COLORADO SPRINGS — The University of Colorado Board of Regents discussed how to best measure progress toward its systemwide goals at the first day of its annual summer retreat Thursday.

With a view of the mountains in the background, the board and several university employees met with an education consultant at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort to discuss how to track improvement on a list of six strategic priorities the board had outlined at its winter retreat.

The board's strategic goals are: increasing student success, exemplifying Colorado's diversity, ensuring the university's ongoing financial stability and vitality, advancing Colorado's economy, advancing the health of Colorado's citizens and increasing the university's outreach and reputation.

Consultant Ellen Chaffee, a senior fellow for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, advised the regents to consider which measurements will give them a broad, long-term understanding of the university.

"The regents can add value to the University of Colorado by lifting everyone's sights and saying, 'Where are we really going with this? What do we expect to change and ... what can the board do to be more supportive and more effective for the university and for the state?'" Chaffee said.

Some of the measurements discussed include student retention rates, freshman enrollment by race and ethnicity, resident undergraduate tuition and fees compared to peer institutions, the number of startup companies formed by university students and media coverage of CU's research.

On diversity, Boulder campus Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the board should also measure success by a change in climate, which will be harder to quantify.

There was discussion at the board's June meeting in Denver that the city of Boulder has an unwelcoming climate for African-American students.

"We need some qualitative information to go along with the metrics," he said. "The metrics say that we have X percentage of students of color or first-generation students, but what's the climate for these students?"

This is the first board retreat since President Bruce Benson's hiring in 2008 that hasn't been held at his 300-acre ranch, which is 17 miles north of Silverthorne.

The 2013 summer retreat held at Benson's ranch cost $7,959.84, and the 2014 winter retreat cost $11,495.87, said CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue. He said costs are still being tallied for the current retreat.

The regents will spend the second day of the retreat discussing the 10-year state budget forecast for higher education before moving into executive session.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or kutas@dailycamera.com.