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 Tuesday, October 24, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


The First 100 Days

October 22nd marked my 100th day as Chancellor here at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It has been an eventful and productive three months, underscored by my learning a tremendous amount about the people, places and things that make this university such a special place. All across the state and nation, and from every segment of the CU community, I have met with people who have provided advice or suggestions and expressed interest in the future direction of the university and how we might best accomplish our goals. In all of my encounters, I have found the spirit and love for the University of Colorado at Boulder to be alive and well.

My duties as Chancellor have allowed me to spend time with many individuals and groups from all facets of the campus community, including Jerry Hauser and the Boulder Faculty Assembly, the deans, various councils and advisory boards in the schools and colleges, Cynthia Ocken and the Staff Council, directors from Student Affairs and Administration, and the UCSU tri-executives and various student leaders and groups. I have also attended numerous events hosted by system President Hank Brown and the Board of Regents. Most of all, I have enjoyed hosting and participating in several noteworthy campus events, such as the first new student convocation held on Folsom Field, my first campus address in September, the opening and 70th Anniversary of the Artists Series for the College of Music, football games and other sporting events, the opening of the Wolf Law and ATLAS buildings, and the virtual launch for the Visual Arts Complex, to name a few.

Off campus, I have met with Colorado legislators, national congressional leaders, Boulder City Council and other city officials, Boulder County Commissioners, law enforcement officials, donors, alumni, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity, the media, and many other community leaders in Boulder and Denver. I have traveled to several out-of-state recruiting and fund raising events, and I have enjoyed meeting many prospective students and their parents, as well as parents of our current students.

Throughout all these interactions, I have been emphasizing some fundamental priorities: to reaffirm the University of Colorado at Boulder as the national flagship university for the state of Colorado; to place an emphasis and focus on the people whose work defines this great university; and to undertake a strategic planning process that will help us chart our future course and determine how best to excel in our role and mission over the next 10 years and beyond. In just over 100 days, we have made visible progress in all three of these arenas, and our efforts are ongoing.

As we pursue our role and mission, we know that remaining competitive among national flagship institutions is critical to ensuring Colorado's future economic health and prosperity. Doing so will require us to make significant investments in our people, facilities and programs. While much is already underway, I recognize the need to diversify and enhance our resource base to in order to fully implement our plans and reach our desired goals. I am committed to expanding our resource base from state, federal and private philanthropic sources, so that we can continue to provide the very best education possible for our students and create an environment that our faculty and staff find intellectually stimulating and one in which they can produce the highest possible quality research and creative work.

In addition to focusing on these priorities, we have made a number of structural changes. First we have initiated a restructuring of the Office of University Communications, creating the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications with overall responsibility for all internal and external communications here at the University of Colorado at Boulder. One of the first responsibilities of the person in this position will be to convene a council of campus leaders who communicate regularly with our constituents. This group will be charged with defining an integrated communications strategy for sharing our aspirations and accomplishments with a coordinated message of service and excellence. We anticipate completing the search for this individual in the next week or two. Also as part of this effort, we have hired Bronson Hilliard as the Director of Media Relations and University Spokesperson, and have charged him with enhancing our visibility and openness with the media and broader community. Working with the Office of the President, we have clarified the relationship between the Office of the President and Chancellor and more closely aligned the respective authority and responsibilities of these two offices. As part of this process the Department of intercollegiate Athletics has been incorporated as an integral part of the university with the Athletic Director reporting to me as Chancellor, but also having a reporting relationship to other key leadership positions within the university to ensure integration into the campus.

With respect to the people of CU, we recently presented to the Blue Ribbon Commission the results of a year long study on diversity and presented an action plan that will be discussed in more detail with the campus community in the coming months. We will continue to ask our students to explore how they can become better university and global citizens, to think about what they can expect of us, what we can expect of them, and encourage them to ask themselves what it is they wish to accomplish during their time here at CU-Boulder. In addition to these "internal" activities, we continue to work with the members of the City Council, City Manager Frank Bruno, the Boulder County Commissioners and the Boulder community at-large to strengthen and enhance our relationships and to identify additional areas of cooperation.

Finally, we have initiated a strategic planning process whereby we are engaging the entire community in a discussion about our future -- a discussion that begins by clarifying aspirations to excel at our role and mission as the flagship institution for the state of Colorado and validating our direction and long-term investment strategy. While this strategic planning process will help to clarify where and how we should make future investments, there are some investments that are so critical that we must make them immediately. Accordingly, in parallel with this strategic planning process we recently announced the creation of 25 new faculty positions and the associated startup funds in order that we can grow and expand the size and quality of our faculty. These positions are the first new, centrally-supported faculty positions at CU-Boulder in several years. In addition, I have authorized additional mid-year funding to assist with staff support, policy implementation, compliance issues, and program operations, by addressing the most urgent needs across the campus. While modest, these are real increases and will help the campus community meet the increasing demands on the support staff and other resources. I anticipate the opportunity to provide more support as the budget process develops through the planning cycle.

All in all, it has been an exciting 100 days and I am honored to be your Chancellor. I continue to be impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm I have witnessed among so many of you, and while humbled by the responsibilities and promise that lie before us, I look forward with great anticipation and confidence to working with you, so that together we can make this great university even greater. Thank you for all you do for CU!

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