Published: Jan. 11, 2021

Dear CU Boulder Staff,

Happy New Year and thank you for your extraordinary dedication and hard work throughout 2020. We hope that you had an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and that you were able to recharge.

Last semester took all our efforts. And it was not without challenges. With your help, thousands of students were able to live and study safely on campus and make progress to their degrees. You also enabled the resumption and continuation of our university’s research and creative work. We continued our work to make the campus a more just and equitable place. CU cannot meet its mission without the talents and contributions of you, its exceptional staff. As we look to the future, we are poised to begin a new semester with confidence that all of our preparations will result in a better spring for our students and for each of us.  

To be sure, we must remain diligent in the face of the pandemic, wear our masks and follow physical distancing and campus guidelines for working on campus and remotely.  Yet we have learned from the past nine months how to pivot and we see signs ahead with the vaccine and new federal funding that give us hope.  We have reason to believe that 2021 will bring better days ahead.  


This pandemic taught us just how important it is to stay connected and to share information  with one another through the Staff Council Newsletter, CU Boulder Today articles and interactive forums like the Staff Council Town Halls.  We pledge to continue these conversations in 2021 and encourage your participation and input. We also commit to improving communication and timely notification of information important to staff. Please continue to let us know how we’re doing and where we’re falling short.  Staff Council exists to make sure that you have a voice, and Chancellor DiStefano often reminds us that we must listen to and respond to our staff’s questions and concerns.

Staff Support

We want you to know we value the work you do and we want to remind you to take care of yourself and be aware of the benefits, services and resources available to you to support your well being and to encourage your personal and professional growth. These resources include the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program available to any staff member in need of counseling services.

COVID-19 Plans and Resources

This semester will still not be “normal” as COVID-19 remains prevalent across the state and in our community. In December, we were able to expand our testing capacity to allow every staff member and their families to participate in our surveillance testing program. Please continue to utilize the testing, as it provides a means of helping to ensure the safety of our families and our communities.

CU Boulder will also be assisting public health authorities with vaccinations. So far, we have received a very limited number of vaccine doses that must be allocated to health care workers, and we don’t know when we will receive additional doses. As they become available, we must follow the public health authorities program, which prioritizes health care workers, first responders, and people over 70, but we will vaccinate our frontline workers as quickly as possible. We will provide ongoing information as we learn more and receive doses of the vaccine.

Leave and Holiday Schedule

You are entitled to use your generous leave benefits that include sick and annual leave and ten holidays including Spring holiday on Friday, March 26.  (Some of you will receive an alternate holiday, coordinated through your unit leadership, if your duties require you to work on March 26). Additionally, many of you received four days of administrative leave this winter break in recognition of your extraordinary efforts this past year.    

Employee Development

Your engagement is important to us and we understand that career growth and development opportunities are key to keeping you engaged.  We are committed to your personal and professional development and want you to be aware of the offerings available to you through Human Resources.  This past December, over a thousand of you participated in employee learning week.  This spring, Human Resources is offering many programs in areas including employee learning, self care and personal growth, diversity and inclusion, and career development.  Check out the full listings of HR Learning and Development Programs.

Performance Management

The performance planning and evaluation process also supports your professional development. In the coming weeks and months, the evaluation process will take place and we are encouraging supervisors to take into account the unique circumstances of this past year and to focus on employees’ ability to adapt and to show resilience during this past year and to place less emphasis on duties that became difficult or impossible because of the pandemic.  We also want to encourage you to be a partner in your performance review and share with your supervisor what accomplishments you are proud of and what you need from your supervisor to be successful in your job.  We do not know yet whether there will be a merit pool this year but we will update you as soon as we do.  

In closing, we know this campus needed the best from all of us to have the success we saw in 2020 despite the pandemic.  We are deeply grateful to you and we are honored to continue this journey with you into 2021 knowing that together we can achieve anything!

Staff Council Chairs Dylan West, Chris Muldrow and Shelby Javernick
Interim Chief Operations Officer Pat O’Rourke
Chief Human Resources Officer Katherine Erwin