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CCHE Quality Indicator System 2000

Response to CCHE Quality Indicator System Report of January 2001
The University of Colorado at Boulder

The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) strives to lead in the discovery, communication, and use of knowledge through instruction, research, and service to the public.

CU-Boulder's mission includes scholarship and research, graduate education, and undergraduate education. The quality indicator system is a limited set of measures for undergraduate programs only. The results verify the excellence and efficiency of CU-Boulder's undergraduate programs.

CU-Boulder strives to improve, not merely maintain, our undergraduate, graduate, and research programs. Efforts for improvement are coordinated through campus strategic planning, the CU-system-wide Total Learning Environment initiative, and a budgeting initiative, the Integrated Resource Management Strategy.

Comments on each indicator

1A: Baccalaureate Graduation Rates

  • We are pleased that our four-year graduation rate is above those of all other public institutions in Colorado. Indeed, almost half of all four-year graduates from the entire State system graduate from CU-Boulder. All of CU-Boulder's graduation rates are consistent with those at other selective public research universities nationwide, and all exceed CCHE benchmarks.
  • Ongoing efforts to improve graduation rates include changes in academic advising and freshmen orientation implemented in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, and new leadership and residential academic programs to afford more students the opportunity for participation in small "academic neighborhoods" early in their studies.
  • 2: Faculty Teaching

  • CU-Boulder's full-time faculty spend an average of about 6.3 hours per week in direct group instruction (contact hours per general-fund FTE). They spend more time on other activities directly related to teaching, in addition to their research and service obligations. Teaching activities include classroom time, grading, preparing course materials, office hours, developing new courses, advising, and supervising students. Faculty also spend additional time in other interactions with and for students, such as writing letters of recommendation, and on committees considering such topics as curricular requirements, advising systems, teaching evaluation, and student outcomes assessment.
  • Weekly contact hours for tenured, tenure-track, and other full-time instructors are 5.0, 5.9, and 12.4 hours per week, respectively.
  • Figures for CU-Boulder are consistent with national figures for public research universities.
  • 3: Freshman Retention Rate

  • 84% of full-time CU-Boulder freshmen return their second fall to CU-Boulder; this exceeds the CCHE benchmark. Our efforts to improve graduation rates help maintain this high retention rate.
  • 4: Achievement Tests

  • CU-Boulder students exceed the national or state average on all 12 tests or subtests listed: GRE (verbal, quantitative, and analytic), Fundamentals of Engineering, Certified Public Accountant exam, and four content areas of the state PLACE teacher exams.
  • With solid performance in such a broad range of disciplines, the results again demonstrate the breadth of excellence of CU-Boulder's undergraduate programs.
  • 5: Institutional Support Expenditures

  • Based on expenditures of $34.7 million, CU-Boulder's FY '97-98 administrative cost per student FTE of $1,452 is considerably below the benchmark, the average for the 33 public research institutions with student headcounts of 25,000 or more. This is one demonstration of the efficiency with which CU-Boulder operates.
  • 6: Availability of General Education Lower Division Courses Required of Freshmen

  • CU-Boulder offers 70 sections of lower division writing courses for the 766 Art & Sciences students needing this requirement, far exceeding the CCHE benchmark.
  • 7: Support and Success of Minority Students

  • Although increasing minority graduation and retention rates is a campus goal, we are pleased that both rates meet the CCHE benchmarks derived from national comparisons.
  • 8: Number of Credits Required for Degree

  • CU-Boulder has 63 bachelor's degree programs, of which 47 require 120 hours for completion of the degree. Fifteen of the 16 programs requiring more than 120 hours are exempt due to accreditation or professional association guidelines. The 120-hour requirements have been in place for years and offer more evidence of CU-Boulder's efficiency.
  • 9: Undergraduate Participation in Special Academic Opportunities (institution-specific)

  • 77% of the 2,728 calendar year 1999 bachelor's degree recipients who entered CU-Boulder as full-time fall freshmen had participated in at least one special academic opportunity.
  • The opportunities we have considered are honors courses, independent study, credit internships, and independent research courses; special research programs for undergraduates; study abroad; completion of an honors thesis in the major discipline; first-year leadership and residential academic programs; double and student-designed majors; and combined bachelors-masters programs.
  • Figures reported for public research universities in the Best Colleges 2000 issue of U.S. News and World Report show that CU-Boulder has the highest participation rates listed for both honors and study abroad. Figures for participation in all programs together are not available for other institutions.
  • We are extremely pleased that over three-quarters of our entering-freshmen graduates have participated in these special academic opportunities, for such programs are hallmarks of the unique, total learning environment provided by a comprehensive research university with top faculty and a large and diverse student population.
  • 10: State Costs Per Bachelor's Degree Awarded (institution specific)

  • The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to resident students per $100,000 in unrestricted state appropriations for undergraduate programs was 4.3 for the '97-98 fiscal year. This is almost double the average number of degrees per $100,000 for other AAU public institutions. Only one school, Oregon, produces more resident degrees per state dollar.
  • This is a measure of efficiency or productivity in undergraduate education, and of the return on investment for state tax dollars allocated to undergraduate programs at state institutions of higher education each year. While the quantity reflects many parameters of an institution's operations, it indeed is a "quality indicator" of returns on state investments in undergraduate education.
  • The quality indicators touch on only a few areas of CU-Boulder's mission and excellence. Our planning efforts are directed at preparing the future leaders of Colorado, the nation, and the world and improving human life through learning. To achieve this goal we are focussing campus efforts and resources in four areas:

    Undergraduate Learning Environment: Generate innovation in the undergraduate learning environment in ways that promote a sense of discovery and lifelong learning, critical thinking skills, and preparation for citizenship and leadership.

    Research and Graduate Education: Continue our leadership role in advancing knowledge and understanding through research and graduate education with appropriate links to government, business and other institutions through outreach and technology transfer.

    Diversity: Nurture a campus climate of inclusion, knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the full range of the human experience in order to foster a better society and to prepare students for the future.

    Technology: Situate the University of Colorado at Boulder to be a leader in the technological transformation of the 21st Century, empowering the entire campus and its graduates to succeed in the world.


    Last revision 07/02/02

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