Chancellor Philip DiStefano delivers his annual State of the Campus on Oct. 18.ajancellState of the Campus

Oct. 18, 2016

Welcome to everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning.

We are going to have a Q & A at the end. I’ve already received some questions, including some on the emergency situation and response two weeks ago, among others, which I will be addressing.  If you have other questions, I encourage you to submit them for the Q&A today. 

I want to thank the Thompson Latin Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Victor Mestas, for the great music. Thank you for waking us up this morning!

I woud like to acknowledge my wife, Yvonne, who is with us this morning.

Also members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents are with us, Steve Bosley and Linda Shoemaker.

Many of you know, one of our most famous students was Robert Redford. He worked as a dishwasher at The Sink.

I am especially fond of his movie, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and one line in particular. Butch tells Sundance that they need to go to Bolivia, because that's where their future is. Sundance, played by Redford, says: "You just keep thinkin' Butch. That's what you're good at." To which Butch says: "I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals."

That line comes to me when I think about how this university has a shared, clear vision. And that is what I will talk about today. Since we last gathered here one year ago we have demonstrated our capacity to not only break down silos, but connect silos, and I am very proud of our accomplishments as a community.

The university and the state of Colorado turn 140 years old this year and we have been integral to the success of the state since 1876. We bring educated leaders and research to the benefit of the community.

We have grown from a tiny institution of higher education to a major, public research university with over 32,000 students.

It is incumbent upon us, as the state’s flagship university, to continue to serve our community, our state, the nation and indeed the world through innovation, developing the next generation of leaders, technology and industry that advances humanity in ways we are just beginning to imagine.

In 2006, we undertook the development of a plan to chart our course through the next two decades, Flagship 2030.  We have followed that plan and adapted it to today’s needs. Today, the focus of my speech is to show you how Flagship 2030 has evolved into our recent efforts, and to share an updated 2030 vision for the university.

Let’s start with who we are as a university. We are recognized as a global research university. We are blessed with a beautiful location and have an entrepreneurial mindset that shapes everything from our research, to our teaching and outreach, to how we run the operations of our campus. And if we are to achieve the level of excellence we aspire to, we must do it by being unique in our approach to including all members of our community in everything we do.

We are evolving our original Flagship 2030 vision to be more simple and more direct. This university will be a leader in addressing the humanitarian, social and technological challenges of the 21st- century. When I say this, I mean everything from the human spirit to climate changes of the planet.  Whether our faculty, staff and students are addressing inner city youth issues, or monitoring changes in the Arctic ice sheets, our goal is to always operate at the highest levels of academic research and to ensure that our research is socially relevant. We want to make a difference in how these issues are solved, and how the human community can survive and thrive in harmony with the planet.  And we never forget, that basic research forms our fundamental ability, in surprising ways, to address these issues.

Our values are clearly stated, reflecting those our students declared in the Colorado Creed. In everything we do we will Act with honor, integrity and accountability, respecting the rights of others and contributing to the greater good of the community. These are values we need to remember and incorporate into our daily work and interactions.  It is an ongoing daily process that we must continually work to achieve, and it will not always be perfect.

These values are reinforced by our Inclusive Excellence Initiative which is our effort to make CU Boulder a place where diversity and a commitment to all members of our community defines our work. I am delighted that over 90% of all campus units held meetings last spring to discuss how they would implement this initiative in their own units and submitted their input.

I believe that this goal of creating a culture where we achieve excellence through being an inclusive university reflects our values of respecting and accepting differences, acting with integrity, and holding ourselves accountable for our actions.  I know personally, that many of our faculty are taking this up individually.  After seeing the results of our student climate survey, where we learned that many of our diverse students feel alienated or disrespected in the classroom, these faculty are realigning how they teach their courses, increasing the recognition of different ways in which students engage and learn in the classroom.

We will finalize the input to this process from the campus and bring forward a strategy and related actions in the near future.

Now, let me take you briefly through the connections from Flagship 2030 to the Three R’s of retention, or student success, revenue diversification and reputation enhancement and the strategic imperatives of our vision going forward.

Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan

Flagship 2030 brought forward key themes stating that:

  • We will be intellectually inspiring
  • We will exemplify diversity
  • and enable students to reach their full potential.This formed the foundation of our work to retain our students and ensure their success.
  • Flagship 2030 also stated that CU Boulder will be:
  • supported by effective leadership, operational and financial models
  • and a strong infrastructure.
  • All of this underlies our goal of diversifying our revenue to survive in a world of diminished, and diminishing, state funding while providing the structure necessary to support a world-class research university.
  • This requires that we innovate in everything we do….from managing our lawns to managing our Mars spacecraft … and that we will be a top university for innovation.
  • Flagship 2030 also made it clear that we will become a dynamic global force. CU Boulder will promote Colorado as a global crossroads of ideas and discovery.
    • This and all that we do, builds our reputation when we effectively implement each strategic imperative.
    • We all know, that we have the passion and the capacity to contribute to humanity in unprecedented ways.
    • So let’s talk about our goals for student success, revenue diversification and reputation.
  • Under Retention and Student Success we look to Shape Tomorrows Leaders.
    • Clearly we are unified in this goal for student success.
    • Our students put their faith in us. We know them personally, we see them every day, and we root for their success. We give them our best.
    • You see our numerical goals related to student success listed here. They give us a unified direction. But we also want to focus on the quality of the student experience.
      • We are working to enhance the first-year experience for students with new welcoming programs, and we have created a new freshman seminar program that will provide incoming students with an immediate and close connection to a faculty member and further inspire them about learning in their first year. 32 new freshman seminars will launch in Spring 2017.
  • And, in research, our goal is to increase the number of our undergraduates who work directly on research with our incredible faculty.
  • Our capacity for innovation serves our goal for Revenue Diversification and illustrates how we have differentiated ourselves from other public institutions. We are thriving despite declining public support that puts us among the bottom 2-3 states in the nation for higher education funding. Our goals are to
    • Achieve a $297 million increase in non-state-funded revenues by FY2020 – and doing that with very minimal increases in tuition to our student base.In fact, we have instituted a four- year tuition and fee fixed rate guarantee for in-state students starting with this year’s entering class. We also have one for non-resident students.
    • So we look to bring the best of our programs to a broader base of the populace, older students, and students who cannot move to Boulder.
    • We will increase enrollments in professional masters by 3,000 students
      by 2020.
    • And build enrollments in online programs by 3,000 students at the same time
    • We will facilitate novel research partnerships with industry as a key component of our research enterprise and achieve revenues of more than $100 million annually.
    • And we intend to Increase fundraising to $200 million annually with a significant increase in our endowment.
  • Our Reputation is all about seeking to build our research capabilities and academic achievement to deliver a positive impact on humanity.
  • We plan to grow federal research to $605 million annually
    • That’s a $179-million increase by FY 2020
  • Thirty years ago we made a commitment to be a top university in space sciences. Now, we are one of the top universities in space sciences, as well in aerospace engineering and geosceinces, which has allowed us to launch the Grand Challenge. Space science has changed the way we communicate and conduct commerce daily, and we want to make sure society is in position to adapt.
    • Our Grand Challenge, called Our Space, Our Future, engages humanists, scientists, engineers and space and law policymakers.
    • It sponsors two initiatives and six seed grants funded by my office and includes a brand new Space minor.
  • We have inspired art and creativity throughout our community.
    • For instance, several of our campus units worked together to bring Shakespeare’s First Folio to campus this summer.
    • This year we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Artist Series brought to us through the College of Music and CU Presents

All of our Strategic imperatives are interconnected.  You have seen this daily in your own work. A project to achieve one imperative often achieves the others.

  • We are already well on our way in working on these imperatives – let me show you how they are connected in the next three slides.

We are taking a multi-pronged approach in retention, student success and enhancing the student experience. In essence we are building tomorrow’s leaders and I can’t think of a job more important.

