The University of Colorado Boulder has made progress on several of the Core and Flagship initiatives outlined in its Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan. The Core Initiatives focus on near-term investments necessary to sustain quality and remain competitive. The Flagship Initiatives are more aggressive, far-reaching and designed to transform the university into one of the nation’s leading public research universities. Given the economic conditions of the past few years, the time is ripe to put a new emphasis on the value of the public research university and to reaffirm the excellence in teaching, research and service that are the distinguishing characteristics of CU Boulder. This update summarizes the progress made to date on CU Boulder’s strategic plan.

Increase the size and enhance the quality of our faculty by adding 300 new tenure/tenure-track faculty in the next 10 years. Create a new model for undergraduate education to better prepare CU Boulder students for a changing world.

Progress to date

  • Dedicated $10.9 million for 101 new tenure/tenure-track positions from AY 2007 to the present.
  • Increased the number of Residential Academic Programs (RAPs), bringing the total to 13 RAPs on campus, housing 2,742 students representing 43.8 percent of the freshman student population. Flagship Initiative #1
  • Formed the RAPs Implementation Team to solicit program proposals from the faculty and make selections for new RAPs, and developed a new cross-campus advisory structure. Flagship Initiative #1
  • Promoted evidence-based curricular reform focused on learning outcomes, including efforts in STEM education.
  • Made incremental improvements in incorporating experiential learning more broadly in students’ education through internships, service learning, undergraduate research opportunities and study abroad. Flagship Initiative #3
  • Joined the Pac-12 Conference, the “Conference of Champions,” which is a conference of athletic and academic peer institutions. Strengthened the responsibilities of the faculty athletic representative and the Boulder Faculty Assembly’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee.
  • Established expectations for student-athletes as campus ambassadors and provided them with training and support services to ensure academic and athletic success. In 2012, student-athletes achieved the highest GPA in the university’s history.

Support our research mission by increasing institutional funding and research expenditures by 5 percent each year; provide targeted investments in cutting-edge research and creative work. To support this initiative, CU Boulder is developing a new model and support structure for the research enterprise.

Progress to date

  • Grew research and scholarly productivity of faculty, departments, centers and institutes at an unprecedented rate in recent years from $260 million in research awards in FY 2006–07 to $380 million in FY 2011–12.
  • Expanded the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the long-standing Research Experience for Undergraduates program with funding from the National Science Foundation. Flagship Initiative #3
  • Initiated discussions of the “Research Diamond” with other research universities in the state—including the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University—plus the local federal laboratories. Flagship Initiative #4

Increase the graduate student population to 20 percent of the total student population. With a strategic focus, CU Boulder is identifying programs and disciplines with both the demand and capacity for growth to enhance graduate education.

Progress to date

  • Increased number of overall graduate students to 5,284, which is 17.7 percent of total student population.
  • Established guidelines for the development of new professional master’s degree programs in fields such as energy, information technology, climate, and remote sensing. Flagship Initiative #1
  • Established a pilot program to provide financial support for graduate students to work as research assistants (RAs) in three humanities departments. Flagship Initiative #3

Double merit- and need-based financial aid within five years; initiate a statewide dialogue on expanding access to Colorado higher education.

Progress to date

  • Continued to stabilize or reduce average student financial debt levels by expanding merit- and need-based fellowship and scholarship programs.
  • Collaborated with campus and community leaders to support programs that enhance the success of students of color, first-generation students and low-income students.
  • Established the “Permanent Engagement Structure” as a forum for productive dialogue among students, staff, faculty and administrators.

Increase the university’s staff to support education, research, scholarly and creative work, service, and operations. Pursue the development and acquisition of space or facilities and build a physical infrastructure to meet academic, research and student service needs.

Progress to date

  • Implemented several workforce initiatives to build a more diverse and respectful workplace including enhanced compliance programs (e.g., ADA, Title IX), a campuswide exit survey process, increased formal employee recognition programs, a 2012 employee engagement survey, a career counseling program for alumni employees, and the first campuswide work-life program for all employees and graduate students.
  • Established strict policies and regulations regarding recruiting for football and all intercollegiate sports. Strengthened all NCAA and Title IX compliance efforts and introduced lacrosse as a new sport for women.
  • Addressed safety and security concerns in response to the Student Safety Initiative, the Pedestrian Safety Committee, and regulatory and environmental compliance issues.
  • Addressed safety and security for the entire community by closing the campus and curtailing the annual 4/20 event.
  • Completed the 10-year Facilities Master Plan.
  • Updated various management structures to strengthen ties across the organization. For example, the athletic director reports to the chancellor and now also to the senior vice chancellor on matters relating to the athletics department’s financial and business affairs.
  • Pursued the acquisition, completion and designation of buildings for the new National Solar Observatory, the new data center, the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building for the BioFrontiers Institute; the building addition for JILA; and the Institute for Behavioral Sciences.
  • Built or renovated seven residence halls and two residential dining centers.
  • Completed the Center for Community to house student support services.

