CU Regents

Davidson, Garrow will lead school well

Brian Davidson knows higher education from the inside out, and that wide-ranging perspective plus an enthusiastic commitment to improving the delivery, cost and outcomes of higher education qualify him to be an effective member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Davidson, 35, is running for the at-large seat on the CU board, challenging incumbent Steven Ludwig, who has held the position since 2007. Ludwig has served the institution well, and would likely to continue to do so if re-elected. Davidson, however, brings both a point of view and set of experiences that position him to tackle the funding challenges the university faces. He is eminently familiar with public and private higher education in Colorado, having earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, graduating from the University of Colorado Medical School as an anesthesiologist, then going on to earn a master’s in business administration in health care administration from CU-Denver, and finally, he obtained a graduate certificate in quality and patient safety from Regis University. He is a physician and serves on the faculty of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

This impressive and relevant resume is complemented by Davidson’s awareness of and vision for addressing the issues that challenge higher education in Colorado. He is concerned about the increasing cost of education, and sees both a need to and opportunities for bringing that down while also ensuring that CU produces graduates that have the skills, knowledge, critical thinking and judgment necessary to be effective contributors to the country’s economic leadership.

Davidson is supportive of increased funding for higher education, but is also convinced that there are efficiencies that can be introduced to both bring down the cost and increase effectiveness. For example, he would push to expand, where appropriate, online course offerings to reach a broader number of students at a lower cost.

His well-rounded combination of experience and vision make Davidson an excellent candidate for the CU Board of Regents. He will serve the university and the state well.

A third-generation Coloradan, Jessica Garrow lives in Carbondale and works as a planner for the city of Aspen. She graduated summa cum laude from CU-Boulder and went on to get a master’s in city and regional planning from Ohio State.

Garrow has an impressive record of community service, including work on a number of agencies such as the Aspen Young Professionals Association and the Carbondale Historic Preservation Commission.

Her interest in higher education stems from her recognition of its importance, not only to individuals but to the state as a whole. As she says, “A successful university ripples throughout Colorado and our economy.”

Garrow’s priorities are to “fight for access to higher education for all Coloradans, increase CU’s presence on the Western Slope, and maintain and improve the quality of a CU education.”

That is a subtle, but real difference in focus than her would-be colleague, GOP candidate Davidson, would bring to the board. It is, however, one that if properly implemented could be more complimentary than adversarial.

All regents will have to deal with the fact that higher education in Colorado is underfunded and too expensive. Garrow points out that money from the state has decreased by 53 percent in the last decade, with much of that expense having been shifted to students and their parents.

With a background in business, Garrow’s opponent would focus on cost containment and efficiency. That is needed but already in evidence in imaginative ways with Davidson.

Garrow offers equally welcome balance, bringing energy and enthusiasm for education and broad access to it.