Jennifer Sobanet joined the Colorado Department of Higher Education as Chief Operating Officer on Oct. 1, 2013, bringing with her extensive executive leadership experience at both the community college and university levels.
Most recently Sobanet spent four years at Front Range Community College (FRCC) as the CFO and VP-Finance and Administration. During her tenure at Front Range, she helped develop and lead the college’s strategic planning process and continuous process improvement efforts aimed at more closely linking college resources to student outcomes.
Prior to her years at FRCC, Sobanet was director of strategic planning and partnership development at Colorado State University’s Global Campus and Division of Continuing Education. She created a five-year vision and business plan for career and technical education (CTE) students who want to complete CSU’s online bachelor’s degree completion program.
Prior to that, Sobanet was associate vice president for compliance, budgets, and technical support at the Colorado Community College System where she streamlined all administrative, analytical and compliance processes, and aligned a $38 million budget with a new vision for career and technical education. She also served as CCCS budget director and legislative director. Other government experience includes serving as an economist and budget analyst in Gov. Roy Romer’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting.
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.
Sobanet serves on the board of directors of Goodwill Industries of Denver.
Angela P. Baier
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.
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.
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.
Mark Cavanaugh resumed the role of Chief Legislative and Strategic Policy Officer in August 2014 after a 5-year stint at the Department of Higher Education's Chief Financial Officer. Prior to that, he managed special projects under Gov. Bill Ritter including oversight of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and a statewide government performance review.
Cavanaugh directed policy at the non-profit Bighorn Center in Denver for six years and served in various budget and management positions for the Department of Defense, the National Park Service and the Colorado Office of State Planning and Budgeting under Governors Roy Romer and Bill Owens.
Cavanaugh has a business and English degree from Regis University and a juris doctorate from the University of Utah.
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.
Rhonda Epper joined the Colorado Department of Higher Education as chief student success and academic affairs officer in May 2014. Previously, she served as regional director of the State Authorization Reciprocity initiative at WICHE; and was with the Colorado Community College System for 12 years in various roles. She served as Assistant Provost, where her responsibilities included development of academic innovations across the system's 13 community colleges, major grant initiatives, policy direction for online learning, curriculum management, statewide transfer/articulation, and research/planning for academic affairs.
She also served as co-executive director of CCCOnline, a statewide online learning consortium serving 45,000 students annually. Epper also served at Community College of Denver and at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. She has served as a consultant to WCET, ECS, SREB, SHEEO, and the League for Innovation in the Community College. Epper received the WCET Richard Jonsen award for lifetime achievement and service to the eLearning community in 2012, and has served on numerous advisory boards and committees for higher education organizations at the state and national levels.
She received a Ph.D. in higher education administration and a master’s in business administration from the University of Denver. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.