In the semester’s second week, I feel a bit like a new student myself – excited to launch into a new phase of life here at CU Denver and exhilarated by the array of exciting opportunities this university provides. I can say with the objectivity of a newcomer that CU Denver is clearly poised to soar.
The quality of the academic programs, the remarkably diverse and driven student body that truly does learn with purpose, the ambitious research and creative work of the faculty, and our fantastic location in the heart of the city — these significant strengths can help CU Denver become recognized as a leading urban research university and as the place in Denver for learning, scholarship and community partnerships. But to reach these higher levels of achievement and recognition, the university community must get there together.
To that end, I announced yesterday that I am launching the Reach Out and Listen Tour to meet as many of you as I can and learn as much as I can about what makes CU Denver unique. During the next 80 days, I’m seeking your innovative ideas and thoughtful input to help us identify what makes this university great, what makes you proud of CU Denver, and what we can do to make it even better. I also want to hear your thoughts on how we can build on our fundamental mission of equipping and empowering our students to succeed.
Listening to the needs, priorities and diverse viewpoints of the CU Denver community is the best way for me to discover what connects us and begin to develop a shared vision for the months and years ahead. Look for details and updates on the Reach Out and Listen Tour website and even if you are unable to attend a tour stop, I hope you will take the opportunity to share your thoughts in writing via the online questionnaire.
I am not planning to reinvent the wheel, but rather to build on the positive momentum already established here in a way that honors our past and positions us for the future. Our efforts will build on the 2008 strategic plan for the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, with the ultimate goal of charting a direction specifically for CU Denver that is both aspirational and strategic, with an action plan that leverages our distinctive strengths and propels us to the next level.
The Reach Out and Listen Tour will not preclude the ongoing, necessary work of the university. In an institution as large and complex as CU Denver, we cannot simply stop everything to think about our future. In the short term, our work will proceed, and my immediate priority—building on previous directives from the regents and the priorities established by Chancellors Wartgow and Elliman—will continue to focus on student success and expanding our impact in the greater Denver region.
I am honored to join the CU Denver community as your chancellor. You have built an amazing base, and I say with deep humility and great anticipation that I hope and plan to meet your high expectations.