  • We know that campus social climate – embracing diversity and inclusivity – are foundational to student success. We want everyone – students, faculty, staff and visitors – to feel engaged, valued and supported in our learning community.
  • Let me note one other thing about our climate.We need to recognize the importance each one of us has in shaping the culture of the campus just by the way we interact with one another.  Sometimes – in fact most of the time – it is the simple things we do to engage and inspire each other daily that makes the difference in shaping a collaborative culture.
  • We have transformed our New Student and Family Welcome programs – We digitized orientation and we are communicating with students in their world on their terms…. but, with our content. Our new Student and Family Welcome has been roundly praised by students and their families, and we continue to evaluate results and evolve and improve it. And, because it is online, we can quickly collect the data on what is working and what isn’t, so that we can change our approach in real-time.
  • Student Persistence has been a cross-departmental effort. As I mentioned earlier, through the hard, collaborative work of our faculty, staff and students we have increased retention of first-year students from 84 percent in the fall of 2014 to 87 percent this year. Without this, we cannot reach our graduation goals.
  • In Advising
    • We have seen a cultural shift in collaborations across boundaries. We are working to develop a universal approach in advising to increase the success of our students.
    • My CU Hub, the new advising platform, is now accessible to every college and school. Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Design and CMCI have fully adopted the platform and other colleges are beginning the process.
    • Sharing advising notes is common between all schools, and it’s being adopted by a growing number of student support offices across campus. These include Athletics, New Student and Family Programs, Careers Services, Disability Services and others to better collaborate on our work with students.
    • It’s a continuing process that we remain fully engaged in developing.
  • When Flagship 2030 was conceived we had a goal of 10 percent of our student body being international students. This year we have achieved that goal! We have 3,000 international students! Many thought this was unachievable, and here we are.
  • This happened through hard work, strategic recruiting, establishment of important support programs and a welcoming environment…Be Global.Be Boulder.

 In revenue diversification we are working on a number of initiatives that utilize innovation in many ways from university management to the delivery of classes.

  • Let’s start with CU Boulder Connect – We want to provide a unique product in the delivery of online education. This includes master’s degree and graduate certificate programs.
  • We are becoming known as an entrepreneurship university. We want to bring together faculty, staff and community members to develop graduates with entrepreneurial and creative-problem solving mindsets. These graduates will be tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. The Innovation Network is a new group lead by Vice Chancellor Terri Fiez with members from across the university coalescing to ensure that all of our entrepreneurial programs interface and support students as well as faculty and staff.  
  • We are also focusing on growing our collaboration with Industry. A great example of recent industry collaboration is our new $3 million partnership with Lockheed Martin. It establishes new academic programs to cultivate the next generation of space engineers. This is a win-win for our students and the aerospace industry. Ultimately our goal is to generate $100 million dollars in industry sponsored collaborations.
  • The significant retooling of the Office of Contacts and Grants over the past two years is a huge underpinning to building our research awards/grants – and there has been a big shift over the last year in their outreach to support faculty in pursuing grants.
  • Professional Masters – This effort is key to our goals of building new revenue streams - to reach out to workers who increasingly need specialized training to succeed in their careers. We want to have 3,000 students enrolled in professional master’s programs by 2020.
  • Energy Sustainability – over the years we have made a strong commitment to improve the energy infrastructure of the campus – its overall efficiency.The less energy we use – the more sustainable we become financially and environmentally.Every building we build or refurbish meets Leeds Platinum standards, the latest being the Student Recreation Center, one of the most energy-efficient in the country. As our new Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Safety, Dave Kang, tells me, the most environmentally sustainable building is the one we don’t have to build.Key to that is making the best and most efficient use of the buildings we have.Many of you are involved in a campus-wide project to develop a process for jointly utilizing our buildings and spaces to meet our key objectives of educating our students and conducting research in the most efficient way possible.Using our current resources effectively is key to helping us meet the complementary goals of managing our costs and our carbon footprint simultaneously.
  • To improve our financial sustainability, we must increase philanthropy overall We set a high target of reaching annual giving of $200 million which is directly related to our success with students, with research, and with providing direct positive impacts on humanity and the reputation we earn doing all of this.

 Our reputation and how we impact humanity is, frankly, related to everything we do, but I will discuss a few highly related examples.

