Biology and basketball – two endeavors seemingly unrelated on campus – are part of the Dan Bush’s plans when he steps away from his day-to-day campus duties he’s attended to for almost 17 years. Bush came to Colorado State University in 2003 as chair of the biology department and became Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs in 2012. He will move to professor emeritus later this fall.
“I am particularly proud of the many accomplishments of the biology faculty during my tenure as chair,” Bush said. “We hired many new colleagues who have matured into international leaders in their fields and much of that success was attributable to leadership of the outstanding senior faculty in the department. In addition to being the largest major on campus, biology has become one of the leading research units on campus with substantial grant support and many impactful high visibility publications, not to mention three University Distinguished Professors and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.”
As department chair, Bush also played a significant role promoting the need for a new building for the department and in several multidisciplinary, intercollegiate initiatives, including spearheading the creation of the program in physiological and molecular plant biology.
Working with faculty
Bush stepped into the vice provost role in 2012, where he has been instrumental in ensuring young faculty get thoughtful feedback annually about their progress toward promotion and tenure, and in developing workshops focused on training department chairs to be effective leaders and administrators. He also pushed CSU forward in several areas including salary equity, helping to establish the Council of Chairs, and championed the STEM Ed Center.
Bush helped CSU transform classroom learning and improve academic support, and worked with the Faculty Council in making many positive changes to the Faculty Manual. Of particular significance was his work with Faculty Council implementing stable career pathways for non-tenure track faculty.
“Dan Bush came to us from the University of Illinois the to lead our largest department, biology – and did a wonderful job at that for nearly a decade,” said Rick Miranda, former provost and dean of the College of Natural Sciences when Bush was hired. “The department grew in nearly every way in those years, building on the work of the prior generation, and laying a solid foundation for a 21st-century life science department that has taken its place among the university’s most productive units. I was delighted when he transitioned to the vice provost role, where he had broad responsibilities, and similarly extensive impact. It was a pleasure to work closely with him for many years.”
Navigating the pandemic
Among Bush’s biggest challenges has been helping Colorado State and its faculty navigate the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
“The COVID pandemic has been a major lift for faculty, staff and administrators,” Bush said. “I couldn’t be prouder of how everyone at CSU, including the students, have stepped up their game and tackled this challenge with good spirits and exceptional effort.”
Provost and Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen said she appreciated having Bush’s help in her transition to CSU.
“Every university needs someone who has worked for years to advance the mission of the institution, someone who is fully committed to its success and the success of the larger community, and Dan has been this person for CSU,” Pedersen said. “I am very appreciative to have had Dan’s invaluable guidance and knowledge to help me transition and learn about the culture of our campus. Dan has clearly dedicated his time to create a better academic experience for our students and faculty, and we are grateful for his leadership and service.”
Returning to research
Bush will still be on campus, returning to his research program, and, when it is safe, the basketball courts in the Moby complex.
“Lunchtime basketball has been a stress relief since I started my career,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back at it when we get past the COVID pandemic.”
After his years as an administrator, he looks forward to seeing the many people he’s interacted with through his time in biology and in the Administration Building.
“A university campus is a rich environment with many bright and engaged people,” he said. “I’ve never looked at being a professor as a job; it is a gift.”