Chancellor DiStefano delivers annual State of the Campus Address Tuesday

Chancellor DiStefano delivered his 5th Annual State of the Campus Address Tuesday morning. The speech began at 8 am in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom.

You can watch the entire speech here.

DiStefano discussed his three goals for the 2013 scholastic year – finding new sources of revenue, innovating new ways of how to serve students and finding ways to build CU’s reputation.

Regarding the need for new sources of revenue, DiStefano discussed the cut back from state funding for CU, which has declined by $49 million from 2009 to 2013, a 33.5 percent decrease. Colorado’s financial support of CU’s budget has dropped from 15 percent in 2002 to 5 percent today, the lowest level of support of any flagship in the nation.

In order to combat the lack of funding, DiStefano plans to create a new revenue model with different fundraising priorities.

DiStefano’s model includes more online programs in cross-disciplinary classes and emphasizes increasing CU’s international student base, which currently stands at 1,818 students. Introducing a new summer program to help CU become more nationally recognized, opening a unified office to address companies and sponsorships to make sure CU gets the most out of its partnerships and starting a new fundraising initiative are also key elements of the plan, which would include an annual fundraising goal of $100 million.

The revenue will go towards STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and help fund new buildings and departments on campus, such as the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers biotechnology building, the construction of the Sustainability, Energy and Environmental complex, the athletics program, the aerospace department and an endowment for CU’s Esteemed Scholars. 

DiStefano’s second goal was to innovate new ways of how to serve students.

“Our six-year graduation rate sits as 68 percent today. I am challenging the campus community to move that figure to 80 percent by 2020,” DiStefano said. “We’re going to ensure that more and more students graduate successfully with a CU degree in the shortest time as possible.”

Focusing student efforts toward graduation will hopefully improve with two new interdisciplinary colleges and schools, the College of Media, Communication and Information and the School of Environment and Sustainability. DiStefano also highlighted three new programs at CU – the business minor, a computer science program in the College of Arts and Sciences and a general education degree in engineering.

An increase in diversity, from 29 to 31 percent to match Colorado’s high school graduates, is another goal. DiStefano is working with Steven Leigh, the Arts and Sciences dean, to improve the department’s curriculum, and with associate engineering professor Paul Chinowsky to create a peer mentor program for freshmen. 

The chancellor also addressed how CU plans to manage its reputation. DiStefano would like to distinguish CU Boulder as a comprehensive research university through consistent and dynamic messages.

“Today I am announcing the implementation of a group called the strategic marketing alliance,” DiStefano said. “It will represent faculty, students and many key academic initiatives which generate communication from the campus, which will have a consistent look and feel.”

DiStefano also mentioned that CU’s research is fundamental to its reputation. 

“We are currently ranked among one of the top 20 research universities in the US in terms of productivity and citations of the work of our faculty,” he said. “In order to maintain that ranking, we need to be very good at identifying research opportunities and going after them in an aggressive manner.”

The chancellor’s goal for research this year is to transform the office of contracts and grants, and provide a top notch sponsored research demonstration that is “second to none.”

DiStefano stated that including alumni is key.

“We have a goal of doubling our current alumni participation to 16 percent,” he said. “Outreach to our community is vital to our reputation. We cannot advance CU Boulder’s reputation around Colorado and the world if we have not built and sustained our reputation right here in our own community.”

This post was updated to include the current story.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Danielle Meltz at Danielle.meltz@colorado.edu, twitter/justmeltz.

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