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 Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

SPECIAL REPORT


End-of-semester message from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano

Dear CU faculty and staff:

As we approach the end of the semester and the holiday break, I would like to thank each of you for your work over these past months in support of Colorado’s flagship university. We can all take pride in our many accomplishments this semester.

I also would like to update you on a number of important campus issues including the national search for provost, the upcoming North-Central Association reaccreditation site team visit in February, and the budget issues facing CU-Boulder this fiscal year and next.

The 18-member Provost search committee chaired by Arts and Sciences Dean Todd Gleeson has met and is in the process of receiving and reviewing applications and nominations. Applications received by Feb. 1 will receive full consideration. As the chief academic officer, the provost is at the center of all academic decisions and we are seeking a candidate of national and international distinction who will lead the university to new levels of academic success.

As I write this our campus is also preparing for reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Every 10 years we are asked to demonstrate how we are accomplishing our role and mission through a nationally recognized accreditation process. As part of the reaccreditation process, we have prepared a comprehensive Self Study Report describing our programs, policies and practices building on our Flagship 2030 strategic plan.

The 14 consultant-evaluators who make up the Higher Learning Commission's accreditation site team are scheduled to visit campus Feb. 22-24. Many of you will be asked to meet with members of this team. I encourage you to read the Self Study Report in preparation to meet with site team members, made up of our peers from across the nation.

Finally, I would like to give you an update on the status of our budget. Like colleges and universities across the state and the nation we face unparalleled challenges in marshaling the resources we need to carry out our teaching, research, and service mission.

Declining state revenues during the recession have already caused us to implement a $12.9 million budget reduction last July. With continuing state revenue shortfalls, and even with backfilling support using stimulus funding thanks to the efforts of Governor Ritter, all state public colleges and universities, including CU-Boulder, are expecting to absorb additional reductions through fiscal year 2011.

These cuts will not be easy and the final reduction amounts may not be known for another year or more. However, we do know that we have a minimum level of additional cuts to take of between $9.4 million and $12 million to deliver to the President in April – to be effective on July 1, 2010. Depending on the outcome of the next legislative session and the pending rebound of the Colorado economy, we could well face additional reductions in the following fiscal year.

These reductions take us out of the realm of convenient cuts at the margins of our budget. Our past budget reduction strategy of equitable cuts across-the-board is no longer possible to achieve the level of permanent reductions we now face. We are in a moment in our history in which we must make deeper and more narrow cuts than we have taken to date. As I indicated in October at my State of the Campus address, discussions are currently ongoing with the provost, deans and vice chancellors to begin to arrive at budget priorities. As the spring semester arrives, we will broaden the dialogue to include faculty and staff governance groups before I make my recommendations to President Benson and the Regents.

Our goal in this approach is simple: to meet a difficult moment in the life of the university, and in the process, to identify the most vital and critical programs that will deliver the university to its next level of success. We cannot preserve every program, nor can we employ all the people vital to those programs. But moving forward, we can end the first decade of this new century with a renewed focus on quality and excellence.

In closing, let me again thank our faculty and staff for another successful semester, and wish all of you a healthy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Philip P. DiStefano
Chancellor
University of Colorado at Boulder

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