Published: May 7, 2018

Academic Futures Town Hall Notes

Keeping the Public in a Public Research University

April 26, 2018


Jeff Cox and committee members:

Brief update on the Academic Futures process and the committee’s current thinking and status on this topic.

Comments and Questions:

  • There is agreement on focusing on the public good and democratic mission as part of the definition of a “public research university”.
  • We need to value public engagement and service learning.
  • We need to value serving the community, including different ways that different faculty can and want to contribute (e.g., faculty of color may have additional, unique ways to contribute).
  • We need to integrate “inclusive excellence” as part of the public engagement process rather than addressing it as an afterthought.
  • This phase of the process includes identifying values that will be used in the next phase for determining “how” we need to address issues.
  • Structural changes around admissions need to occur to address our commitment to the state and to diversity/inclusiveness that helps students see a clear path toward CU.  Utah has made some structural changes that have led to good results. Georgia is using lottery money to pay for higher education for students that keep their grades up.
  • It’s not just about what we value, but also how we structure to support those values.
  • We need to focus on public education for the public good.  The space initiative has had success - we could do the same in other areas (e.g., health initiatives) by committing resources to tackle issues for our community.  This leads to a more humanistic liberal arts education and increases the value of the Arts and Humanities.
  • We need to have strategic conversations and planning around enrollment and admissions (who do we want? why do we want them? how do we get them here? how do we support them once they are here?).  This includes conversations about ACO students.  None of the other current campus initiatives are having conversations about the admissions process.  We need to be acting on our values to make decisions about who we invite to participate in the CU community. 
  • We need to welcome a broad range of students and give them changes to try out different things to determine their interests.
  • We also need to look at advising models.
  • We need to look at affordability and have goals that students graduate debt-free.  Having goals like this is important even if we don’t think we can get 100% there.
  • We don’t see any independent campus journalism producing serious, investigative journals – is that a hole in the public university model?
  • Should that type of journalism effort be part of a public university (paid for by government funding) or should it be outside of the government-funded sphere and done by and independent entity?
  • We do need a mechanism for careful and reflective conversation along with transparency and communication that builds trust.
  • How do we promote the notion and value of public scholarship and encourage and support it?