Published: Dec. 17, 2021

Editor’s note: This is part of a monthly series of campus updates on CU Boulder’s efforts to build a common student-centered approach to teaching and learning. This series will continue throughout the academic year. 

Leadership team cites accomplishments for student success during fall semester, looks toward spring to continue progress

The Buff Undergraduate Success Leadership Implementation Team (BUS-LIT), which began its work earlier in the semester, met regularly throughout the fall to define student success from an undergraduate student perspective and identify common roadblocks that prevent students from achieving their goals and earning their degrees.

The team has supported the following fall accomplishments in support of undergraduate student success:

Buff Info service center

The Buff Info service center’s role is expanding to become the “front door” for student support questions. Buff Info was formed in January 2021 to provide the CU Boulder community a centralized point of connection and information. Since its inception, the Buff Info team has fielded 16,502 cases to answer questions and provide students, faculty, staff and families with connections with campus information and resources. 

Buff Info liaisons can be reached at 303-492-INFO (4636) or via email at, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The university will extend these hours when needed. Buff Info also offers a live chat that can also be accessed by students at The Buff Info team is available to answer questions on a wide variety of topics related to CU Boulder, and help faculty, staff, students and parents connect with the appropriate campus office/service center for additional information or assistance as needed.

Course Alert system

The Course Alert system was expanded to include all undergraduate courses. Course alerts are an important component in ensuring undergraduate student success. If students are alerted early in the semester, they have the time to take action, whether that means seeking additional instructor help or guidance, engaging a tutor or modifying their schedule accordingly.

Instructors are asked to submit a course alert for undergraduate students who are not completing assignments, are missing class, are performing poorly on tests and assignments, or are otherwise struggling and may need help. Students are notified via email shortly after an instructor identifies them; additionally, advisors and other student success staff are then able to reach out to students to offer resources and suggestions for improving performance. 

New working groups

The team has identified a number of working groups that are forming for the spring semester. Each group will provide proposed solutions directed toward the goal(s) of the following:

  • Improving student retention and graduation rates, including retention and graduation rates for students from underserved groups.
  • Improving students’ sense of social and/or academic belonging and academic confidence, including for students from underserved groups.
  • Improving the effective integration of technology, data and communications to enhance the digital student experience and bolster ease of access to student support services that enable student success.
  • Aligning student success outcomes with the undergraduate curriculum and the improvement of teaching and learning, as driven by the faculty.

The Buff Undergraduate Success team will compile each group’s input in January and begin prioritizing and moving projects forward during the spring semester.

Common curriculum planning committee drafts themes and considers learning outcomes

The Common Curriculum Planning Committee is continuing its work focused on creating a common learning experience and a common set of learning outcomes for CU Boulder undergraduate students.

The committee is wrapping up its first main task, the development of common learning goals and outcomes to support a common curriculum. These common learning goals have been informed by the Academic Futures report, the IDEA Plan and input from colleagues and students across campus collected via white papers submitted to the committee and via the spring 2021 common curriculum open forums and listening tour, which involved nearly 80 department, college, school, shared governance and student advisory and student support groups. The goal is to present a draft of common curriculum framework options to the campus community for review and input in February 2022.

Both the creation of a common curriculum and a consistent campuswide system for assessing student learning will be reviewed as part of CU Boulder’s required follow-up accreditation reporting for the Higher Learning Commission Assurance Review, which will be submitted for evaluation by the commission in early June 2024.

Hone your teaching skills, schedule a confidential consultation with the Center for Teaching & Learning

The Center for Teaching and Learning offers individualized, confidential consultations free of charge to all educators on the CU Boulder campus. CTL staff members can consult on specific aspects of your teaching or simply hold a general conversation. CTL staff also provide confidential classroom observations and conduct classroom interviews. When needed, the staff can quickly connect you to appropriate campus support and resources.

Schedule your teaching consultation here.