A Message from President Aceves

Dear Colleagues,

It is with excitement and gratitude that we officially welcome our new Provost, Dr. Jake Bucher, who started his tenure at Regis on Monday. Jake brings a deep commitment to Jesuit Catholic education. I asked him to reflect upon what is moving him towards greater faith and hope and where are his doubts and fears. Here is what he shared.

“I have an annual tradition of summiting a mountain, a centering effort that allows me to physically and emotionally be with nature while nurturing my emotional and physical wellbeing. I had one week between my last day in my former role and my first day in my new role to get in this year’s summit, and it could not have come at a better time. After getting through the emotional journey of changing institutions and the pragmatic obstacles of moving our family, and now looking at the path ahead for Regis and for higher education, it was fitting that I had a literal mountain to climb along with the metaphorical ones.

I’m sure current Coloradans don’t need a newcomer to use mountain metaphors in comments about hope for the new academic year, but I had a lot of time to think about the work ahead at Regis. I thought about how weather, something out of your control, can impact your climb. And I thought about recent (and ongoing) socio-political and economic realities that impact our work. In both cases we find strength and resiliency to adapt and adjust course. I thought about the (sometimes many!) moments of wondering “WHY AM I DOING THIS,” thinking that the pain and fatigue can’t possibly be worth any good outcome. And I thought about how with limited resources and sometimes indirect validation, that higher education can be as ungrateful a partner as an unworn trail. In both cases we find a resourcefulness and scrappiness, and greater fulfillment in purpose and internal validation.

In addition to providing more mountain analogies than a Miley Cyrus song (I am neither proud nor embarrassed to be likely the first Provost to reference Ms. Cyrus in public comment), my time on the mountain provided a great opportunity for some mindfulness. I often engage a breathing practice of breathing in the future and breathing out the past, and doing this exercise on that mountain at this moment in my life was powerful. I now ask that the community join me in this process. Since accepting the Provost position I have had an opportunity to breathe in a lot of the past that folks have shared with me, and I will continue to do so in order to understand and to feel where we’ve been. But those cannot be empty or shallow breaths, but informative (productive) ones. We need to breathe out what was and what should have been, and fill ourselves with what should and will be. The future I’m breathing in is the work to be a place where students of all backgrounds can pursue the highest quality education and develop their highest quality selves. I’m breathing in my responsibility to advocate centering teaching/learning/scholarship integrity, using it and mission to inform all other work at the institution. I want us to breathe in the work to integrate diversity, equity, inclusiveness and justice (DEIJ) across academic affairs, being a place that recognizes justice and equity in every meeting and every decision. And while I know some faculty might say “I won’t hold my breath,” we can breathe in a future that is committed to faculty and staff voice, resources, and connectivity to each other.

Amidst all this hope for the future that I breathed in on the mountain, I also faced an important reality-check. See, I didn’t make the summit. Mount Whitney has had historic snowpacks this summer and I didn’t have the gear to make it to the top. This was a tough and important reminder for me – I’m someone who takes pride in getting things done, so to not make it to the top created quite the dissonance at 12,000 feet.  This was an opportunity to reassess accomplishment, adjust goals, and to show myself grace. I’m so excited for all I know we’ll accomplish this year, but I certainly realize we won’t accomplish everything I/we want. That’s because there is no mountaintop in higher education – just a continuous climb with new obstacles to traverse, new goals to achieve, and I know many new successes at Regis. I look forward to helping you up our collective mountain and your individual ones!”

Thank you for your reflection and for agreeing to share your gifts and talents with our campus community. As our mission reflects, you join “… a community of learners who labor for a transformed world and renewed ecosystem, and who journey as companions responsible for each other.”



Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D.