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 Tuesday, March 22, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


From Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano: In the spirit of continuing campus discourse on current topics, I thought you would be interested in the following message from Susan Avery, interim provost and vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School, on "Research and Graduate Education - CU's Other Learning Enterprise."

Research and Graduate Education - CU's Other Learning Enterprise

Susan Avery, Interim Provost
Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School

Look just about anywhere - and you can see CU-Boulder's graduate learning enterprise at work. The launching of the latest space mission to study our climate, the removal of mining waste from a river, a new drug and delivery system for relieving chronic pain, integrated solutions for a sustainable future, a new look at the ancient architecture of China, the latest jazz composition - these are just a handful of the accomplishments of research and graduate education at CU-Boulder. Linked tightly with the creation of new knowledge through research, scholarship, and creative work, graduate education is a powerful engine of economic growth for the state, a boon to the local economy, a source of new businesses, and a rich resource for the Boulder area.

Scope of the Program
Approximately 4800 graduate students are currently enrolled at CU-Boulder - a number we would like to increase, especially at the Ph.D. level. We offer 70 different master's degree programs and 50 doctoral degree programs, as well as numerous interdisciplinary graduate certificates. Many of our graduate students are employed by the University of Colorado as research assistants, who are paid from the $260 million dollars in research grants brought to CU-Boulder by faculty and research scientists, or as teaching assistants, who are instrumental in maintaining the quality of our undergraduate education.

At CU-Boulder, we are fortunate to have built strong partnerships with our local federal laboratories - partnerships that increase our ability to engage students in state-of-the-art research on fundamental questions of importance to society. Our national reputation in interdisciplinary research and education has led to innovative graduate programs that bridge the natural sciences, social sciences, law, engineering, and the humanities and creative arts. And we have a nationally awarded Graduate Teacher Program that provides enhanced opportunities for students - America's future faculty - to learn the skills of teaching.

Impacts of Graduate Education
The greatest impact of the graduate education program is on the research mission of the University of Colorado. Graduate students, working with active faculty, are essential to the development of new knowledge and creative work that is a hallmark of a flagship research institution.

The presence of top-quality graduate programs at CU-Boulder help the state recruit and retain industry and make regional businesses competitive in a global economy. Large companies such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Raytheon, Amgen, Storage Technology, Hewlett-Packard, and Ball Aerospace all benefit from the talent pool provided by the graduate program, and from the opportunity to send their employees to CU-Boulder for graduate study. Numerous smaller, startup companies are here for the same reason - often the result of spin-offs from our research and graduate education.

CU-Boulder's graduate programs are tailored to Colorado's needs and strengths. Programs in climate, energy, and water help decision-makers to manage our natural resources and provide technologies and products for a sustainable future. A leader in attracting funds from NASA and the National Science Foundation, CU-Boulder and its educators and researchers in spaceflight and in atmospheric and space physics contribute to a significant aerospace industry in the state.

Dozens of patents have emerged from discoveries made by researchers in CU-Boulder labs, and many of these have helped new businesses in the areas of biotechnology, computer technology, optics, photonics, and telecommunications. And the contributions of CU's graduate programs to music, theatre, informal education and cultural events help make the Boulder area one of the most attractive in the country.

Challenges for the years ahead
As we look towards enhancing our graduate programs and their impact on the state, we need to address the crucial need for funding graduate education. Clearly, an effective formula for sustaining and enhancing graduate education must be a priority for the campus and state.

Historically, the U.S. universally has been the first choice for international students, but we must now address vigorous competition by the European Union, other English-speaking countries (Canada, Great Britain, Australia), and East Asian nations for these students. International students have enriched our cultural perspectives and have provided intellectual capital for U.S. economic development - and we must not lose their valuable contributions.

At CU-Boulder, we need to maintain our ranking as a first-class research university and institution of graduate education. The Boulder campus ranks 5th in the nation amongst major public universities in terms of federal research funding. We need to leverage that funding into major economic development through greater collaboration with the state, region, and private sector.

As we continue to grow the graduate programs at CU-Boulder, we can look forward to more exciting new ideas that will enhance the reputation of the University of Colorado and make Colorado and the world a better place to live. By building a dynamic research and graduate learning enterprise, everybody wins - everywhere you look.

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