At its regular meeting on Thursday at the CU Boulder campus, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to approve a new online Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies; new departments for the Boulder campus; two capital construction projects on the Boulder campus, including $57 million to construct a 58,000-square-foot addition to the Imig Music Building and $13.7 million to renovate the west tower of the Fleming Building; and more.
Paid parental leave
Vice President for Employee and Information Services Kathy Nesbitt updated the board on updates to the Administrative Policy Statement 5019, Parental Leave for Faculty and Staff. As part of these updates, the system campuses are expected to create their own policies to address campus-specific details for the implementation of paid parental leave. Stay tuned for updates specific to the Boulder campus, expected next week.
Changes to CU Boulder academic programs
New fully online undergraduate degree
The regents also approved a new three-year online Bachelor of Arts interdisciplinary studies degree, the campus’s first fully online undergraduate degree-completion program. Pending state approval, the new degree will offer students with previously earned college credits the opportunity to complete their interdisciplinary degree with a focus on education.
In addition to an emphasis area in education, students in the program will be able to tailor their coursework by selecting a second area of emphasis that fits with their specific interests and career goals, such as cultural diversity; global studies; health, science and society; organizations and leadership; research methods and data analysis; and social justice studies. The next step in the program’s development involves the review and approval of the program by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
New department of Biochemistry
The board voted by consent agenda to split the CU Boulder Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry into two independent departments: the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry.
The restructuring as independent departments will allow both units to better fulfill their teaching and research missions including:
- Dramatically simplified governance of physically separate units.
- Streamlined prioritization of teaching objectives improving education and student retention
- Improved focus on diverging research priorities in each unit.
- Enhanced national visibility for both chemistry and biochemistry in teaching and research
The proposed restructuring is fundamentally administrative and does not disrupt undergraduate or graduate education. No changes to the already separate undergraduate or graduate degrees are necessary, and no new fees or instructional costs will result from the restructuring.
Film Studies to become Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts
The board voted by consent agenda to change the name of the Film Studies program to “Program in Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts” and to grant the unit departmental status in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz, professor and chair of the Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts, says this action will make de jure what is already the de facto place of the unit in Arts and Sciences.
“Given that nationally every comparable (and competing) unit has department status (UCLA, UT Austin, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Brooklyn College, NYU, USC, UChicago, etc.), this move will give us wider national recognition amongst our peers,” Acevedo-Muñoz said. “Furthermore, our students are better served graduating from a department rather than a program, which might be erroneously perceived as having somewhat lesser standards or rigor.”
Capital construction projects
As part of the consent agenda, the Board of Regents also approved spending authority for two capital construction projects on the CU Boulder campus. These include:
- $57 million to construct a 58,000-square-foot addition to the Imig Music Building that will help accommodate growth in the number of students across the campus who have interest in taking music classes and consolidate programming for the College of Music. The addition also includes studio and classroom space for the Department of Theatre and Dance. Construction is slated to begin in January 2019 and be complete by the summer of 2020.
- $13.7 million to renovate the west tower of the Fleming Building and perform critical system upgrades to the central portion of the building. When finished, the west tower will provide office swing space to accommodate other major renovation projects around campus. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2019 and be complete by the end of 2019.
In other board news
The board heard a notice of motion from Patrick O’Rourke, University Counsel vice president and Board of Regents secretary, about proposed changes to the university’s freedom of expression policies. The board agreed on a motion to move forward for future consideration amendments to Policies 1, 5 and 7, specifically to allow further time for consideration of faculty concerns on Policy 5 and to further discuss the removal of the word “liberal” in front of education in CU’s mission, as several regents expressed concerns. A PDF document giving full details about the proposed revisions, as well as context about the first amendment and how free speech occurs on a university campus, is available on BoardDocs.
In day two of its meeting, Friday, June 22, the the Board of Regents voted to approve the operating budget for the CU system and all four campuses, including a $1.8 billion budget for the Boulder campus, as well as a head coach contract extension. For more details or to see presentations from the meeting visit the BoardDocs website.