two women sit outsite with masks

Rebecca Safran, CU Boulder associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Sofie Wendell, Boulder High School student, discuss barn swallows as part of an outreach project. Photo by Beth Osnes.

June 29, 2020

The Office for Outreach and Engagement recently asked CU Boulder faculty, staff and students to answer questions about their planned and potential outreach and engagement work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are pleased to report that 90 people completed the survey and provided details about how they are modifying their 152 programs and projects during the pandemic and what support or resources they might need from summer 2020 through spring 2021.

“The results of this survey confirm that many CU Boulder faculty and staff are adapting their programming and are as committed as ever to serving community needs through their research, teaching, creative work and service,” said David Meens, office director.

Many respondents noted that while the present situation is challenging, it also has led to exciting opportunities and creative strategies for reaching new audiences in new ways, primarily through digital media.

Our office will use these results to determine how best to respond to the changing nature of outreach and engagement work in the coming months.

Results summary

  • 90 respondents provided information on 152 programs.
  • More than half of the respondents were tenured and tenure track faculty, research faculty and instructors, and the remainder were staff and graduate students.
  • Most people are planning to operate their programs during the academic year 2020—21.
  • How people are planning to adapt their programming:
    • 76 percent are changing or adapting their programs.
    • 60 percent are planning for hybrid online / offline scenarios.
    • 60 percent are postponing programs, with half planning to adapt their programs and the other half waiting until they can offer their program in the original format.
    • 51 percent are doing online, synchronous programming while 21 percent are doing online, asynchronous programming.
    • 45 percent are in limbo about their programs.
    • Only three percent are canceling programs.
  • How people are funding their outreach programs:
    • The majority (70 percent) can support their outreach work with current funding.
    • 30 percent indicated they are identifying new funding opportunities.
    • 25 percent are unsure how they will fund their programs.
  • Resource support needed during the pandemic:
    • 47 percent would like information about potential funding opportunities and partnerships.
    • 45 percent would like information and digital technology support.
    • 31 percent would like communications and marketing support.
    • 27 percent asked for additional professional development and skills training.
    • 24 percent are interested in examples of exemplary projects and practices, networking with other outreach and engagement practitioners, and consultation for project strategy.
    • 20 percent asked for evaluation support.