Jun. 25—A Greeley resident is running for a seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents with the intention of making college a better experience for first-generation students.
Mark VanDriel, a Republican, was born and raised in Greeley and is a CU Boulder graduate. He has been an educator for 13 years, primarily working as a history professor at the University of South Carolina, before returning to his hometown.
He is one of two Republican candidates seeking to secure a nomination in Tuesday's primary election that guarantees a place on the November general election ballot for the CU Board of Regents' 8th Congressional District.
VanDriel is running on a platform he often refers to as AAA — affordability, accessibility and accountability.
Generally, this means he will strive to make an undergraduate education more affordable, while protecting free speech and removing barriers to success for first-generation students.
Further, VanDriel said, if elected, he would prioritize fiscal management and strategic planning.
"We need a board able and willing to engage in thorough academic leadership to ensure that CU is preparing students for the future Coloradoans want, and it requires experience in higher education to be able to hold the system accountable," he wrote in response to emailed questions.
VanDriel does not currently serve on any boards nor does he have experience in politics. However, throughout his decade as a University of South Carolina faculty member, he served on a variety of boards such as the Graduate Finance Council, Graduate Council, Library Supervisory Council and the USC Graduate Institute for Community and Public Engagement Steering/Planning Committee.
And regardless, he would argue that his time teaching undergraduate students is his biggest asset to the board.
"I have been an instructor to approximately 4,000 undergraduates over the last decade, and have learned an incredible amount about their enormously diverse needs, wants and experiences," he wrote.