Leadership Statement

Announcing Retirement of Dean David Engelke, 7-13-22

Dear students, faculty and staff,

We write to share the news that University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Graduate School Dean David Engelke, PhD, has announced that he will retire in January 2023. Dean Engelke led the cross-campus graduate school with passion and dedication for nearly seven years. The departure of such a thoughtful leader is a loss for the university, but we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement. 

Dean Engelke joined CU Denver | Anschutz in September 2015, as the second dean of what was the consolidated Graduate School, following the retirement of founding dean Barry Shur, PhD. Over the course of his leadership, Dean Engelke has done a remarkable job of fostering collaboration and forging connections that strengthen our graduate and postdoctoral offerings. Our graduate programs have flourished, and today stand strong and primed for continued expansion and development. 

With Dean Engelke at the helm, the Graduate School has helped the campus grow in essential areas related to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows ‒ the trainees who work with faculty to drive the educational and research missions of the university. Applications to graduate programs during this time have doubled, with particular emphasis on increasing the diversity of trainees, allowing expansion of existing graduate programs to meet the growing size and strength of the faculty. 

During Dean Engelke’s tenure, the Graduate School has also helped our faculty continually create new degree and certificate programs to meet the changing needs of the scientific community. Growth in extracurricular career development offerings and advice for students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty has also been substantial, not only preparing trainees for the diversity of modern careers but also significantly increasing the national standing of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus for training grants and individual fellowships. 

In addition to serving in his leadership role, Dean Engelke has brought scientific expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology to CU Anschutz in roles including professor of chemistry, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, and member of the RNA Bioscience Initiative advisory committee. He has encouraged and cultivated interdisciplinary educational and training programming, and convened national meetings on the future of graduate and postdoctoral training in the biosciences. Dean Engelke notes that other senior leaders in the Graduate School have also furthered our reputation by gaining national prominence and leadership positions in the realm of biomedical graduate education. 

What Dean Engelke has built here will stand as a legacy to his commitment to our institution and mentorship of future leaders in health and medicine. A search committee will be formed shortly, chaired by Vice Chancellor for Research Tom Flaig, MD, to find his successor. 

Please join us in thanking Dean Engelke for his years of steady leadership, which have elevated the Graduate School to new heights. We are grateful for his countless contributions to graduate student education made throughout a highly distinguished career. We will share plans for an event to thank Dean Engelke in person once finalized.


Don Elliman

Roderick Nairn
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs

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