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Raul's Report

Project Graduation Flywheel

Traffic around campus is slow, the Tivoli Garage is full, you have to stand in line for nearly everything and all is right with the world. Our students are back and I’m a happy man. 

Move-in Day 
I always enjoy the first week of school and the days leading up to it. This year seemed better than ever. Hats off to our new colleagues at Campus Village for a great job on Move-in Day. The smiles on the faces of both the students and their parents along with the relaxed atmosphere told me the process was nearly flawless. 

It was Chancellor Horrell’s first Move-in day and Milo and I had a great time showing her around. Milo was everywhere—in the elevators, in the rooms, in the middle of everything. And, talking with some of the families gave me a chance to brush up on my Spanish a little. 

Diverse Campus Villagers 
When we talk about how our division supports our students and the variety of services that support requires, Campus Village is a great example. As I looked around at the international students, students from urban, suburban and rural Colorado and students from across the country, I came to the conclusion that this is more than likely the most diverse residence hall anywhere in the state, maybe even in the entire country. 

Gearing up the flywheel 
The start of the new academic year marked the arrival of the Class of 2020 and we need to be better prepared than ever to guide them, and our returning students, to the graduation finish line. We talked about turning the graduation flywheel at our division kickoff event and I followed that up with an email communication so I expect everyone is up to speed on the concept. With everyone pushing in the same direction, the flywheel picks up and sustains momentum, allowing us to move toward our shared goal of 100 percent undergraduate graduation.

Shared mission 
We’re calling it Project Graduation Flywheel and you’re invited to read more about it online in a series of essays I wrote about our united mission, united university and united community. Moving the flywheel begins with our shared mission. My hope is that the forward propulsion of each department can unite under one intention—ensuring that each student that walks into your office, or attends a workshop, or even emails you, feels that the university is supporting their dreams. As soon as we begin to push our flywheel, students will be able to move their own. 

Becoming relational 
We talk a lot about “relational” interactions where we go beyond transactional relationships and show our students that we are in this with them, that we care about their successful outcome. Those relational interactions are what continue to set us apart. I consider this the perfect time for us to commit ourselves to becoming more relational in our individual relationships with our students. 

Who are your 30? 
Look at it this way. We have about 10,000 undergraduate students and, when you include our great group of student employees, we number in the neighborhood of 300 student affairs staff members. If each of us committed to get to know and support just 30 students a piece, imagine the impact we could have. If every student knew they could come to one of us, I truly believe our goal of a 100 percent graduation rate would be attainable. 

Imagine that. Relational interactions our students can believe in and lean on. 

I challenge each of us to directly impact 30 students. I know we can do it. We just need to keep at it. We’ve connected at Move-in Day and Convocation and the Block Party, at the Lynx Center, at the welcome desks in our various areas and through student organizations. The list is endless. The key now is to keep pushing that graduation flywheel as hard as we can, together, in one united motion. 

This is the year we move our division into third gear and I’m glad to have you on the team. 

Thank you for all you do.


Raul Cardenas, PhD, Vice Chancellor, CU Denver | Anschutz Division of Student Affairs



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