision of the Supreme Court and recognize that inequality remains and that this will impact all of us, and in particular, the lives of minoritized populations. As has been evidenced by previous actions banning affirmative action in other states, this Supreme Court decision will diminish enrollment of students from underrepresented backgrounds at many institutions which will hinder economic mobility, workforce preparation, and movement towards the creation of a more equitable and just society. At Western we must remain focused that our communications and programs convey that we welcome all students to our community—they belong here. Our commitment to opportunity, access, and inclusion remains strong and this Supreme Court decision will not change that.
-Brad Baca, M.A., President
-Jessica Young, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
-Ian Higgins, Vice President for Finance and Administration / CFO
-Mike LaPlante, MBA, Vice President of Advancement
-Steven D. Parker, M.A., Vice President for Inclusivity
-Gary C. Pierson, M.A., Dean of Students
-Leslie Taylor, M.S., Vice President, Marketing & Enrollment
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