Kate Willink is the University of Denver’s Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and an Associate Professor of Communication Studies. The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (VPFA) works closely with the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and faculty members across the university to support the continued excellence of DU faculty by enhancing faculty development initiatives, increasing faculty diversity, and building a strong, inclusive, and collaborative faculty community. Through collaboration and innovation, Kate works closely with deans and department heads to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, support faculty career advancement, and to create collaborative department cultures that support transparency, equity, trust and belonging.

The You Rock! program encourages faculty and staff to recognize each other for small and large accomplishments.

What we do

The VPFA welcomes and orients new faculty to DU; coordinates faculty development programs across campus; serves as a central resource for information about faculty and faculty policies; supports deans and department leaders with searches, hiring, retention, and advancement; assists faculty with grievances; offers programs to orient new academic leaders; supports programs to enhance teaching; and works with departments, colleges, and other offices to enhance faculty experiences. We work with academic leaders across campus to enhance DU’s efforts to support faculty.


Our next steps in “Advancing Equity in Faculty Workload and Rewards” acknowledges both the long existing challenges with recognizing all the work that faculty do that is essential to our public good mission and the specific workload equity challenges around service and teaching across rank and series. Equity in faculty evaluation and career advancement is an area that requires greater institutional attention. Additionally, as we work to recruit, retain, and ensure the success of a diverse faculty, our ability to count what matters–not simply what is easier to count–is essential to advancing equity in faculty workload and rewards.


In January 2022, DU was reclassified as a “Very High Research Activity Institution” (R1). Most of its faculty are excited about the reputational and material benefits, as well as the possibilities for graduate education and contributing to the knowledge of the world. Their concerns about this transition, however, center around anxieties that DU’s commitment to the “teacher-scholar” model, where innovative research and transformative teaching mutually inform each other, may shift to one in which “scholars” are seen as mutually exclusive from “teachers” and valued more highly. According to the COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey and the 2020 “R1 Report” administrated by the VPFA and Faculty Senate, in addition to concerns about how teaching will be valued (and evaluated), faculty worry about their own and their colleagues’ workloads, especially in terms of teaching, mentoring, and student support. The transition to R1 has the potential to exacerbate concerns articulated in the COACHE data, such as that the worst parts of teaching at DU are “teaching load” and “service load.” It also connects to our identified areas for improvement: leadership, service, promotion, and departmental collegiality—all of which are addressed in the new multi-year initiatives below.

News and updates


We would love to hear from you, your office, and/or faculty within your departments to learn more about your unit, and to hear hopes and concerns of faculty.