Published: Oct. 6, 2023

Chancellor Phil DiStefano on Thursday told the Boulder Faculty Assembly at its regular monthly meeting that he would support strong faculty and shared governance involvement in the upcoming CU system-led search for his successor. 

In his annual fall update to the assembly, DiStefano said the campus’s shared governance “will be important in the selection of the new chancellor” and said CU President Todd Saliman “had asked for recommendations of faculty to serve on the search committee.” 

“I’ve met with all of our shared governance groups to talk about the importance of serving on the search committee for the next chancellor,” DiStefano said. 

Regarding the search, DiStefano also said he personally believed that an academic leader was needed as the next chancellor and that he hoped the search would bring “three or four (finalist) candidates to campus.”

In other updates, the chancellor noted: 

  • Campus enrollment for fall 2023 increased by 2.9% due mainly to “lower than anticipated summer melt,” the term for when students who have accepted admission do not ultimately enroll.
  • Campus retention in fall 2023 for first-to-second year students hit an all-time high of 89.1%.
  • He was “really pleased that our transfer students were up 6.8% [in number] from fall of last year,” noting, “We’re seeing trends that many other universities around the nation—[including] our AAU public peers—are not seeing.” 
  • The campus will continue following its “north star” of supporting student success, citing the Buff Undergraduate Success efforts and efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion led by Senior Vice Chancellor Sonia DeLuca Fernández.
  • He is committed to continuing to help students understand the importance of “civic engagement and our roles as citizens in supporting democracy.” 

DiStefano also said the campus would soon begin its first self-managed fundraising campaign. Past campaigns have been led by the CU system and focused on all four campuses. He said CU Boulder’s campaign would take “six to eight years to complete” and pledged his full support to it.

“We will hit highlights like scholarships [and] endowed chairs, but we’ll also be working with donors and alumni on areas like health and wellness, climate change and sustainability,” DiStefano said.

Several BFA members thanked DiStefano for his service, with BFA member Ravinder Singh of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology asking him to assess successes and challenges over his years of service.

DiStefano said the greatest success—over the last 15 years in particular—has been “the incredible faculty we have.”

“We’ve done a great job of hiring new faculty. Every September, I’m so impressed with the new faculty coming on board – in my mind, that has increased our reputation as a university.” 

Challenges, he said, included getting through COVID, and meeting the long-term challenge of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

In other BFA action

The assembly discussed a proposed new academic calendar, presented by Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning & Assessment Katherine Eggert and University Registrar Kristi Wold-McCormick, that would: 

  • Adjust the Monday-Wednesday-Friday and the Tuesday-Thursday class meeting patterns so they both have the same number of instructional days.
  • Create a midsemester reading day for each semester.
  • Add an additional reading day before the final exam period at the end of each semester.
  • Move spring break one week earlier in the spring semester.
  • Seek to align CU Boulder’s spring break with Boulder Valley School District’s and St. Vrain Valley School District’s spring breaks.
  • Open up a day between the last day of final exams and spring commencement for residence hall move-out.

In the presentation, Eggert said the proposal was designed to meet a variety of student, faculty and staff needs; would comply with both federal and state rules governing instruction time; and would keep CU Boulder consistent with its AAU public university peers in terms of the number of average days of instruction. Eggert requested that BFA representatives gather input on the proposal from their constituents by Oct. 20.

The assembly also voted 46 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention to approve a resolution, submitted by University Libraries faculty and presented at the meeting by Dean Robert McDonald, to support the libraries’ continued advocacy “for equitable information production, discovery and access” as priorities to “increase transparency and to communicate the university’s values and expectations for licensed resources to our stakeholders and vendors.”