A Campus Community Announcement

Dear Colleagues, 

Dr. Barbara Wilcots, vice president for Student Affairs, has shared with me and her team her plans to retire from Regis University effective May.  Barbara came to Regis in 2017 with more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration and, throughout her career, has been dedicated to providing a student journey that embodies our purpose of care.  I am grateful that Regis has been able to benefit from her leadership, knowledge, and experience these past seven years. 

Prior to joining Regis, Barbara served as the associate dean of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, the Dean of the DU-Iliff Joint Doctoral Program in the Study of Religion, and associate provost for Graduate Studies at the University of Denver.  An English professor by discipline, her areas of scholarship are 20th Century American literature and literatures of the African Diaspora with a focus on African-American and Caribbean authors. 

With the goal of listening to, learning from, and advocating for students, Barbara built a strong leadership team focused on renewing student-facing systems to support success, belonging and thriving.  Her commitment to students and to the university’s mission and vision is evident in the programs and initiatives she launched during her tenure at Regis.  Some of the highlights include the following:

  • Spearheaded initial COVID-19 preparedness planning and partnered with the provost and President’s Response Team  to develop a successful institutional response to the global pandemic.
  • Partnered with Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval to host an equity COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Regis to support vaccine access for the Latino/a community.
  • Served as inaugural co-chair of the President’s Council on Race and Justice and was awarded the Mayor’s 2020 Race and Justice Grant to support anti-racist training.
  • Developed the University’s speech and expression policy and advocated for freedom of expression for the Black Student Alliance following the murder of George Floyd and for LGBTQ+ students confronting extremist and anti-LGBTQ attacks. 
  • Developed policies and practices to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ residential staff.
  • Initiated the development of a Bias Incident Response Team.  In collaboration with legal counsel and the vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, developed a bias incident protocol.
  • Oversaw the renovation of the Coors Life Direction Center to include all-gender locker rooms.
  • Drafted and implemented inclusive hiring practices and advocated for pay equity for women in the Student Affairs Division.
  • Expanded access to insurance for international and graduate students and healthcare alternatives for students.
  • Directed the implementation of a mental health screening in Student Health Services and delivered enhanced access to mental health services.
  • Revised the student conduct process to reflect an educational and restorative approach to community standards and care.
  • Started the Regis food pantry now Ranger Co-Op to support students facing food insecurity and co-authored a proposal that was awarded a $25,000 Seasons to Share Grant by the Denver Post Foundation to support the initiative.  Military and Veteran Services and Career Services, with support from Physical Plant, has now expanded the project to include professional clothing.
  • Increased resources for and expanded the Student Financial Distress Committee in partnership with the Office of the President.
  • Enhanced fiscal responsibility in the Student Affairs Division and developed new revenue streams that contribute positively to the University budget.

I asked Barbara to reflect on her experiences at Regis.  Here is what she shared: “It has been extremely rewarding to work with so many extraordinary colleagues and serve in a faith-based institution committed to justice.  I hope that my contributions to Regis have, in some small measure, made a difference in the lives of our students and encouraged them to confront the social justice issues of our time, leaving the university, our communities, and our world better than they found them.”

I am grateful to Barbara for her leadership and many contributions to Regis.  We look forward to celebrating her retirement this spring.  Transition decisions regarding Barbara’s departure will be announced in the coming weeks.


Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D