In today's meeting, the University of Colorado Board of Regents approved a new master of science degree and named Bernard Amadei a Distinguished Professor. They also heard updates on the university budget and financial aid, and recognized outgoing board members as Regents Emeritus.
New Board Chair Irene Griego thanked former Chair Kyle Hybl for his service and presented him with a gift of a gavel in the ceremony of passing of the gavel.
Engineering Professor Bernard Amadei, founding president of Engineers Without Borders - USA and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders-International network, was honored by the CU Board of Regents with a Distinguished Professor title. His personal goal, that he shared with the Regents, is to help the people of the world to have shelter, water and food, which he believes can help engender peace in the world. He talked about the importance of students today having a global experience, and that while at CU Boulder they can do that through one of the many programs and opportunities offered to them on campus. Amadei is also co-director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at CU Boulder, and holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering.
A new Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership, a fully-online professional degree, was approved by the Board of Regents. Continuing Education Dean Sara Thompson and Interim Dean Ann Schmiesing of the Graduate School brought forward this degree in collaboration, responding to demand in the field of organizational management.
“This is an exciting new area for the university to grow its reach into more of a non-traditional student base,” Thompson said.
“I am pleased that Continuing Education and the Graduate School were able to step forward and meet the need to launch this degree, which brings together various disciplines, colleges and schools,” said Schmiesing.
The program is designed to provide working adults with critical thinking and decision-making skills, as well as with the training in ethical and creative problem solving necessary to advance their careers into leadership positions.
“The degree marks a unique collaboration between the Graduate School, which is the degree home, and Continuing Education, which is delivering it,” said William Kuskin, vice provost and associate vice chancellor for Strategic Initiatives.
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Todd Saliman reported on the state budget. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s budget request included a $20.5 million increase for higher education. Some $7.8 million would go to CU, a 4-plus percent increase above the statewide average. He noted that there are many competing pressures for this funding and it may not be what ultimately comes out of the 2017 legislative session. The governor’s budget request includes a 2.5 percent salary increase for state classified employees. A TABOR surplus is anticipated. The request also reduces the hospital provider fee by $195 million to offset the surplus. That would reduce the federal match to the state, which would reduce the amount available to hospitals for indigent care. That, in turn, will impact hospitals around the state. Saliman noted that the budget forecasts differ among Gov. Hickenlooper’s, the legislature’s and even the CU forecast, and he expects a lively discussion of this during the legislative session.
In a review of financial aid, it was shown that the Boulder campus has reduced the average level of unmet need for students receiving financial aid in all income categories.
In total, financial aid investment for the system grew $20.5 million year-over-year and the Boulder campus investment in financial aid grew by $9.2 million. The average debt load for Colorado residents graduating from CU Boulder in FY2015 of $23,797 is lower than the national average of $30,100, and the statewide average of $25,840. CU Pell eligible students have increased by 8 percent since 2012. Further, CU students’ average loan default rate of 3.4 percent is 8 percentage points lower than the national and Colorado averages.
The board discussed the Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Retention position, provided further input and requested input be gathered from the faculty and student system-level councils.
The board discussed a board resolution brought forward by Regents John Carson and Sue Sharkey addressing the principles of academic freedom. The resolution passed 9-0.
Finally, the board passed resolutions recognizing both Regents Steve Bosley and Michael Carrigan designating each as a Regent Emeritus and as a Board Chair Emeritus.