Increase investments in new technologies, new and existing campus facilities, and library collections. 

In this update, we focus on our efforts to determine the infrastructure and technologies necessary to support academic and research computing—including classroom teaching; high-performance computing, networking and the use of “big data”; Internet-based video and teleconferencing; online and distance learning; digital library facilities; and data center consolidation.

Progress to date

  • CU Boulder acquired a new supercomputer and made great strides in high-performance research computing and interdisciplinary research involving big data.
  • Initiated plans for new “condominium” collaborative data centers to support research computing and enterprise/instructional computing needs.
  • Implemented a new Learning Management System—Desire2Learn—to support pedagogical and classroom technology and enhance student learning.
  • Implemented the new ISIS student information system to provide students with course schedules, grades, maps and required book information in a mobile-friendly format.

Implement new strategies for improving diversity; foster a supportive and inclusive climate for all.

CU Boulder strives to increase campus diversity and intercultural understanding through the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students from underrepresented populations, and foster a supportive, more inclusive community for all.

Progress to date

  • Updated the CU Boulder diversity plan, “A Blueprint for Action.”
  • Expanded the annual Diversity Summit to include emphasis on campus climate indicators and administered two campus climate surveys in 2010–11.
  • Expanded the Pre-Collegiate Development Program from one program serving 909 students in AY 2007–08 to three programs serving 1,427 students in AY 2010–11.
  • Collaborated with campus and community leaders to support programs that enhance the success of students of color, first-generation students and low-income students.
  • Established the “Permanent Engagement Structure” as a forum for productive dialogue among students, staff, faculty and administrators.

Expand outreach programming aimed at Colorado communities; enhance opportunities for lifelong and distance learning.

Progress to date

  • Appointed an associate vice chancellor for outreach and engagement to coordinate faculty outreach and engagement efforts in the various schools, colleges, institutes and centers.
  • Appointed a vice chancellor for strategic relations to coordinate more effective and robust communications and government relations efforts on campus.
  • Established a new community outreach group to coordinate faculty outreach programs in the community.
  • Worked with the CU System Office in the hiring of a federal lobbyist to be located in Washington, D.C., to represent the Boulder campus. The lobbyist was hired in 2012.
  • Designed and implemented a new customer relationship management-based website for the CU Boulder campus—allowing information to quickly populate to social media and other websites. Designed and launched 37 additional websites.

Increase the number of international students on campus and focus on increasing partnerships and exchange programs for CU Boulder faculty and students around the world.

Progress to date

  • Formed the Internationalization Task Force (I-Team) to examine various models and strategies to recruit international students and support their success after arrival.
  • Starting in spring 2011, launched an international recruiting effort and increased international students from 1,363 to 1,633 degree-seeking students, plus another 334 students enrolled in the International English Center, Continuing Education, and the Brazil Science Without Borders program.

We will seek greater operating flexibility and expanded resources to meet our role and mission. A new relationship with the state of Colorado will emphasize our public mission and our accountability under a more self-reliant and market-driven model. We will enhance our private fundraising efforts in support of university initiatives.

In the spring of 2010 and again in 2011, the state legislature approved “flexibility legislation for higher education,” which have the combined effect of providing CU with managerial flexibility and exempted the university from certain sections of state fiscal rules, capital approval processes and limitations on the matriculation of international students; and allowed the Board of Regents to set and approve tuition rates.

Progress to date

  • Piloted a new enrollment-based funding model designed to create greater interest and accountability around enrollment management at the school/college and department levels.
  • Worked closely with the CU System Office and Board of Regents to explore, develop and implement streamlined processes for cash-funded capital construction projects, tuition programs, health plan options for employees, and more competitive purchase processes for goods and services.
  • Reached $286 million of private fundraising goal of $508 million for the CU Boulder campus, as part of the universitywide Creating Futures Campaign.