Purpose, Vision, Values

Thousands of individuals offered their unique perspectives to collectively define the community of CU Denver. Our shared identity as Lynx is a vibrant mosaic of experiences, ideas, and dreams we all can celebrate.

Our Purpose

Make a CU Denver education work for all — to transform lives, expand economies, and uplift communities.

Vision for 2030

At CU Denver, we are building a radically inclusive model for higher education based on the simple idea that everyone deserves access to an excellent education and a fulfilled life of their design.

Our model is based on equity and the belief that every learner should receive a high-quality, relevant education that fits the reality of their lives and leads to their definition of a successful future. To us, access is more than getting into college; it is about leveraging our status as a premier public urban research university to provide entrée to world-expanding academic and research opportunities, coveted professional networks, career-building internships and experiences, and social capital and mobility that is generally reserved for the privileged few.

We are much more than a degree-granting institution; we partner with learners to design their educational experiences, their lives, and their futures—flexibly, humanly, and on their terms. With a maverick spirit of innovation and high-powered urban energy, we question things that no longer work, foster curiosity, expand the imagination, create knowledge, grow empathy, cultivate diverse talent, and encourage risk-taking. We are disrupting the privileged seclusion of the ivory tower by providing a culturally responsive education to learners when they need it and where they need it.

We are embedded in the vibrant city we serve, partnering to solve societal problems, spark new discoveries, generate humanity improving jobs, and elevate communities and economies. Locally infused and globally minded, we see the powerful potential to be a true equity-serving institution that changes education, strengthens democracy, and works for all.


Our Values

We are learner-centered.

Our highest priority is the success of our learners, where success is collaboratively defined. We ensure that success by cultivating transformative student experiences, instilling enduring competencies, and promoting a supportive community that values flexible learning opportunities, innovative ideas, and academic excellence.

We strive for belonging and equity on our campus and in our community.

We view the world through a lens of equity, inclusivity, respect, empathy, care, and empowerment. As an urban university with a significant history in our community, we seek to learn from the past and effect meaningful change for our future. We are proud that a diverse and talented community with rich and varied perspectives calls our campus their own.

We are partnership-oriented, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and innovative.

We cultivate a bold, innovative culture. Our interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching, research and creative work, and entrepreneurship yields solutions that proactively address complex challenges and create positive change in our world.

We learn by doing and impact the world around us near and far.

We are deeply engaged and interconnected with our local, regional, and global communities. Our emphasis on hands-on learning and real-world problem-solving creates a profound impact for our learners, our partners, and the world.

We are an agile, adaptable, and aspirational organization.

We evolve through inquiry, dialogue, and action. We meet the emergent challenges of a complex and rapidly changing world with agility, an open mindset, and eagerness to continuously improve.

We are committed to sustainability and building a better future.

As global citizens, we believe in leaving the world a better place than we found it.

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