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 Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

FROM THE CHANCELLOR


Frequently Asked Questions

My wife often kids me that I should change my title to "The Answer Man." That's because I get so many questions from so many different people on so many interesting things about this university. Let me share a sampling of the most commonly asked questions.

Quality

Faculty and staff tend to ask me about our "comprehensiveness." Such as, given the small percentage of our funding from the state and low in-state tuition, will CU-Boulder continue to be a comprehensive research university?

Yes. That's our mission and in no way are we going to lose sight of it. We must constantly look for ways to make up for the loss of state support. We are doing that by investing in partnerships with corporations, state and federal governmental agencies and major donors. We also have been forced to raise tuition, much to our regret. But it takes hundreds of millions of dollars to keep an institution as big and as active as ours running at top speed.

We're also being creative and entrepreneurial. For example, we are developing a residential colleges model for undergraduates. We are increasing merit and need-based funding to attract more high-quality undergraduates throughout the world. We're also establishing a single tuition rate for Ph.D. students on appointment to enhance graduate education. We are developing a new concept for the Research Park on East Campus to create new learning opportunities and to cultivate a rich environment for advancing discovery and generating new knowledge. And we are devising a multi-year plan to increase tenure-track faculty and to bring us to a parity in salary with AAU peers so we can better compete in recruiting and retaining the best faculty we can.

Here's a follow-up question: With more funding and entrepreneurial activities focusing on the sciences and engineering, will the humanities be able to survive?

You bet. Certainly, the rise of science and technology has contributed to a cultural divide between the sciences and humanities at universities around the world. We will continue to seek creative ways to fund social sciences, humanities and arts programs, similar to the development of the Libby Residential Academic Program for the visual and performing arts. Additionally, I believe the interdisciplinary nature of teaching and research on the campus will help us build success across all disciplines.

Diversity

The major question that I get from students is about diversity. How do we increase the number of students of color and other diverse students – women, GLBT students, students with disabilities, first generation students – and improve the climate?

There's no single answer to this complex issue. I want to be clear that we are actively and sincerely working to build a welcoming environment that values and promotes diversity. We must help prepare students for the global and highly diverse community they will be entering upon graduation.

So what are we doing? We are responding to recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity, which includes diversity training for faculty and staff. We are developing a new course project called "CU 101" for incoming students to communicate our expectations on important issues, such as diversity-related attitudes and behaviors. In addition, we have increased CU-LEAD Alliance Scholarships from $1,000 to $1,500 for all new CU-LEAD scholars next year and we've established the Ofelia Miramontes/Bill Barclay Memorial Fund to provide $50,000 annually to the Minority Arts and Science Program. But this is just the beginning. Diversity has become a Priority One issue for us.

Reputation

From our alumni, I hear questions mainly about the image of the university. The last two years have been very difficult for the campus, in terms of high-profile issues and leadership changes. They want to know what we are doing to improve the reputation of the campus so the quality of their degrees doesn't diminish.

Great things are happening all the time here on the Boulder campus, but they don't get as much attention as the controversial issues. We are in the process of hiring a new Associate Vice Chancellor for University Communications, along with a permanent Spokesperson, to coordinate and improve getting our rich story of success out to the public.

Establishing a Framework for Success 

We must continually seek to answer these and other vital questions to maintain our momentum. Let's prove to Colorado citizens and legislators, to our students and their parents, to our donors, and to ourselves, how truly outstanding this university is. Let's show them that there is not a single goal that, together, we cannot attain. Let's work together to fulfill the vision of the great future we all want.


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