From the Chancellor - Fall planning, Augmester, fiscal plans
Dear CU Boulder faculty, staff and students,
As we complete our final week of classes, I am writing to share my appreciation for all you have achieved in the face of COVID-19 this semester. The continuous influence and impact of your teaching, learning, research and service to society, particularly under our present circumstances, is remarkable and inspiring. Thank you all for continuing to serve each other, Colorado and the larger world. Let’s finish the semester strong.
I’d like to share some substantive progress in our plans to deliver an innovative, COVID-19-ready campus experience for fall 2020 and beyond. First, thank you for your engagement. Your input is vital to our planning process, and you have already delivered a wealth of ideas to inform our work.
We have received hundreds of suggestions from our campus and community members since last week. We have also gathered faculty, staff and student input and feedback through our deans, senior leadership, department chairs and directors regarding potential academic instruction and campus experience models for the fall. We will continue to engage with you all as the planning team develops its recommendations in the coming days.
Emerging fall planning themes
Based on our guiding principles, areas of effort and your input to date, key themes have emerged to help inform the criteria for our academic instruction, campus experience and resource alignment recommendations. With the health and safety of our community top of mind, our plan will seek to deliver:
An academic instruction model that is clear and responsive so we can implement it effectively and adapt quickly to the potential for changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
A campus experience that ensures the utmost COVID-19 risk mitigation we can achieve, as well as a strong commitment by every one of us to keep everyone on campus and in our surrounding communities as safe as possible. This challenge will require scaling of our existing testing, tracing and personal protective measures based on lessons we will learn during a phased return to research operations this summer.
The flexibility for students, faculty and staff to participate equitably—and particularly those with specific risk factors related to the pandemic—either in-person or remotely based on their roles, individual needs and circumstances.
The resource alignment necessary to support the model and enable academic and campus units to efficiently deliver the necessary technology, policies, training, infrastructure, communication, service and support to sustain our community this fall.
In agile, innovative fashion—and with the direct engagement of deans, senior leaders and shared governance groups—our planning team is rapidly prototyping options for further vetting and iteration next week. Provost Russell Moore, Interim Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke and I anticipate receiving the team’s recommendations in mid-May for formal vetting, and we expect to announce our plan for a safe return to an in-person campus experience by or before the beginning of June.
We will be delaying our decision about Augmester, which takes place Aug. 3 through Aug. 20, until later this month. This will better allow us to integrate with our fall planning.
Fiscal planning update
As shared by our provost and interim COO this week, our budget scenario planning has begun, and we will continue to develop scenarios in anticipation of the state budget and enrollment picture becoming clearer in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, given the budget shortfalls we are facing, cost-cutting measures such as furloughs and layoffs are quickly becoming a reality for our campus. In the coming days, we will know more about our fiscal situation, what actions we will need to take and how we can do so with care and empathy.
When we return to campus, our new normal will be different and our commitment to our mission, our values and each other will be renewed. This experience will transform the culture of our university, and that is a unique opportunity for us all. We thrive on innovation and leadership in service to the public good, and I am confident we will emerge stronger together this summer and fall.
Thank you for your continued support and for all of your efforts in the weeks and months ahead.