Published: Nov. 16, 2017
CU Board of Regents

At its regular meeting Thursday on the CU Boulder campus, the Board of Regents voted to approve a new system-wide online education initiative and a master’s degree in journalism entrepreneurship on the Boulder campus; awarded three CU Boulder faculty members the distinguished professor title; and heard a presentation from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano and Athletic Director Rick George around head and brain injury in athletics. 

In other board news
  • During the public comments section of the agenda, several graduate students brought forward their concerns about the level of graduate student wages and the cost of living in Boulder.
  • The board heard a report from CU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Todd Saliman on student debt and financial aid, as well as the proposed financial aid plan for the 2018–19 academic year. An in-depth look at CU Boulder’s efforts to reduce the cost of attendance and student debt will appear in an upcoming edition.
  • The board heard a presentation from Chancellor DiStefano and Athletic Director Rick George on efforts to reduce head injuries in athletics. This is on the heels of an announcement that CU Boulder is to lead a PAC-12 research initiative on student athlete concussions.

New proposal for CU system: Online education

The board resolved by a 9-0 vote to support a new proposal about online education for the CU system (led by Regent Stephen Ludwig). The proposal is intended to more fully meet the needs of current and future students; increase access and affordability especially for first-generation college students, working adults and rural residents; and ensure Colorado has the trained workforce it needs. It outlines the following goals:

  • By fall 2018: Identify a set of five key bachelor’s degrees and five key master’s degrees that serve the current and near-term employment needs in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region and expand these degrees to be available completely online.
  • By fall 2022: Develop and launch two online-only degrees with a total fixed cost to students of $15,000, including books and fees, one for bachelor’s level and one for master’s level.
  • By 2023: Through the use of asynchronous delivery, multiple start times and efficient course scaling, CU will have 6,000 students seeking their degrees using only online resources. 
  • By 2024: Through online courses and online experiences—including at least one full year of CU credit (30 hours) available through concurrent online enrollment—as well as traditional on-campus and face-to-face programs, provide support available to every Colorado high school student that advances high school students’ understanding of their options in higher education. 
  • Noting that the proposed alternate technologies and pedagogies will require changes to basic infrastructure such as admissions, financial aid, registration systems and bursar operations, and will also require support for the faculty, such as instructional design professionals and studio facilities, the university shall invest over the next four years at least $20 million to reach these goals. Additionally, the university shall develop revenue models that will support the ongoing needs of the online efforts across the campuses after this investment.

Full details can be found on BoardDocs.

Master of Arts in Journalism Entrepreneurship

The board voted unanimously by consent agenda to approve a new online degree for the CU Boulder campus: the professional Master of Arts in Journalism Entrepreneurship in the College of Media, Communication and Information.

This degree will prepare students for success in news outlets, digital and social media platforms and corporate communications. It focuses on preparing students for today’s media environment, one where there are more content providers than ever, but fewer full-time jobs. In this environment, skills in both journalism and entrepreneurship are necessary.

Graduates will be able to flourish in a constantly changing media ecosystem, where journalists are expected to understand the traditional norms and goals, as well as the economics of the journalism industry. This program will provide students with skills to create a lasting career in a world more and more reliant on contract work.
Elizabeth Skewes, associate professor and chair of the journalism department, says this new degree is unique among online degree programs.

“We think this degree addresses a real need in the industry, and our program will blend journalism skills training with courses on business models and negotiating contracts,” Skewes said. “We think we’ve got something special to offer graduate students who can’t come to campus for a master’s program, and we’re excited to be able to launch this program in fall 2018.”

CU Boulder distinguished professors

The board unanimously voted to award three CU Boulder faculty members the university’s highest faculty honor, designation as distinguished professor. The CU Boulder honorees are Peter Molnar, Department of Geological Sciences, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences; Douglas Seals, Department of Integrative Physiology; and Thomas Veblen, Department of Geography.

Distinguished professors are honored for demonstrating exemplary performance in research or creative work, a record of excellence in classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning and outstanding service to the profession. Read more about the CU Boulder distinguished professors.