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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
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
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
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
CU-Boulder offers 70 sections of lower division writing courses for the 766
Art & Sciences students needing this requirement, far exceeding the CCHE
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.