  • Our Grand Challenge – which I previously spoke about, is helping us break down silos and advance research across disciplines.That is helping us give back to our community.
  • So many of our faculty and staff are giving back directly to the community every day through outreach and engagement.From Wray, Colorado on the eastern plains to the Western Slope, to the neighborhoods and school districts of Denver and everywhere in between.Water, education, civic engagement, environment, business and health.You touch all aspects of our society.
  • Underlying that outreach into the community is our fundamental research and its output and citations by other researchers around the world.Our high level of citations – 8th in the nation - demonstrates the importance of our faculty’s work, across all disciplines.
  • Arts, Culture & Humanities brings the community to us. Our museums, galleries, festivals and musical performances have brought national attention to our campus and marked the university as a leader in the arts. More than 385,000 citizens come onto campus annually to take advantage of our performing and visual arts.  An additional 110,000 attend cultural outreach activities we take into the community.
  • You may not realize it, but this campus has 30 Grammy Award winners…including The Takács Quartet. Our incredible College of Music programs, theater and dance, arts, culture and humanities amaze and engage our community every day.
  • Another area where we amaze and engage our alumni and community is athletics. We proudly produce Olympians and Olympic medalists. We are highly competitive across many sports in the Pac-12 and are frequently national champions in Cross Country and Skiing.
  • We are more actively engaging Alumni throughout the country from Be Boulder in New York, to Be Boulder in Los Angeles where our alumni are gathering to celebrate the success and history of this university. We are also reaching out to alumni around the globe to create a league of Global Ambassadors working on behalf of the university.

Celebrating our successes

  • It is important to recognize that we have already achieved a lot through these projects, and we should celebrate our successes.
    • New student welcome
    • Retaining more students
  • This is the third straight year that we have brought in an entering class that is the best-qualified, most-diverse entering class ever….and we keep moving the bar up.
    • Our Esteemed Scholars merit scholarship program for resident students, now in its fourth year, comprises 20% of our resident undergraduate population and 33 percent of our resident freshman class.
  • The faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences have just revised the core curriculum for the first time since 1988. The new core opens many academic avenues for students, especially for those interested in pursuing multiple majors.
  • The ongoing implementation of the new advising system is vital to our student retention efforts.
  • One of the Flagship 2030 goals was to clearly establish CU Boulder as a top research university and we have resoundingly done that, growing research dollars awarded to $437 million this past year.
  • And we are building a culture of strong leadership across the campus committed to innovation and cross-unit collaboration.

Acknowledging our challenges

  • At the same time, we openly acknowledge our challenges. Part of our values is an emphasis on accountability, which also requires transparency.
  • The climate surveys we released show that we have our work cut out for us to successfully build a culture committed to inclusive excellence.
  • We have made strides in creating the infrastructure to create a safe community where all members can engage and find support where they need it.
  • This shift reflects the combined work of many offices across campus – Student Affairs, Undergraduate Education, the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.
  • The surveys we released this past year on campus climate, as viewed by our students and the sexual assault survey, also from the student perspective, clearly show us where we need to direct and coordinate our efforts. We must change the climate and create a safe environment for everyone. We will continue to measure and track our progress on climate and safety while being transparent about those results.
  • We are also working to address the overall administrative burdens on everyone – we know that there are a lot of them. We are leanly staffed, but we recognize that we must ultimately make administration less of a burden on faculty and staff as they try to teach, serve the students and conduct research.
  • We are challenging staff to determine more effective ways in which we can do just that.Turn a ten step process into one. Or eliminate burdens from individual departments that could be done centrally for the units, while leaving the resources in those units to attend to other needs.In fact, Kelly Fox recently challenged her units to come forward with key ideas for innovation, expecting a handful, and she received 60! Clearly the innovation quotient is here.
  • One of our challenges is providing a unique educational experience for each student. That may be internships, research opportunities, study abroad, or other experiences built for them.
  • Ultimately, our challenges come back to reflecting our values and our desire to be a collegial and inspiring place to work and learn.
  • Those values bring us back to our vision – to be a leader in addressing the humanitarian, social and technological challenges of the 21st- century. If we are to achieve this vision, we must view ourselves as one.One top research university, One top educator of the next generation of leaders, One university that truly cares about each and every one of its members.

Next steps

  • So, what are our Next Steps? How will we engage with our community and get their input on how to achieve our goals?
    • We will be implementing a series of meetings with leaders across the campus in the next two months. And asking them to gather your feedback and input.
    • We will, and have been, reviewing this with the Regents for their feedback.
    • We will communicate this vision and strategic imperatives broadly to the campus and
    • Set milestones to measure our progress.
    • I invite you to engage in this process also by providing me with feedback and suggestions along the way to
  • Thank you. Now I would like to open this up and take your questions.