Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke announced today he has appointed Robyn Fergus to be the new senior associate vice chancellor and chief people officer at CU Boulder, effective Oct. 31.
Fergus currently serves as vice president and chief human resources officer at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. She replaces Merna Jacobsen, who has led CU Boulder’s Human Resources operations in an interim capacity since 2021.
“I am thrilled to welcome Robyn to CU Boulder to lead our people operations at a time when sustaining and supporting our faculty and staff has never been more critical,” O’Rourke said. “Robyn’s expertise covers the full life cycle of employment and she has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as fostering employee engagement―two values that are key priorities for our university.”
Fergus has served CSU since 2019. In addition to guiding the campus’s HR operations through the COVID-19 pandemic, she also led the modernization of the HR information systems, metrics and processes for onboarding, employee relations, performance management, compensation and classification, blended learning initiatives, payroll and talent management.
Prior to joining CSU, she served as human resources director for Jeffco Public Schools, driving talent acquisition strategy for 4,000 operational and educator positions annually. She also worked in a number of human resources leadership roles over the course of a 15-year career with Denver Public Schools that followed stints at Vail Resorts and Daimler Chrysler.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join CU Boulder and am thankful to university leadership for the opportunity,” Fergus said. “I look forward to advancing the campus’s efforts to ensure employee well-being, belonging and professional fulfillment, and position the university as an employer of choice for Coloradans and higher education professionals.”
Fergus holds a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies from Michigan State University and is a board member for Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, a nonprofit animal rescue and behavioral health center that offers equine-assisted learning programs.
Jacobsen, who has been at CU Boulder since 2015, will remain a key leader at the university, continuing in her interim capacity through the onboarding of Fergus, at which point she’ll serve as associate vice chancellor for organization and employee development. In this role, she will continue to focus on campuswide employee learning and organization development initiatives, including faculty and staff engagement, departmental strategic planning and coaching programs.
“I am grateful for Merna’s steady leadership during the past year as the university navigated a number of challenges, and we’re excited she’ll continue to play a key role in employee development on our campus,” O’Rourke said. “I also want to thank Associate Vice Chancellor and Title IX Coordinator Llen Pomeroy for chairing our CPO search committee, as well as all our search committee members for their leadership and service in guiding a successful search.”