With more than 700 in attendance in person and online, today Chancellor Philip DiStefano delivered his annual State of the Campus address, announcing key initiatives for college affordability and acknowledging at least one member of the campus community who exceeds him in seniority.
“I’m pleased to be starting my 44th year on campus,” he said, recognizing the 50 years of our mascot Ralphie’s tradition. “Although she has a distinct advantage over me, with five incarnations.”
The chancellor began by sharing some of the many recent successes from across the campus, highlighting CU Boulder's $508 million dollars of research funding—our highest level in the history of the campus.
Following last year’s announcement of the three strategic imperatives, the chancellor focused on progress toward aligning the campus around the common values and goals embodied in the campus strategic plan.
Key to the success of the strategic plan, he asserted, is a common strongly held set of values, defined for our community by the Colorado Creed.
- Act with honor, integrity and accountability in all interactions with students, faculty, staff and neighbors.
- Respect the rights of others and accept our differences.
- Contribute to the greater good of this community.
Acting from these shared values, DiStefano announced he and University of Colorado President Bruce Benson are signing a letter of support sponsored by the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition. The coalition—led by more than a dozen higher education associations—will work to ensure Congress acts as quickly as possible on bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers.
The chancellor then went on to highlight some of the initiatives and programs that are advancing our strategic imperatives: Shape tomorrow’s leaders; be the top university for innovation; and positively impact humanity. Central to this work is the Academic Futures initiative, which is inviting faculty, staff and students in developing unfettered visions, aspirations and ideals for what our university should be.
“We want to draw on the experiences of all of you—faculty, staff and students—in creating a vision for our future university,” he said. DiStefano then announced the launch of the Be Boulder Pact, a commitment to our students and their families to lower the cost and increase accessibility to an education at CU Boulder, building on previous work such as the CU Boulder Guarantee.
The pact—as launched—contains several signature elements. First among them: starting in fall of 2018, the university will eliminate all course-related and program fees. Next, the pact will fully fund the CU Boulder Impact Scholarship program, which launched last year as an innovation proposal by the financial aid and admissions team. Finally, the chancellor announced a commitment to partner with the CU Student Government on their efforts to bring open educational resources (OER) to our students, with the goal of ultimately benefitting all Colorado higher education institutions.
The chancellor concluded with a call for continued and deeper collaboration and to remain student-focused in all we do. He assured the audience their hard work was paying off, and the key metrics we are using to define success are moving in the direction we desire.
"If we stay focused on our common objectives, we will succeed and be stronger. It’s going to take all of us, collectively, to achieve our strategic imperatives," he said. "Let your voice be heard, and be open to change and input from others around you."
After the conclusion of his prepared remarks, the chancellor sat with John Kelly, co-chair of CU Boulder Staff Council, for a moderated Q&A session. Questions had previously been solicited online and were also welcomed from the in-person and online audience during the event.
Questions ranged from the details of the new fee structure, to the genesis of initiatives like Academic Futures. The chancellor addressed rumors and outstanding campus issues such as future plans for the CU Boulder South campus, minimum wage, sanctuary campus status and tenancy plans for the CASE building.
Fully captioned video of the event will be hosted on the Office of the Chancellor website along with the full text of the address.