Thank you and welcome to the 2010 State of the Campus address. Before I begin, I want to recognize my wife, Yvonne. We are now about eight weeks into the semester, so congratulations and thanks for your efforts thus far. I have been fortunate to spend many autumns on the flagship campus of the University of Colorado, and each of them has been a pleasure. It remains my honor to be in such a beautiful place, to work at such an outstanding institution, and in the presence of such wonderful colleagues.
It is an honorable thing that you do — dedicating your life's work to the advancement of knowledge and creativity, and sharing what you know with others so that they, in turn, can make their lives, and this world, a little bit better. I am in awe of the faculty of this university, who year in and year out make this such a special place. You are the heart and soul of a world-class university.
And to the hardworking staff — I can't thank you enough for how you support our faculty and students — the care you take in doing your job each day is evident in our collective success. It is a great new academic year and a beautiful fall; and, I am happy to be here among you to enjoy it. But sadly, it is not a perfect world.
As I was thinking about a metaphor to use for my talk today, the natural one that came to mind was Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." We might term our predicament, "a tale of two universities." One strong, vibrant, visionary and thriving. One struggling for funding, resources, and a firmer place in the public mind.
Now, don't be alarmed, I'm not making any veiled references to the guillotine here. I am suggesting that the moment that summons us today is heavy with contradictions — opportunities wrapped within difficult challenges. Opportunities for transformation and redefinition. Opportunities for greater success than we have ever known. Opportunities to be that indispensable experience for our students and that indispensable place for our state. You are already navigating these obstacles to move us forward.
Together we have weathered a particularly difficult year. Yet, despite the challenging circumstances, you have remained steadfast in your commitment to the university and its mission. You continue to work hard in doing the work of the university, even as you confront significant financial challenges. Despite these obstacles, our Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan has not, and will not, be set aside. In fact, it has remained center stage, continuing to provide us vision and guidance. While in many ways we are facing the worst of times, in many other ways, it is the best of times. Our circumstances have brought us together, and given us the chance to turn adversity into opportunity.
Flagship 2030 momentum
Look at our Flagship 2030 momentum. We are making great progress toward internationalizing our campus and building a more globalized student body. Our international student enrollment increased by 11 percent this year. New flexibility legislation has given us the ability to admit more international students without counting them as part of our non-resident enrollment cap. This is important because we want to build a broader base of understanding among all of our students about their neighbors in the world, in order to create a truly global campus.
Our Internationalization Task Force has strong cross-campus representation, and is doing great work. The group tells me that what sells international students most are university academic standings and rankings — a fact that positions us well to attract these students in greater numbers. And the numbers are getting greater all the time.
Today, we have 1,360 international students on campus, including 138 additional international students this fall. Our five-year goal is to bring the international population to 2,500 on campus. Our overall goal for our student body is that it be composed of 10 percent international students, a number comparable to our peer universities. An international student population of 2,500 to 3,000 will provide an enriched living and cultural experience on campus, and a global perspective in the classroom. These numbers are aggressive, but attainable, and I consider this another example of how our university is entrepreneurial, and living up to our motto of "Engaged in the World."
Another area where we have seen significant progress is in residential colleges. We already have 10 residential academic programs in areas such as honors, liberal arts, leadership, and history and culture, enrolling nearly 2,300 students. But now we are taking the next step with faculty-in-residence programs. We are cultivating faculty who live, teach,F and hold office hours in specialized residence halls. They live alongside students who study in mutual areas of interest. This approach makes a big university a little smaller, and builds a stronger sense of community. Our progress on the residential college initiative has been good. Let's look at our programs.
The Engineering Honors residential college opened in 2009 in Andrews Hall, with Professor Scot Douglass and his family in residence. Professor Douglass reports no problems getting instant babysitters for his two daughters. His Friday night pick-up basketball games on the outdoor courts at Kittredge attract 40 to 60 students.
The Communications and Society residential college opened this fall in Buckingham Hall with Professor Damian Doyle. These two residential colleges join our first residential college — the Honors college at Arnett Hall. Two other residential colleges will open in the next two years: The Global Studies and International Affairs residential college will open at Smith Hall in 2011. Health professions will open at Kittredge West in 2012. In addition, a Sustainable by Design and Social Entrepreneurship residential college program at Williams Village north is being proposed through the colleges of Architecture and Planning, and Engineering and Applied Science, and we also are examining additional programs for 2013 and beyond.
