From the Provost and SVC: An update on Academic and Administrative Prioritization

April 29, 2014

Last fall, The Board of Regents asked each University of Colorado campus to develop a process for prioritizing its academic and administrative areas. Since that time, the University of Colorado Boulder has been working in earnest to engage students, faculty and staff in a process of objective and evidence-based decision making. This initiative, while challenging in many ways, is a real opportunity for CU-Boulder to further develop quantitative data to inform our decisions and help us better serve our students and the state of Colorado. We wanted to share our thoughts with you about this process and our next steps.

First, it is important to acknowledge that this initiative does not reveal an entirely new way of thinking about our academic units. Our colleges and schools have been conducting regular reviews and engaging in continuous improvement efforts via the Academic Review and Planning Advisory Committee (ARPAC) process for the past 30 years. It will be important for us to reconcile data from this new initiative with what we’ve learned in past in-depth studies.

The opportunity to engage in analysis of our administrative units across the enterprise was welcomed. However, we were disadvantaged because we have never done this campus-wide. We have now taken the first steps shaping what this process will look like in subsequent years, and in the short term we have some takeaways that are immediately actionable.

We recognize that our ambitious timeline for completing this initiative was also a limitation for the usefulness of the results. The initial results reflect that the review process was not perfect and that we need to improve metrics, especially on the administrative side by narrowing the group of program raters to reduce variability.

The board and university administrators understand that there are limitations to this study and these results. However, this process gave us insight into how we can strategically invest in areas most critical to our success, and how we can improve the process for subsequent years.

All of our areas have identified strengths and weaknesses. As an enterprise, our next steps are to focus on the highest performing areas and the areas identified as needing further review. All of our areas have opportunities to improve, and all of our administrators can work to improve based on what they learn from this process.

Of course, these sorts of changes do not happen overnight, and any academic changes we make will follow well-established processes that include faculty governance and Regent policy. We are grateful to all the individuals who took time to participate in the rating process, and we are excited for this work to continue in the years to come.

With regard,

Russ Moore, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Kelly Fox, Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer

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