Senior Staff

 

Chief Operating Officer

Jennifer Sobanet

Jennifer Sobanet
Denver, CO

Jennifer Sobanet is the Chief Operating Officer at the Colorado Department of Higher Education, serving since Oct. 1, 2013 at the discretion of Lt. Governor Joe Garcia.

Within the past few years, Sobanet has redesigned the funding models for public intuitions of higher education to ensure that all state funds– whether tuition, financial aid, or operating funds - are aligned with an aggressive state plan for increasing postsecondary completion.

Sobanet has strived to connect higher education policy with workforce-based demands, leading the charge to close the attainment gap and serving as a commissioner on the Business Experiential-Learning Commission.

She has used her extensive executive leadership background at both the community college and university levels to affect change while at the Department of Higher Education.

Prior to joining the Department, she served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Administration at Front Range Community College; as the Director of Strategic Planning and Partnership Development at Colorado State University – Global Campus; and as the Associate Vice President of Compliance, Budgets, and Technical Support at the Colorado Community College System.

While at the Colorado Community College System, she also worked as Budget Director and Legislative Director. Other government experience includes serving as an Economist and Budget Analyst Office of State Planning and Budgeting for Governor Roy Romer.

Sobanet also brings valuable private sector experience to her work in higher education. Before focusing her career on public higher education, Sobanet spent nearly a decade working in management consulting and corporate finance.

Sobanet is a summa cum laude graduate of Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She earned a Master of Arts in international studies with concentrations in Latin America and Spanish from the Lauder Institute, and an MBA in international financial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She is proficient in Spanish.

Outside of work, Sobanet is involved in the community as the incoming Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Denver.

 

CEO of College Assist and CollegeInvest

Inta Morris

Angela P. Baier
Denver, CO
Since 2009, Baier has been responsible for managing Colorado’s 529 College Savings program representing over $5 billion in assets under management and more than 330,000 families. In 2012, she was named CEO of CollegeInvest and of College Assist, a federal student loan Guaranty Agency representing over $11.5 billion in student loans. Baier brings over 25 years of senior level management, business development, and marketing expertise to her position.

Baier’s diverse career consists of 20 years in nonprofit leadership, including serving as CEO of The New York State Zoo and as a Vice President at the Denver Zoo. She served as a Hickenlooper Mayoral Appointee for the City & County of Denver – leading the first-ever city branding effort, was the youngest department head in Best Western’s Corporate history, led the nation’s largest retail sponsorship program at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, was a national nonprofit liaison for the Walt Disney Company, and has been host of her own TV and radio shows – appearing with live animals.

Baier is very active in the Metro-Denver community, serving on the Mayoral transition teams for both Mayor Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock, and has served on a number of non-profit boards.

Baier earned her B.S. from the University of Kansas.

Chief Advocacy and Outreach Officer

Inta Morris

Inta Morris
Denver, CO
As the Chief Advocacy and Outreach Officer, Inta Morris oversees external proposals and grants and helps to develop new directions and relationships for the department. She has been instrumental in promoting increased cooperation between the department and other state agencies, the business community and other organizations. She also developed and now runs StudyColorado, an initiative of the state, its institutions of higher education and the business community focused on promoting Colorado as a higher education destination to international students. 

Before joining the department in July 2007, she served as academic and political affairs officer for the Canadian Consulate General in Denver. In that position, she developed advocacy programs and strategies for advancing Canada’s positions with the political and academic communities in the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, Morris served as vice president of a Washington, D.C.-based nongovernmental organization focused on fostering ties between the scientific and academic communities of the United States and countries of the former Soviet Union. Prior to that position, she served as director of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences and she worked in the International Affairs office of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences (now National Academies). She began her career working for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, first as a campaign staff member and then as a legislative assistant in the congressional office.

Morris received her master's degree from George Washington University and her bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado. She is multi-lingual and has traveled extensively in Europe, the countries of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa. Morris is married and has two stepdaughters.

Chief Financial Officer

Diane Duffy

Diane Duffy
Denver, CO

Diane Duffy joined the Colorado Department of Higher Education as Chief Financial Officer on August 18, 2014.

