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Interim Leadership Plans for SAIE

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Jeremy Haefner

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Dear Campus Community, 

As Vice Chancellor Lili Rodriguez’s leadership comes to a close on May 15, I’m writing to share important news about the transition within Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence (SAIE). But first, I want to thank Lili for the creative and strategic way she shaped and built the division and how she has recently led the division during the pandemic. I also want to extend my sincere appreciation to the staff in SAIE for their dedication to our students. Their work serving the residential, extracurricular and health and wellness needs of our students, always requires long hours, great attention to detail and tremendous empathy. The past several weeks has required whole new levels of dedication. I hope you will join me in appreciating their service and commitment.

I have asked Niki Latino to step in as SAIE’s interim vice chancellor while we finalize our search. Niki started at DU nearly 20 years ago, and since then has worked with a variety of departments across the University and has been entrusted with increased responsibilities and promotions. She earned her master’s degree and PhD from the Morgridge College of Education; and has most recently served as SAIE’s associate vice chancellor. 

Niki will rely on the entire SAIE staff to keep things running smoothly in the coming months, especially Kent Lebsack, assistant vice chancellor for budget and operations, and Michael LaFarr, who I have asked to serve as interim associate vice chancellor. Michael will continue in his role as executive director of the Health and Counseling Center and also help Niki and Kent oversee the division by supervising and supporting the area of Community and Residential Education. 

Meanwhile, the search for our next vice chancellor progresses. The committee conducted an initial round of phone interviews in April and we are now determining next steps for the interview process as we continue to navigate the impact of the coronavirus. We’ll provide updates periodically throughout the search process and intend to engage students, faculty and staff in the process, even while we were living “remotely.”

Please join me in wishing Lili and her family all the best for her future in Vermont, and in thanking Niki, Kent and Michael for their excellent work. 


Jeremy Haefner