Published: Nov. 5, 2019

On the first Tuesday of each month in CU Boulder Today, we provide an update on how, in year three of Academic Futures, we are integrating the important work of our strategic initiatives into the implementation of our Academic Futures’ priority themes and projects. At the heart of this process is our commitment to furthering the public good by embracing our role as Colorado’s leading national public research university. 

The following update focuses on this year’s four priority themes and projects, along with concurrent work on other Academic Futures themes and projects.

Fall 2019 main themes and projects 

Creating a common student-centered approach to teaching and learning 

Responding to the Foundations of Excellence initiative, the campus is implementing a first-year advising model, under Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Mary Kraus, that embeds first-year advisors in colleges, schools and programs, networked together under a common structure and budget. Hiring is underway to add additional first-year advisors across all CU Boulder colleges and schools.

Campus leadership continues to consider the recommendations of the First-Year Experience Committee report for funding and implementation. This fall, the Center for Teaching and Learning unveiled its strategic vision. 

Making excellence inclusive 

The IDEA Plan, released to the campus on Oct. 30, will be implemented by Office of Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement (ODECE) Vice Chancellor Bob Boswell, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy Chief HR Officer Merna Jacobsen, and Arts & Sciences Associate Dean for Student Success Daryl Maeda, working with Kevin MacLennan, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, and Katherine Erwin, chief human resources officer. 

Concurrently, the CU system Strategic Plan will factor in the diversity and inclusion work at CU Boulder being directed 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.

Teaching and technology, online and distance education 

Three working groups in online and distance education are completing reports due to the provost. The first two reports—on creating a plan to move from the current state of online education to a desired future state and to consider new possibilities for continuing education as a program innovator—were submitted to campus leadership. The third report—to created resources for online/continuing education—will be submitted on Dec. 2.

Interdisciplinary education, research and creative works 

On Oct. 1, the report on interdisciplinarity was posted for 30 days of campus community review and response. Two-page written responses can be submitted through the Academic Futures website through Nov. 8. The final report, along with the campus response, will be submitted to the provost in early December.

Other Academic Futures themes and projects move forward


The university’s next evaluation for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is scheduled for December 9–10, 2019, when an external review team will visit campus. We invite faculty, staff and students to attend one of these town halls—scheduled for Nov. 14, 9–10 a.m., and Nov. 15, 1:30–2:30 p.m., in CASE-E351—to prepare for the site visit.


We continue to work with schools and colleges to develop a more robust governance ecosystem, ensuring more direct representation of faculty across campus.

Campus success: Physical and financial resources 

The work of the Strategic Facilities Visioning team during the past year culminates this fall in refining a data-rich planning tool to help our campus leadership make the most effective infrastructure investment decisions in support of the campus mission and initiative priorities.

What it means to be a public university today

This initiative, embedded in Academic Futures, is integrated in our daily activities of research, scholarship, creative work, teaching and service. These activities further the public good by providing new knowledge, discoveries and creative works that directly serve communities.

Sustaining, supporting and inspiring our community 

Under the IDEA Plan, we are creating commitments to diversity, equity and inclusive excellence that will sustain, support and inspire our research, scholarship, creative work, teaching and service. Through Strategic Facilities Visioning, we are transforming the campus’s physical infrastructure to support learning, teaching, research and community interaction.