Published: June 13, 2016

Environmental policy leader Alice Madden has been named executive director of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment (GWC) at the University of Colorado Law School, effective July 11.

Madden has held a senior fellow position at the center since February of 2016.

As executive director, Madden will lead the center’s fundraising and external relations efforts, oversee day-to-day programmatic and administrative functions, serve as the primary point of contact for internal relations with other university units and law schools, provide support for the center’s academic and research programs and carry out her own research.

“Alice has deep experience and knowledge in clean energy, climate change and sustainability – expertise that served her well during her tenure as a top official in the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Charles Wilkinson, distinguished professor, Moses Lasky Professor of Law and chair of the Getches-Wilkinson Center board of directors. “She knows Colorado and is widely admired for her ability to collaborate with stakeholders on complex public natural resource issues.”

In 2013, Madden served as principal deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental and external affairs at the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs in Washington, D.C., where she worked with local, state and tribal leaders, energy production industries and other constituencies regarding the development and implementation of energy policies and programs.

Prior to that, she was the Timothy E. Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado Denver from 2011-13.

From 2009-11, Madden was the climate advisor and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Bill Ritter, focusing on developing a clean energy economy.

In 2000, Madden was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, where she served as majority leader from 2004-08. 

“Alice’s extensive background working in energy and environmental policy make her a natural choice to lead the Getches-Wilkinson Center,” said Dean Phil Weiser. “We are extremely fortunate to have her at the helm.”

Madden began her career in the high-tech industry, followed by eight years of commercial litigation practice with a focus on employment law, civil rights and anti-discrimination efforts. An alumna of CU-Boulder, where Madden received both her bachelor’s and law degrees, she in 1997 returned to the law school. She served as director of alumni relations and taught legal writing and advocacy.

“I am thrilled to accept the position of executive director of the GWC,” said Madden, who graduated from Colorado Law in 1989. “It is hard to put into words how honored I am to be running a center named after two of my personal heroes: David Getches and Charles Wilkinson. I look forward to helping guide the GWC into the future.”

Madden will succeed Britt Banks, who served as the center’s executive director since 2014.

The Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment promotes creative, interdisciplinary research and innovative problem-solving to further sustainability. Named for two giants in the field, David Getches and Charles Wilkinson, the center convenes thought leaders on topics including environmental justice, public lands and tribal resource management, climate change and energy development.


In addition to Alice Madden joining the the GWC as its executive director, Colorado Law also looks forward to welcoming S. James Anaya as its new dean. Anaya is a leading authority on indigenous rights and is committed to the continued success of the Getches-Wilkinson Center.