Most recently, Duffy spent eight years as Vice-President for Finance and Administration for the Kansas Board of Regents, the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions. Prior to her time with the Kansas Regents, she held budget and finance positions at University of Kentucky’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.

Duffy began her career working for the Kansas Legislative Research Department conducting fiscal and policy analysis. She was the state’s cash management specialist in the Kansas State Treasurer’s Office and served the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Secretary.

She earned a juris doctorate from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota.

Chief Policy Officer

Kachina Weaver

Kachina Weaver
Denver, CO

Kachina Weaver officially joined the Colorado Department of Higher Education team on January 1, 2015 as the Chief Policy Officer. However, prior to this Weaver has led the Department’s work on the implementation of HB 14-1319 and the creation of the new Higher Education Funding Model since May 2014. In her new role as Chief Policy Officer, she will be responsible for legislative strategy and lobbying efforts in the Colorado State House as well as working internally on higher education policy statewide.

A recent transplant to Colorado, Weaver has almost two decades of experience in public policy. Prior to moving to Colorado she was the State Relations Manager for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, leading the legislative strategy and lobbying efforts before the Connecticut General Assembly on key issues of importance to local governments – education, election law, environmental issues, economic development, and local government issues. While in this role, Weaver also served as the Vice President of the Association of Connecticut Lobbyists for four years.

Weaver earned a B.S. in Finance from Southern Connecticut State University.

Chief Research Officer

Beth Bean

Beth Bean
Denver, CO
Beth Bean is Chief Research Officer for the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Before joining the department in 2011, Bean served in numerous roles in higher education administration at public and private institutions. She has over 10 years of experience, including expertise in institutional research, curriculum and instruction, coaching and advising. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Denver.

Bean participates in numerous statewide initiatives including Degree Within Reach reverse transfer, the Colorado Statewide Longitudinal Data System, the Government Data Advisory Board, the GDAB Education Data Subcommittee, and several institutional efforts. She specializes in bringing together people through data and advancing our understanding of educational trends in Colorado. Bean was the DHE Colorado Public Service Recognition Honoree in 2013.

She received her Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Denver, her master’s degree from Saint Louis University and her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in Indiana. She has two wonderful daughters and too many pets.

Chief Student Success and Academic Affairs Officer

Timothy J. Flanagan

Timothy J. Flanagan
Denver, CO
Timothy J. Flanagan has been Chief Student Success and Academic Affairs Office of the Colorado Department of Higher Education since March 2016. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), a national organization of 420 public institutions of higher education based in Washington, DC.

Flanagan was president of Illinois State University (2013-14), and Framingham State University (2006-2013). From 1998 to 2006, Dr. Flanagan was Provost of the State University of New York College at Brockport. Flanagan was on the faculties of Marshall University, the State University of New York at Albany, and Sam Houston State University. From 1991-1998 he was Dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Director of the Criminal Justice Center at Sam Houston State. He has served as a consultant to numerous Federal and State criminal justice agencies and higher education institutions and organizations.

Timothy J. Flanagan has published forty articles about crime, justice, and public policy in scholarly journals and law reviews, and is editor or co-editor of three anthologies and fifteen reference volumes. He was honored by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences with the Academy Fellow Award for "distinguished teaching and scholarly achievement” and is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy of the State University of New York. He received the University of Cincinnati Award from the American Probation and Parole Association for “outstanding contribution to the field of Corrections in the United States and Canada."

Dr. Flanagan chaired the National Committee on Teacher Education of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and was a member of the AASCU Council of State Representatives, the association’s national policy council. He served on the Executive Committee of the American Council on Education Fellows Program, and the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics.

Born in Pittsburgh, Timothy J. Flanagan received the B.A. from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and the M.A. and Ph.D. from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Dr. Flanagan is an alumnus of the American Council of Education Fellows Program and the Harvard University Institute of Educational Management and the Harvard Seminar for Experienced Presidents. He has delivered invited lectures throughout the United States and at leading universities in Austria, Belgium, China, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland and Australia. He maintains an active interest in his research specializations in long-term incarceration, public opinion and public policy, and in higher education policy, leadership, finance and administration.