Honoring Our Staff
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 3,081 classified and professional-exempt staff here at the University of Colorado at Boulder for their commitment and dedication. They form the foundation for so much of what we do and assist us in countless ways: They are the hidden assets of the university, working behind the scenes, often with little recognition to help accomplish our mission and goals. They serve as the bedrock for the day-to-day operations of the university. Our staff, support and administer important community and K-12 outreach programs, serve 2.3 million meals a year, oversee 5,868 beds in our residence halls, maintain 122 buildings and provide public safety for all of us. These are just a few of the ways our staff keeps our campus running and in tip-top shape throughout the year.
Clearly, attracting and retaining quality staff is as important to our mission as anything we do. Recent high-profile hires on our leadership team and the addition of 30 new tenure and tenure-track faculty positions this past year have gained media attention. Less well known is the fact that we have added 30 new staff positions.
Increasing the quality and number of our talented and creative staff is a key building block in our recently approved strategic plan, Flagship 2030. One of the eight core initiatives of this plan is entitled “Supporting the Mission” and acknowledges that a versatile and diverse staff is essential to the successful administration and operation of the university. The success of our faculty and the development of new educational pedagogies, along with student satisfaction and success are all heavily dependent upon high-quality staff support in academic advising, career counseling, student development and many other areas. But there is much more going on here, something that is much harder to quantify and yet equally important, something we can all take pride in.
Twenty years ago, as technology and web-based learning were becoming ubiquitous, there was a great deal of discussion about the future of the academy and the role of distance education. Questions were raised about the future of residential universities such as ours and whether they would continue to exist. I, for one, never subscribed to the theory that distance education would take over and become the dominant form of post-secondary education, because to me a critical component of the education we provide is teaching our students how to interact and communicate with others. On our campus, much of that education occurs through our students’ interaction with our staff.
Unbeknownst to many, our staff plays an important role in the education of our students. Staff members take on the role of mentors, advisors, role models and even teachers for the many students who interact with them outside of the classroom, in routine day-to-day living on campus. In a 168-hour week, students are typically in class 15 to 18 hours. That leaves 150 hours for other things. While we would like to think they are studying for some of that time, there is a great deal of what I like to call the “other education,” education that goes on outside the classroom through interactions with other people. In just a few weeks when our students return to campus we will see this phenomena play out time and time again as our students encounter our staff, interacting with them, relating to them and learning to effectively communicate with people from all walks of life and in all types of situations.
Many of our staff may have a formal role in the student experience here on campus, a role as an academic advisor or career counselor, a club sponsor or a work-study supervisor. Others serve as student mentors for a career that interests them, as a model of courtesy and professional protocol or simply as a voice of support. These roles may be formal or informal, assigned or voluntary, and at times, our staff may find themselves unexpectedly thrust into the middle of an important life lesson. Whatever their job, chances are they interact with students every day and in so doing, set an example for students in the way they live their professional and daily lives.
Our staff plays other important roles on campus, outside of their assigned responsibilities. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the role they played in the completion of the formulation of our strategic plan, Flagship 2030. Together we enlisted input from the community and put together eight core and ten transformational initiatives approved by the Board of Regents in November.
As we continue with the implementation of Flagship 2030, our staff is again well represented. They are playing an important role as members of the nine task forces charged with drawing up action plans for implementation. When we put out a call out for volunteers last winter to serve on the task forces, our staff led the charge. We needed 113 volunteers to serve on the task forces and over 250 people volunteered including staff and faculty. I am overwhelmed by the dedication, energy and passion of our staff to this effort.
So again, I would like to thank our staff – we could not do what we do without you and we are extremely fortunate to have such a loyal and dedicated group of people here at the University of Colorado at Boulder. With your expertise and support we can face the future with confidence. Thank you for your hard work, your service and for the role you play in the education of our students!
Frank Bruno transitions from town to gown
Q&A with Flagship 2030 task force chair Russ Moore
People Behind the Scenes
Honoring Our Staff
A bimonthly publication produced by the Department of University Communications
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