The enrollment numbers speak to the popularity of these programs. I mentioned 2,300 students enrolled. They are taking 12,831 credit hours, that's six credit hours per student and the courses have an average of 18 students in them. Flagship 2030 calls for offering a multi-year residential academic experience for every entering student. Currently we offer Residential Academic Programs to 44 percent of our entering class. Next year it will be 54 percent. And by 2013, we expect to offer these programs to 65 percent of our entering class.
Residential colleges are full of exciting possibilities to engage our students. That is why we talk about them at recruiting and admissions events. Today, our successes with Residential Colleges have moved them from an option for students to an expectation.
Enhancing graduate education
Our Flagship 2030 goal of increasing the graduate student population from 15 to 20 percent got a big boost two weeks ago with some great news. CU-Boulder placed 20 doctoral programs in either the top 20, or top 20 percent, in the most recent National Research Council report. The prestigious NRC report is widely considered American higher education's most comprehensive assessment of doctoral programs. CU-Boulder's placement of programs of excellence across a wide range of disciplines in Arts and Sciences and Engineering is a tribute to the quality of our faculty, our graduate programs, and the staff that support both.
CU-Boulder programs not included in the NRC analysis enjoy similarly prestigious rankings. For example, our College of Music was recognized as a top 10 program by the National Organization of Music administrators. Recently, the number of CU Law graduates to receive federal clerkships was second only to Yale. Our Leeds School of Business is routinely rated among the nation's best for programs in entrepreneurship. The CU School of Education is nationally renowned for its innovative efforts in teaching and assessment, and is a clear national leader in STEM education.
By every objective metric, programs in all our schools and colleges are prominently positioned among the very best. When these programs are considered collectively, it is no wonder that CU-Boulder is considered to be among the elite national comprehensive research and teaching universities.
I mentioned our Flagship 2030 goal of increasing graduate student population from 15 to 20 percent. This fall we enrolled a record number of graduate students: 18 percent of our student body, or 5,466. This is the first time since 1992 we have enrolled more than 5,000 graduate students. I believe this demonstrates that along with creating knowledge, we are shaping the future of faculty here and around the world.
Another Flagship 2030 goal, initiating a Colorado Research Diamond, has also seen significant progress. We had already established strong partnerships with Colorado State, the School of Mines and the National Renewable Energy Lab to form the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. We are working together on new solutions to our greatest energy challenges. Now, our new Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute and NREL are carrying on our 50-year legacy of federal lab partnerships, working hand-in-hand on sustainable energy alternatives. We saw these partnerships at work just last month when RASEI became a test bed for plug-in hybrid vehicles operating on the Smart Grid in Boulder. We are working with the Anschutz Medical Campus on the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology to bring basic research in cancer and cardiovascular disease from bench to bedside.
Yet, we still have work to do. We are continuing to work with regional universities and the other CU campuses on ways to further enhance the Research Diamond for the benefit of Colorado, the nation, and the world in relevant research for all society. Flagship 2030 also steers our facilities master plan, which will be completed in early 2011.
A key feature of the master plan is the development of the East Campus as a hub for our research initiatives in molecular biotechnology, aerospace engineering and space sciences, and geosciences. The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building is quickly moving ahead with a scheduled November 2011 opening. Likewise, the JILA laboratory expansion is due to be completed in December 2012, revolutionizing the research capabilities of an institute that has produced three Nobel Prize winners.
In addition, the new Institute of Behavioral Science building is opening this month. The IBS building consolidates eight interdisciplinary research groups doing transformational work in the area of human behavior, collaborating on challenges that cannot be solved by technology alone.
Capital priorities and funding diversification
To support our progress in these Flagship 2030 initiatives, we have built great new facilities by using diverse funding resources.
In today's fiscal environment we must be entrepreneurial in finding new financial models and partnerships with the state, our students, and our alumni. This approach has enabled us to reach our goals, educate our students, and equip them with the skills to contribute to their communities. It allowed us to build the Visual Arts Complex, which we dedicated three weeks ago, fulfilling a Flagship 2030 promise to redefine learning, teaching, and creativity as Colorado's flagship university.
Diversified funding, in the form of gifts and auxiliary funds, also helped us build the Center for Community, which opened in August. " C4C" is already proving a popular place for students to meet and gather. It houses a dozen student services under one roof and has opened space for 230 beds.
Many people, including the CU Foundation and development officers, have worked very hard in making these projects a reality. In all of these projects we were able to take advantage of lower construction costs in this economy, stretching our dollars and achieving value for our students, taxpayers, donors, and the people of Colorado.
Again, we saw opportunity in adversity, and leveraged that opportunity to the benefit of all. Flagship 2030 is a good road map, and a solid blueprint for where we are going. As we confront these tough times, it is vital that we trust this blueprint, and remember that it was built in partnership with the public. This strong public partnership will guide us into the future with confidence.
