Map A to Z Index Search CU Home University of Colorado
  Strategic Planning Institutional Research and Analysis Campus Budget and Finances About PBA

PBA Home > Strategic Planning > Planning Overview

Planning Overview

When the University of Colorado was founded 125 years ago on the western frontier, few could have foretold the influential and complex university it would become. From one building, two instructors, and 44 students, this fledgling campus evolved into a world-class research university characterized by exceptional teaching and service for the 21st-century.

Such success stories rarely happen by accident. They happen most often when day-to-day decisions flow from thoughtful planning and the wise investment of available resources. As a new century promises more accelerated change, major universities like CU-Boulder will require great clarity of vision and strength of will if they are to reach new levels of excellence.

CU-Boulder has committed to advancing an agenda that reflects its vision of the future and a clear understanding of the campus's highest priorities. The Boulder campus is determined to create the most robust and supportive learning environment possible for its students and faculty. In an era of finite resources, CU-Boulder will make the hard choices necessary to reach its goals and fulfill its mission.


By state statute, the mission of the University of Colorado Boulder is that:

"the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado shall be a comprehensive graduate research university with high academic standards which offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate programs."

With its mission clearly defined, CU-Boulder strives to meet the ideals of the modern research university. As described by the 1998 report of the Boyer Commission, research universities should be "communities of learners" -- places where each learner thrives "in a campus environment that nurtures exploration and creativity." Everyone in the campus community has a role to play in the learning experience, from students to professors to staff members to administrators. CU-Boulder is committed to identifying and investing the necessary resources as an exceptional "community of learners."


The vision of the Boulder campus is to lead in learning, research, teaching and service and to enhance the quality of life for the people of Colorado.


As a community of higher education, CU-Boulder holds these values in high regard: learning, freedom of inquiry, excellence, contribution to society, search for truth, innovation/creativity and diversity.


CU-Boulder has adopted a set of strategies designed to help the campus fulfill its mission and reach the next levels of excellence. These strategies reflect the campus's commitment to the Integrated Resource Management Strategies (IRMS) system. Established across the four CU campuses, IRMS provides a systematic means of aligning campus investments with strategic priorities.

The campus's strategic goals, as articulated within IRMS, include:

  • Enhance undergraduate learning and education of students
  • Promote excellence in research and graduate education
  • Nurture a diverse campus environment
  • Provide broad access to institutional resources and service to the citizens of Colorado
  • Lead in the use and study of technology
  • Provide outstanding support services
  • Build on existing excellence

These strategies are pervasive throughout the campus's planning and resource allocation processes and central to its institutional goals and activities. Strategic plans and budget requests -- whether from the departments, schools, colleges or divisions -- are consistent with the IRMS framework. Campus reports on resource uses and performance indicators are provided in IRMS formats to the CU Board of Regents.


CU-Boulder's level of achievement toward its strategic goals is remarkable. In the past few years, the campus has made significant progress on multiple fronts, including:

Campus Leadership and Planning

The campus's administrative structure has been reorganized, with a new focus on priorities in goal-setting and planning efforts. Core values have been clarified and critical processes have been identified for reaching campus goals. Governance structures and communication have been improved, resulting in greater cross-campus involvement in policy issues.

Academic Focus

The Boulder campus continues to enhance the quality of its academic programs. The quality of the faculty has improved significantly; sponsored research has soared; and undergraduate education has been reinvigorated through innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Recent examples of academic enhancements include:

  • Addition of the eighth residential academic program (RAP)
  • Development of the Norlin Scholars and University Academic for students with highest levels of academic achievement
  • Addition of Maymester to expand schedule flexibility
  • Expansion of the writing program
  • Changes to the core curriculum
  • Development of the Technology, Arts and Media certificate
  • Implemention of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
  • Development of an honor code
  • Rededication of student development theory across classroom and co-curricular activities
  • Expansion of Study Abroad opportunities for students
  • Enhancement of start-up packages to attract outstanding new faculty
  • Efforts to improve faculty salaries in relation to mean of AAU public institutions
  • Implementation of five-year bachelor-to-master degree program
  • Increased funding for graduate fellowships
  • Initiated matching-fund program to aid graduate students funded by research and training grants

Services to Students

CU-Boulder takes a holistic view of the student experience, starting from the first contact with prospective students to their graduation and beyond. Student support services have been improved in recent years, with a number of service innovations and increased integration of student development concepts throughout the campus. Examples include:

  • Implementation of the PLUS system, allowing student access to important on-line information
  • Development of on-line registration, confirmed registration, and degree audit
  • Increased numbers of academic advisors, providing regular advising sessions for every student
  • Revision of new student and parent orientation programs
  • Implementation of a one-stop convenience center for students


The Boulder campus expresses its deep commitment to increasing diversity on campus through a number of important initiatives. Examples include:

  • Creation of a new position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Equity
  • Consolidation of offices of affirmative action, diversity, and disability services under new position
  • Enhanced resources for new area of Diversity and Equity
  • Increased funding for pre-collegiate program, adding 400 middle school students and enhancing high school activities
  • Initiated outreach programs in two area public schools with high minority enrollment
  • Developed and implemented a new diversity plan
  • Expanded successful programs such as Multi-cultural Engineering Program and the Minority Arts and Sciences Program
  • Invested in assistive technology and more accessible facilities


The Boulder campus has taken a leading role in the utilization of technology in teaching, learning, research and, indeed, all the work of a major research university. A new position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Campus Technology was created to help develop and implement an Information Technology Strategic Plan. One of the most visible outcomes of campus IT efforts has been the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS), an interdisciplinary academic initiative in information technology involving all colleges and schools.

In addition, programs have been established to assist faculty and students in the use and study of technology. Examples include:

  • Purchase of new faculty computers every 3 years with technical support available in academic units
  • Established program to provide computers to students with demonstrated financial need
  • High-speed wired internet and intranet access to residence halls and increasing off-campus modem access five-fold
  • Partnership with City of Boulder and NCAR in a high-speed governmental and research network


Planning efforts in the coming year will focus on implementing specific tactics that will help further the campus's strategic plans. In particular, added emphasis will be placed on academic planning and on examining the fiscal health of the campus.

The heightened focus on academic planning will help build on existing excellence, such as the campus's broad interdisciplinary strengths as well as many highly regarded departments. In addition, CU-Boulder plans to identify and invest in academic programs that have the potential for outstanding quality. An examination of the campus's fiscal health will lay the groundwork for a new economic model that focuses on quality - rather than enrollment growth alone - to develop and manage the resources necessary for success.

Through its planning efforts, the University of Colorado Boulder intends to build on traditions of excellence started more than 125 years ago, but with aspirations of leadership for the 21st century.

Last revision 03/02/15

PBA Home  |   Strategic Planning  |   Institutional Research & Analysis |  Budget & Finances  | 
Questions? Comments? |  Legal & Trademarks |  Privacy
15 UCB, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0015, (303)492-8631
  © Regents of the University of Colorado