Published: Aug. 25, 2020

On Aug. 4, I provided the campus with the first of regular updates on where we stand with our progress on realizing the chancellor’s eight actions for immediate change. Now that the semester is officially underway, it’s a good time to recap what the campus has done to date and provide the campus with another update. I encourage you to become more familiar with the steps below identified as ways of starting to fulfill the chancellor’s charge to me, the vice chancellor for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), and the entire campus community.

Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Bob Boswell

Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Bob Boswell

As we move forward with this process, ODECE is committed to openness, transparency and accountability, and to further collaborating with academic and administrative units, student, faculty and staff governance groups, student government leaders, student groups and organizations, and with other university stakeholders who, like us, believe in our collective success and that change is long overdue. We hear you, we respect your perspectives, and we invite you to engage with us as we continue on our path toward creating the CU Boulder we know is possible.


Bob Boswell
Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement

Update on the chancellor’s Immediate Actions to Enable Change

Action No. 1: Update and enhance faculty and staff hiring practices to achieve greater representation of people of color in our community and to better express the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion to all who would consider becoming part of our university.

Human Resources has implemented mandatory implicit bias training for all search committee members and anyone voting on faculty hires; roughly half of those eligible have already participated, and the remainder will be trained throughout the 2020-21 academic year. A process is also underway to evaluate the mandatory qualifications for staff searches to ensure that qualifications reflect true competencies for positions. A collaboration among the provost’s office, ODECE, the Schools and Colleges, and the offices of faculty and academic affairs has resulted in the CU Boulder Faculty Diversity Action Plan (FDAP), an initiative currently underway to achieve the university’s faculty and other diversity goals and to promote measures to prevent implicit bias and other forms of discrimination during the faculty hiring process and to improve faculty retention.

Action No. 2: Update and enhance our student recruitment and retention policies and practices.

On Aug. 24, the Admissions office began to analyze in-state and out-of-state recruitment strategies to further ensure that CU Boulder is drawing students from schools that support communities of color. In addition, the office has procured new tools to aid with outreach efforts among diverse populations in Colorado and elsewhere. The office will continue to highlight the importance of diversity, inclusion and equity at CU Boulder through its communications, emphasizing expectations that all incoming students support our values as an antiracist and inclusive campus. In addition, the Graduate School is engaged in an ongoing effort to expand financial support for focused recruitment efforts. 

Action No. 3: Implement mandatory bystander training for faculty, staff and students.

The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) recently developed mandatory online community equity and effective bystander intervention training for students, faculty and staff, and all members of the CU Boulder community are required to take this training before returning to campus. The Canvas course for incoming undergraduates launched on July 15 and the course for continuing and graduate students became available on Aug. 18. A Skillsoft faculty and staff version launched on Aug. 3, and in-person training is available upon request. OIEC also collaborated with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to provide instructors and graduate students with skills to address problematic classroom interactions. Last week, CTL delivered a variety of inclusive pedagogy training sessions focused on managing classroom conversations, and the campus can see their schedule for ongoing engagement opportunities. Finally, over 600 participants have enrolled, since July, in our Canvas inclusive practices community, where they have access to a self-paced antiracism course.

Action No. 4: Engage with the CU system and CU Student Government (CUSG) in examining our procurement practices with Colorado Correctional Industries.

On Aug. 17, the CU System announced that the four CU campuses will continue to consider Colorado Correctional Industries as a vendor for furniture contracts––but will no longer use the CCI as its exclusive provider. This announcement came about as the result of a working group comprising students, faculty and staff who examined these processes before delivering recommendations to CU President Mark Kennedy.

Action No. 5: Complete a review of campus police policies and procedures to align with best community and campus practices, including the protections contained in Senate Bill 20-217.

As I reported in my first update, a complete review of our campus police policies and procedures to align with best community and campus practices is underway that includes new provisions provided under Colorado’s new policing law. Some provisions of the law took effect this year, and the CU Police Department (CUPD) is already in compliance. The law will take full effect on July 1, 2023, and will include requirements that all local police departments and the Colorado State Patrol issue and mandate body-worn cameras for all officers and release recordings to the public within 21 days of a misconduct report. CUPD Chief Doreen Jokerst mandated body-worn cameras for all of her officers, and the department policy took effect on Aug. 1 and also mandated cameras for all marked vehicles. Chief Jokerst is leading many other improvements and collaborative efforts as CUPD works to become a national leader in university policing. To support this action item, the chancellor recently announced the formation of the Community Safety Task Force.

Action No. 6: Charge CU Boulder faculty with developing a CU 101 anti-racism module for first-year students that explores the toxicity of racism in U.S. history, U.S. life and at CU Boulder and delves into ways to act against it in our daily lives on and off campus.

Dyonne Bergeron, assistant vice chancellor for the Center for Inclusion and Social Change, collaborated with members of the CU 101 working group over the summer to develop an antiracism module for first-year students this semester. Bergeron convened student focus groups to assess the module’s effectiveness to ensure the course content resonated with students, and the content is now available to all first-year students as part of Fall Welcome.

Action No. 7: Continue engagement between CU Police Department, CUSG, Graduate and Professional Student Government (formerly United Government of Graduate Students) and student organizations of color to improve mutual understanding and law enforcement transparency and accountability to the campus.

CUPD Police Chief Doreen Jokerst continues to work to strengthen bonds between her department and the campus and city communities. She is doing so by meeting with student government and BIPOC student leaders and other campus constituents, as well as Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold and other city leaders. As CUPD works to become a national model for university policing, community engagement will become an even bigger part of the department’s efforts to build trust and increase accountability and transparency.

Action No. 8: Form the Council for Community and Inclusion recommended in the IDEA Plan and begin implementation of the IDEA Plan.

The chancellor’s final call to action refers to the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan, which underpins all of the previous actions and will carry the campus forward in our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Council for Community and Inclusion, which will oversee its implementation, will serve as an advisory body to prioritize institutional strategy and assess and report on progress.