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International Programs' Martha Denney to retire June 30 after 33 years

May 12, 2011

Martha Denney has been a valued member of CSU for a little more than 33 years - but she's definitely not counting.

Martha Denney, longtime director of International EducationEven after Denney officially retires as the university’s director of International Education on June 30, she will stay involved in international relations and possibly even work as a consultant in Zimbabwe.

Consulting work in Denney's plans

After all, Africa’s not a long way from home if traveling and meeting new people is close to your heart.

“I’m ready to change jobs but not ready to get out of the field,” Denney said. While at CSU, “the high points are the people that I’ve met – both on campus and from around the world.”

Denney met her husband, Lloyd Walker, when they both worked for Extension (Walker recently retired as well). Denney worked in Extension for a few years, but the bulk of her career has been with International Programs.

Longtime advocate for international relations

Denney’s work has focused on international programs in higher education, international training, sponsored student programming, Study Abroad and the integration of international perspectives into CSU programs. Her research interests include reentry to the home culture, intercultural adjustment and the adjustment of sponsored international students. She has worked in Swaziland, Russia and Kenya and has traveled widely.

“Martha’s strengths as director of International Education have always been her ability to collaborate with others across campus to create innovative programs,” said Karen Gardenier, a coordinator of International Education. “Much of what our office does today was started under her initiative. Her efforts have contributed to the internationalization of undergraduate and graduate education and to increased international opportunities for faculty.”

Today asked Denney to look back and talk about her future

Q: What are some of your fondest memories of CSU?
In everything I’ve done I’ve found things that are very interesting. Working out on the Eastern Plains (in Extension), I found cowboy culture to be personally interesting. One of the big changes is just the spread of communication and telecommunications. When I worked in the international student and training area, there were only eight of us in Aylesworth Hall. We had three phone lines for everybody. You had time to think about things or talk to each other.

The high points are the people I’ve met – both on campus and from around the world. I can’t imagine not working with people from all over because that’s been my window on the world. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be boxed in with people who all come from the same area and who don’t have different ways of viewing things. I think you can also isolate yourself – just being in the vicinity of a cross-cultural experience doesn’t equal learning. It’s got to have the support systems for people to feel comfortable to interact in a more meaningful way.

Q: What will you do after retirement?
Slow down. I feel like I’ve been running for 30 years. I have an elderly father and I’m looking forward to spending more time with him. I’ll be looking after my health a bit better. It’s really easy to get caught up in the work and forget to exercise. I’m also hoping to do a short-term consulting job on gender in Zimbabwe. I’ve been interested since I started working in international programs in gender and development issues. I’ve been asked to help with an agricultural project in Zimbabwe that will look at how women can be involved more effectively.

Q: What is your advice to the campus community about international relationships?
We have a tendency to think about “international” as something for people from other places. But in the world we live in today, we have an obligation to our students to help them prepare more effectively to work in a globalized environment. We need a lot more discussion and soul searching on how we can do a better job on how we prepare our undergraduates. It isn’t just about research or travel, but also about how we incorporate into our curriculum some of the skill set they’re going to need to be able to work in the future.

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336