Published: Oct. 30, 2019

CU Boulder leaders announced today that they have accepted the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan—the campus’s blueprint for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. The plan and other materials are posted on the Office of Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement website

Acceptance of the report by Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, Provost Russell Moore and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Fox marks the culmination of the campus process for collaboration, drafting, response and review.

The plan lays out three key calls to action and lists dozens of actionable recommendations to improve the academic, research and professional experiences of all students, faculty and staff.

“The IDEA Plan is the product of extensive reflection, focused discussion and dedication to changing our culture at CU Boulder,” DiStefano said. “I am grateful to the authoring committee for its extensive work, and to our campus community for its patience and engagement as we crafted this transformative document.”

The plan outlines benchmarks for progress in three key areas: climate, infrastructure and leadership. It identifies five actions to enable the plan’s three goals, under the acronym CLIMB

  • Cultivate success for a diverse undergraduate and graduate student body with new financial resources and programming;
  • Learn and lead effective efforts to attract and retain a diverse faculty and staff;
  • Increase financial resources and incentives to undertake diversity and inclusion work;
  • Move accountability for diversity and inclusion from the periphery to core institutional functioning;
  • Build institutional infrastructures and human capacity to implement the plan.

Each CLIMB action is supported by substantial recommendations for expanding successful programs, creating new programs and erecting structures for progress. 

There are also suggestions in the document for creating a permanent campus committee to oversee the implementation of the IDEA Plan and for creating resources to carry out the plan’s work. 

Central to the plan's recommendations are accountability and actions at all levels of campus leadership.

“The IDEA Plan is about changing the day-to-day experience of our students, faculty and staff by removing barriers to their success, regardless of their identity,” said Moore. “It is about changing how we engage in teaching and scholarship, how we interact in the workplace and how we create an environment for achieving excellence that includes everyone in our community and excludes no one.”

Fox agreed, saying that she, Moore and DiStefano were united in asking the committee to draft a plan that challenged both campus leadership and the broader university community to create culture change.

“Not only does the IDEA Plan issue this challenge,” said Fox, “it gives us all specific actions for leaning into work that will forever change our campus.”

Under the direction of Moore and Fox, implementation of the plan will be led by Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Bob Boswell, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy Chief HR Officer Merna Jacobsen, and Arts & Sciences Associate Dean for Student Success Daryl Maeda. The three will partner with Kevin MacLennan, assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, and Katherine Erwin, chief human resources officer for CU Boulder, in developing an implementation strategy for the plan. 

“We will need to prioritize the recommendations and ideas within the IDEA Plan within our resource realities,” said DiStefano. “But we will find ways to address its many recommendations—and the challenges they highlight—with all the creativity and innovation we can muster.” 

Concurrently, the CU system strategic plan will factor in the diversity and inclusion work at CU Boulder that is outlined by the IDEA Plan. The system process is not looking to redefine campus processes; instead, each campus will submit its individual report on diversity, equity, inclusion and access activities. 

“CU Boulder’s report will describe how we are implementing the IDEA Plan,” DiStefano said. 

The IDEA Plan is the result of a three-and-a-half-year campus-wide effort that incorporates the input of more than 500 students, faculty and staff and 90 academic and administrative departments. It was drafted and revised by a 28-person committee inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, academic discipline and role within the university, and socialized with the campus in the fall of 2018 through 12 open forums, gathering more than 50 online submissions. 

The IDEA Plan’s authoring and revising committee was commissioned by Boswell, and co-chaired by Maeda and Jacobsen. It was facilitated by Alaina Beaver, initiatives director of social climate strategy for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), and Alphonse Keasley, associate vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.