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 Tuesday, December 12, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Flagship 2030: A Roadmap to CU's Future

If you would have walked across the University of Colorado campus here in Boulder in 1876, it would have taken you about ten seconds. A trip around Old Main, the only building on campus, would have taken you around a brick building that sat on a high plain in the shadow of the Flatirons. Today, that same walk would take you a half-hour or more if you skirted around the edge of this beautiful and functional campus. What a difference 130 years makes!

Earlier this month, I announced that CU-Boulder was beginning a new kind of walk: a walk toward the Boulder campus that will exist a generation from now. In a process we are calling "Flagship 2030" that involves a steering committee of nearly 60 university stakeholders, we have begun the work of identifying the key characteristics the University of Colorado at Boulder will need in order to continue to excel as the state of Colorado's flagship university in the year 2030.

The Steering Committee is divided into six subcommittees of 8-10 people each—a combination of faculty, staff, students and key external stakeholders. Each subcommittee will focus on a specific issue identified through a key question to guide its work. These questions are:

  1. What will our graduating students need to know and be able to do in the year 2030?
  2. To what needs of the year 2030 will our research, scholarship, and creative efforts respond?
  3. What will the state of Colorado want and require from us in the year 2030?
  4. What should our relationship with the Boulder community be like in the year 2030?
  5. What kind of university community will we aspire to be in the year 2030?
  6. What kind of financial and operational models will CU-Boulder need in order to succeed in 2030?

As the various Steering Committee members begin the formulation of a response to these questions, we will be inviting input from additional members of the university community—we're calling them "core contributors"–to join in the discussions and debate of the various steering committees, and to help to prepare a draft response to the questions that most interest them.

The results of the combined efforts of the Steering Committee and the Core Contributors will then be made available to the broader university community through a series of "position papers" which will then be discussed in a number of Open Forums and via our Vision 2030 website, accessible through the CU website. From these position papers, an action plan will be developed and presented to the president next spring and he will submit it to the regents early next fall.

While this describes the strategic planning process, it does not indicate why we are doing this. I believe this process is necessary to develop and clarify a more comprehensive vision for CU-Boulder than we have ever before sought—one that transcends the usual short-term campus plans of the past.

The time frame of Flagship 2030 requires not simply extrapolating data or projecting present trends, but will result in a process that, in its scope mirrors in many ways the founding of the University of Colorado in 1876. We seek nothing less than a vision that will place us on a path to become one of the very finest national comprehensive research universities in the world.

We are asking difficult questions in order to develop a vision for the most beneficial future we can imagine and to chart the best course to that future possibility. This will require discussions from both inside and outside our university community. This is why I am so excited about the broad based composition of our steering committee, the interactive way in which we are involving the core contributors, and the broader discussion by the university community.

It is vital that our Flagship 2030 vision process not be an exercise that just puts us through the motions, yet offers no results, but rather one that results a dynamic action plan that will be flexible enough to incorporate adaptations from future leaders and members of the university community.

I also want to emphasize that this is not a process that negates or makes useless the many valuable strategic planning processes in which our colleges, schools, departments and programs have recently engaged. On the contrary, I expect that in its final form, our Flagship 2030 plan will make strong use of these important foundations as key building blocks.

I look forward to updating you on the work of the steering committee, which met for the first time on Saturday, December 9th. I also invite your input as well, so please visit the CU website and follow the link to the Flagship 2030 webpage. Together, I know we can create a vision and arrive at a roadmap for CU-Boulder that will create a university that would astonish us all 25 years from now in much the same way today's flagship campus would astonish CU's pioneers of 1876.

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