I am delighted to share with you the Re-accreditation Self-Study Report of the University of Colorado at Boulder—the culmination of nearly three years of work in strategic planning, analysis, research, and writing. This report is intended to assist the re-accreditation team visiting our campus in early 2010, but the university itself has benefited substantially from the process. As an institution, we have learned much about ourselves: the ongoing impact of our history and traditions, the effects of current conditions under which we operate, and the potential for exciting new directions.
Since 1913, the University of Colorado has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), the primary accrediting agency for educational institutions in the United States. Every 10 years, a team of leading external educators visits the university campus to evaluate the institution as a whole and provide recommendations for continued improvement. We view this process as a unique opportunity for focused introspection about our own strengths and challenges—and a chance to gain thoughtful feedback from the consultant-evaluator team of higher education leaders assembled by the NCA Higher Learning Commission. During the process, we look forward to full and lively discussions aimed at helping the University of Colorado at Boulder reach new levels of excellence.
The timing of the self-study process is especially fortuitous, allowing us to meld strategic planning, reaccreditation, and facilities master planning into a continuum of focused effort. Indeed, much of this report is built upon the analysis that took place in the recent strategic planning process. In 2006, the university community engaged in an extensive planning effort that resulted in Flagship 2030, an ambitious blueprint for positioning CU-Boulder as a global leader in education, research, creative work, and service by the year 2030. The long planning horizon was chosen consciously—to liberate our thinking from current temporary issues and to encourage creative choices that would transform our university into a model for the "new flagship" of the 21st century.
We are now in the third phase of Flagship 2030—establishing concrete plans and priorities for implementation—and we expect to draw upon the reaccreditation process to help us in those decisions. In fact, the self-study has helped us see ourselves in new ways. The process of self-examination has revealed a set of institutional qualities that will serve us well as we move forward under Flagship 2030. In this process, we have observed a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, a growing global reach in a diverse world, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, collaboration in discovery and creativity, and sustained vision and agility. These distinctive qualities—some of which exist now and some that are just emerging—will play a central role in transforming the university into the new flagship we envision. During the re-accreditation team's visit, we hope to engage with the team on how best to maximize these qualities as we implement Flagship 2030.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the hard work of the many committees, planning groups, reviewers, analysts, and others who contributed to the self-study report. In particular, let me recognize the invaluable contributions of the Flagship 2030 steering committee, subcommittees, and task forces, whose work formed the foundation of this report. In addition, I extend my warm appreciation to the members of the re-accreditation steering committee, whose thoughtful suggestions and input elevated the self-study report. My heartfelt thanks to them all.
Now, we have the distinct pleasure of welcoming the NCA consultant-evaluator team to the Boulder campus in February 2010. I look forward to sharing information about the university, describing the challenges and opportunities that we face, and expressing our hopes and plans for the future. In essence, we plan to make the most of this opportunity to further accelerate our momentum in "shaping the new flagship."