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 Tuesday, Sept. 22 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


There’s no job of more importance
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano

Faculty has the ability to shape our most precious assets − today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.

I can personally testify as to how my professors shaped my life. I had an outstanding professor who sparked me to become a high school English teacher. On the flip side, I had an uninspiring professor who motivated me to pursue my PhD in humanities education because I thought we should expect more from our instructors.

This fall we welcome 68 new tenure-track faculty members at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I am sure each of them can tell a story about what inspired them. They join a world-class faculty that includes 57 members of prestigious national academies, seven MacArthur Fellows and four Nobel Prize winners.

They have become part of a talented faculty − in departments across the campus − that has allowed CU-Boulder to assume leadership in important areas of global significance − academically, artistically, socially, and economically.
I was gratified that we were able to attract so many top-flight faculty from other top universities, reconfirming that we have something special to offer here at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

These 68 positions include 23 new positions, supporting our Flagship 2030 strategic plan goals of adding 300 new tenure-track positions over a 10-year period. So far we have added 73 new faculty positions in three years, even during these budget-challenged times.

Thirty-one of our new tenure-track faculty are female and 32 are of non-Caucasian ethnicity − or chose not to disclose their ethnicity − helping us support our Flagship 2030 initiative of learning for a diverse world.

During new faculty orientation last month I visited with a group of 100 new and promoted faculty and it occurred to me how each takes on a leadership role at the university.

Instructors are leaders in the classroom, assistant professors are the future leaders of our campus, and associate and full professors are in leadership roles now in their departments, schools and colleges, and throughout campus mentoring younger faculty.

As a CU-Boulder faculty member, I know the impact that a faculty member can have on student population.

Faculty who have been here over the years know of my commitment to shared governance. I have strong convictions about the importance of collaboration between faculty and administrators. Major decisions affecting academic welfare will be made in that spirit. New Boulder Faculty Assembly chair Joe Rosse has already proven to be a collaborative partner.

This fall our faculty will teach and mentor a record 30,196 students, including 5,519 new freshmen. It’s notable that faculty, as well as staff, worked extremely hard to find courses and seats for all of our new students and I would like to commend them for their work and long hours.

Arts and Sciences faculty and staff especially contributed to this effort. All new students received at least 12 credits at orientation registration and many who wanted more were able to get them. The bulk of the new seats were created in Social Sciences. Music and Journalism both generated additional general education seats. This was truly a team effort in the name of the university.

In addition to yeoman work, our faculty contribute to our university in countless ways. In fact, our highest hopes and expectations for the future of this great institution rest with them.
For example, as a university community we should take pride in the fact that our Distinguished Professors and Nobel laureates regularly teach undergraduate courses for non-majors and invite undergraduates to work in their labs, including Nobel laureate Tom Cech, who is teaching freshman chemistry this fall.

In the many years I have been involved with CU, I have always found it to be a vibrant hub of discovery. So it was no surprise when faculty generated a record for campus federally sponsored research of $340 million, breaking last year’s record by $60 million. Only $10 million of that figure came from federal stimulus grants. These research revenues support the work of many hundreds of graduate students and also undergraduates who participate in our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, while advancing society in myriad ways with relevant research.

Faculty determine the university’s standing as a place of nationally respected scholarship, teaching and research. They educate, inspire and challenge our students – these young people are society’s greatest asset and faculty are their mentors. I cannot think of a more important job.

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There’s no job of more importance

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