An 83-page draft report released Tuesday outlines projects and recommendations to improve academics at the University of Colorado.
Last fall, university officials launched the "Academic Futures" effort, which called for CU community members to help rethink the university and envision its future. A committee sifted through 158 position papers, notes from 150 meetings and discussions, and thousands of comments to compile the draft.
It outlines five broad projects to improve the university:
Designing a student-centered campus, including introducing campus-wide common curriculum, cohesive advising and improved co-curricular experiences, such as research and internship opportunities.
Improving interdisciplinary work, including encouraging interdisciplinary and co-teaching classes and creating a new administrator position to oversee the efforts.
Addressing globalization, including supporting international students; encouraging international research and creative work; and creating a new administrator position.
Improving use of technology, including requiring schools and colleges to oversee their online and distance education courses and technology use in the classroom and increasing the number of online courses.
Supporting inclusivity, including building affordable housing and supporting improved public transportation, creating affordable child and elder care, providing lactation spaces, increasing mentoring, and building common and community spaces around campus.
Each of the projects and recommendations is meant to support CU's role as a public university and institution furthering public good, the committee wrote, and it described the process as "more like a small town urban planning process than a typical academic task force."
The committeealso emphasized that the university is not a business and should not operate as such, and encouraged university officials to seek more public funding, as well as adopt principles regarding private funding.
"The university should not acquiesce in the shrinking or possible zeroing-out of public financing," the committee wrote. "It should fight for funding from the state and make the case for why CU Boulder is an excellent investment of public funds."
Provost Russell Moore said the message resonated with him.
"We're all here because we believe in the mission of a public, higher education, research university," Moore said. "From that perspective, yes, it is resonant."
The draft is open for a 30-day comment period, and university community members also can provide feedback through 12 town halls scheduled over the next month, the first of which is from 5 to 6 p.m. today in the British Studies Room at the Norlin Library.
At the beginning of October, Moore and Kelly Fox, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer, will use the report, comments and other recommendations to issue final recommendations, according to the Academic Futures website.
For their part, Moore and Fox said they were pleased with the progress and work of the committee, but it is still too early in the process to react to specific projects and recommendations.
"For me, it's too early for a substantive reaction," Moore said. "... Kelly and I have both been deliberately staying at arm's length from this to allow the process to come from the campus community."
Fox said the comment period would be another important time for feedback, before they weighed in
"We laid out a process that really is intentionally listening to the campus community," Fox said. "This next month is a really important part of that process, where the campus community will be giving its feedback to the committee's report."
Other campus committees also are examining diversity and inclusion, financial and facilities goals. More information on the Academic Futures process is at: colorado.edu/academicfutures/.
Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, firstname.lastname@example.org