We can have the same confidence in our re-accreditation. We spent two years talking about our strategic planning for the future and what makes and keeps us competitive. Then, in the middle of our planning, came another opportunity. Our peers came in and not only validated, but energized what we are doing. CU-Boulder was re-accredited without stipulation.
Our 10-year re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association didn't make big headlines, because frankly, it was expected of us. But let me quote a couple of brief excerpts from the re-accreditation report: "With its ambitious plans, its effective leaders, and its productive faculty and staff, the university is poised to become an even greater asset for the state of Colorado and the nation."
"The reputation of CU-Boulder may be better appreciated outside the state of Colorado than in the state itself. Those with a stake in the future of the state should be encouraged to embrace the university as a significant asset and invest in it."
And it cited Flagship 2030 as containing many examples of CU-Boulder, "responding to a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends." The re-accreditation included a 358-page Self Study that many of you had a hand in shaping.
On behalf of the university, I would like to thank the 70-member Re-accreditation Steering Committee made up of community members from all corners of our campus, and my senior advisor, Joey White, for coordinating this very successful 2½- year effort.
So these achievements represent the best of our times — it's quite a list of accomplishments and marks I believe, one of the most innovative visions in all of American higher education. And then . . . there are some trying times.
I don't know if they really are "the worst" — only history can determine that — but they are, to paraphrase another great literary work, the times that try our souls. We all know it's been a very difficult two budget years.
Universities across the country have struggled with their budgets in this economy. We have fared better than many. But that doesn't make it any easier. There have been layoffs that have cost us old friends, key resources, and valued employees. We have persevered through downsizing and increased workloads. We have seen two years without a pay increase, and changes to PERA that actually resulted in pay decreases to many employees.
In all this, and through other examples, I know that the sacrifices by members of our campus community have been many, and have been great. And yet, uncertainty still looms with our budget.
Federal stimulus money that we have used as backfill is going away this year. Although the state has found a way to balance its budget, it has used one-time savings and cash reserves to keep us all afloat. The state's fiscal health remains unresolved, and we don't know yet how that will affect higher education.
The talk of the state's $1.5 billion budget cut offers us extremely difficult scenarios. Just last week, our system leadership began the process of preserving the right of the Board of Regents to set tuition at a level necessary to create adequate resources, and to provide a quality education for our students. If the board chooses to raise tuition significantly, it is our intention to increase financial aid correspondingly to ease the burden on our students.
Some of you may have read in the paper this morning that four of our regents are proposing a cap on tuition. Although I understand their motivation for keeping tuition low, I believe that it is premature for us to be making that decision without knowing what the state budget and the state budget cuts are going to be.
What I would encourage the board to do, and I will do so tomorrow at the regent meeting, is to take a long-range view and look at tuition and state funding as two items that make up the largest portion of our funding together. To take a long-term view of tuition and state funding rather than a short-term view. Our budget will be an important ongoing topic for us as a campus. I pledge to update you whenever possible on budget issues, as I have over the past two years.
Turning adversity into opportunity
So, the worst of times presents us with significant adversity. There is nothing we can do about that adversity, but there is much we can do, as individuals and together, to turn adversity into opportunity.
I have been on the road talking to donors, reconnecting with our alumni, and working with our president and legislators to achieve legislation to gain tuition flexibility. We have also asked for a relaxation of fiscal rules to make it more efficient for us to pursue our goals, and for an expansion of our ability to recruit and enroll international students.
New CU-Boulder Alumni Association Executive Director Deborah Fowlkes is helping us achieve our goals by working to enhance alumni affinity, starting international chapters and re-invigorating domestic chapters.
New Associate Vice Chancellor for Outreach and Engagement, Anne Heinz, is creating a targeted and expanded outreach program that strengthens connections between the university and Colorado communities.
Coloradans have told us they want a stronger CU presence in their communities and today, we are officially rolling out a new website to make that vital connection. We are making 90 different community outreach programs available with the click of a button at http://outreach.colorado.edu/
Our dedicated staff who have worked long hours and sacrificed valuable family time on the three-year Integrated Student Information System project have been heroic in turning a negative into a positive. It has been a trying, frustrating experience for many, but now we are starting to see the benefits. ISIS is now being used for everything from recruiting and admitting students, to registering them for classes, to disbursing financial aid. This gives us a great opportunity to build closer connections to our students through improved customer service. Thank you very much to the staff and to registrar Barbara Todd, our Boulder campus liaison to the ISIS project.
