Published: March 13, 2017
Chancellor DiStefano and panel at Spring Town Hall 2017

Left to right: Chancellor Philip DiStefano, Senior Vice Chancellor/CFO Kelly Fox, Dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information Lori Bergen, Dean of the College of Engineering & Applied Science Bobby Braun, Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez and Provost Russell Moore

The three strategic imperatives
  1. Shape tomorrow’s leaders.
  2. Be the top university for innovation.
  3. Positively impact humanity.

On Monday, March 13, Chancellor Philip DiStefano and a group of campus leaders discussed the strategic imperatives for CU Boulder and how they’re already being incorporated into our daily work and strategies.

Speaking to a crowd in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom, as well as those watching the LiveStream of the event, DiStefano began the Town Hall with remarks on several key gifts recently made to the campus, including the Lockheed Martin Radio Frequency Research Center and the Ann and H.J. Smead Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

The chancellor also discussed the challenging issues the campus has faced this year and the need for the campus to stay steady in stormy weather.

In closing, DiStefano shared examples of how CU Boulder is taking the lead in addressing the humanitarian, social and technological challenges of the 21st century. He said the key is to ensure that everyone understand they can play a role.

Following the chancellor’s remarks, Provost Russell Moore and Senior Vice Chancellor and CFO Kelly Fox led a panel discussion featuring Terri Fiez, vice chancellor for Research and Innovation; Lori Bergen, dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information; and Bobby Braun, the new dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The panel led off with the question, “What strategies are you using in your own units to support the chancellor’s strategic imperatives?”

Braun led off by sharing how the strategic imperatives are important to help him define the direction for the faculty and staff in his college. “Everything that we’re doing in the college flows naturally from the [strategic imperatives].”

The panel acknowledged how key staff are to the collaborative and innovative future of the university. From admissions to facilities management, from planning and budgets to data analytics, staff members on the administrative side of the house are key partners in the implementation of the strategic imperatives.

Moore then asked the panel to elaborate on how colleges and schools are “breaking down the silos” on interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to the undergraduate experience. The panelists were able to share examples of new approaches to degrees as well as academic support.

Fiez challenged the audience to find a way to make innovation and entrepreneurship a campuswide effort, and shared the story of a student that has accessed programs across multiple colleges, including engineering, business and law.

“How do we help support our students so they can be more involved?” she asked. "My hope in the future is that students who have this interest would have easy access and basically there are no boundaries."

Fox then asked the panelists to talk about how the strategic imperatives connect to the university’s inclusive excellence initiative.

Bergen shared, “Academic and inclusive excellence is the number one strategic imperative for the College of Media, Communication and Information.”

“Inclusive excellence is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. In engineering, it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Braun. “Engineering has become a global endeavor. Anyone who is going to have success in engineering is going to have to know how to work in diverse teams.”

The group also discussed campus resources that are available to help colleges and schools approach strategic imperatives. They also talked about how the strategic imperatives allow them to row their individual boats in the same direction. VC Fiez mentioned a resource available through her office, who can coach programs through design thinking.

The audience Q and A included questions on how the strategic imperatives would affect students. The United Government of Graduate Students brought concerns about support for international students and students of color on campus and graduate student stipends. There also was a question on the campus budget and tuition increases.

Another group of students brought their concerns about fossil fuel divestments to the discussion. The chancellor shared his support of the recent BFA “Resolution to Address Climate Change.”

The chancellor closed by challenging the audience to “Think university first.” Members of the campus community can focus on achieving the strategic imperatives through collaboration and innovative approaches to the university’s future.