Published: Oct. 12, 2021

Provost Russell Moore today announced that Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Robert “Bob” Boswell is retiring, effective Jan. 15, 2022, after a combined 35 years of service at CU Boulder. Boswell has held the vice chancellor role for the past 10 years and also is a faculty member in molecular, cellular and developmental biology (MCDB).

“Over the course of the last decade, Vice Chancellor Bob Boswell has worked to transform the climate and culture of our campus by building and extending the strategic relationships that have grown and sustained diversity, equity and inclusion at CU Boulder,” said Moore. “He has created and solidified a network of committed faculty, staff and administrators to drive these efforts and move us forward. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his work and partnership ethos.”

Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Robert “Bob” Boswell

Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Robert “Bob” Boswell

Boswell had a long and distinguished career at CU Boulder as a faculty member and researcher in CU Boulder’s molecular, cellular and developmental biology department, where his research focused primarily on developmental genetics. Boswell received his doctorate from CU Boulder, became an assistant professor in MCDB in 1986 and received tenure in 1993. He was also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health Initiative that expands academic and research opportunities for underrepresented students.

Boswell said working to advance the campus’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) mission has been both challenging and rewarding. 

“It has been an honor to serve CU Boulder as vice chancellor for diversity, equity and community engagement,” said Boswell. “It has been personally very rewarding to partner with faculty, staff and students across campus to build a culture of belonging and engagement that fosters educational and personal success and advances our campus’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. I wish the campus great success in these vital areas moving ahead.” 

Under Boswell’s leadership, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE) has:

  • Spearheaded the drafting, revising and approving of the campus’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan, the campus’s blueprint for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence.
  • Compiled, monitored and used the campus’s DEI data to inform effective policies and programs and track progress on DEI efforts.
  • Raised millions of dollars in grant funds through the Colorado Diversity Initiative, which promotes diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Built key partnerships with the deans, Division of Student Affairs, Center for Teaching and Learning, and other academic and co-curricular units across campus to create aligned approaches to transforming campus climate and culture.
  • Enhanced the role and mission of the Center for Inclusion & Social Change to support the growth and development of all students.
  • Expanded vital community partnerships through the Office of Precollege Outreach & Engagement, which provides academic enrichment, starting in middle school, to first-generation and low-income students from across the state and beyond.
  • Developed partnerships with school districts, counties and campus units to secure millions of dollars in Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative funds, which provides scholarships and academic enrichment programs to CU Boulder students. 

“In the next few weeks, I plan to post a position for an interim leader of ODECE whose role will be to continue and expand all of the vital work Bob and the ODECE staff are doing to lower barriers to access and affordability and to build a culture of belonging and engagement on campus,” said Moore. “These are critical elements that lead to academic success.” 

Moore asked the campus to congratulate Boswell for his “leadership, service and accomplishments as ODECE’s vice chancellor and as a longtime, valued and respected faculty member in MCDB.”