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has given us new opportunities by moving into the Pac-12 Conference to make better connections with our largest out-of-state student and alumni base in California. CU will begin competing in the Pac-12 next year, and that promises to bring opponents the public has seldom seen to Boulder, and trips to neighboring Arizona and Utah, and to the West Coast. I believe our move to the Pac-12 will strengthen our non-resident student base, our faculty research partnerships, our donor relationships, and our recruiting for intercollegiate athletics.
Our faculty continue to give us new opportunities by setting a record for sponsored research revenues for the fourth consecutive year. The new record, $454 million, is the first time we've cracked the $400 million mark.
Our cross-campus energy conservation teams have set new precedents as CU-Boulder has reduced energy use by 23 percent and stabilized carbon emissions at 2005 levels. Our efforts have made these milestones even greater as the campus has grown by 14 percent, including an additional 1.5 million square feet in facilities.
We see opportunity in giving our journalism and pre-journalism students the tools for success in a new media environment defined by the digital age. Last month, students gathered in two campus forums to present their concerns, needs, and expectations as we make this important transition. Two parallel committees — a Program Discontinuance Committee, and an Information, Communication and Technology Exploratory Committee — will make reports and recommendations to Interim Provost Moore. This will enable me to submit a proposal to the Board of Regents in early 2011.
We have another opportunity as we gear up for heightened private fundraising led by our deans, our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and our Athletics Director working in collaboration with the CU Foundation. Our opportunity is to represent the particular successes of the university, but even more so, to represent the total impact of the university, to key stakeholders, and to the public.
I have been meeting with the deans of each of our schools and colleges, as well as with leaders of campus programs and athletics. We have developed funding goals that meet the objectives of Flagship 2030 in building a new model for the 21st-century comprehensive public research university. These goals have become the foundation of our fundraising activities. They all fit under one of four university pillars of excellence and impact.
These pillars of excellence are:
- Learning and Teaching, which includes such programs as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, or STEM.
- The second pillar of excellence is Discovery and Innovation, including our Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute and our numerous entrepreneurial programs across campus.
- Third, Community and Culture is a pillar of excellence, embodied by the Visual Arts Complex, the Center for Community, Athletics, the CU Museum of Natural History and Fiske Planetarium.
- The fourth pillar of excellence is Health and Wellness. A good example of this is the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology, headed by Nobel laureate Tom Cech.
Collectively, these areas reflect the work we at CU-Boulder do every day to redefine learning and discovery in a global context, and advance the economy, culture, and health of Colorado and the nation. In identifying the four Pillars of Excellence and Impact, we matched the visionary thrust of our faculty and the priorities of our schools and colleges, with the interests and passions of our donors, to create a heightened fundraising effort.
Unifying to reach our goals
We can all contribute to this effort by speaking about the university in the same voice. Many of you have heard me talk about the importance of brand messaging. Branding is not just marketing; it is a symbol of coming together — of the unity of the university, of the totality of its value, and impact. I believe coming together is also our best strategy for weathering the storm that confronts us.
That coming together can be seen in what we've done, but it needs to extend to all our activities. Coming together to speak with one voice — to communicate not simply as departments and programs, but as a total university — will be at the center of our communications strategy as we move forward. This will create challenges — it will mean stressing common themes in a common language.
Rather than stressing the particulars of what we do, we must demonstrate the total impact of what we are, to a public that often views our work as a mystery. The times demand this unity of voice and of purpose. We cannot succeed as a thousand ships at sea, flying different banners, separate from one another. We are the flagship university. We must sail together. When storms threaten, we must stay together to arrive at our best future. And it is time we did this not just as a survival strategy, but as a purposeful plan that plots the way ahead.
This is not a new course for us. If we look at it carefully, it is what we have always done and where we have always gone. So said one of our great — perhaps our greatest — CU president. George Norlin was CU's president from 1917 to 1939. He oversaw the rise of CU to become a great university. He also weathered storms: World War I, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, and the great depression. He saw clearly that the path of the university must always be in coming together as a great, gathering light. Coming together as faculty, staff and students. As alumni. As stakeholders in the university at all points.
President Norlin, in the famous "Norlin Charge" that we bestow upon our graduates each year, talked of the university as a " lamp in the hands of youth." He said: "If its light shines not in you and from you, how great is its darkness? But if it shines in you today, and in the thousands before you, who can measure its power?"
Today, I have faith that the light — the power — that we summon together, will guide us through these times. And when do we get through them, the light that will shine will be the brightest in our history, serving Colorado, the nation and the world.
Thank you for joining me today. And thank you for all that you do for the University of Colorado at Boulder.