Phase 1 of Our Budget Reduction and Realignment Work Is Complete

April 4,2023

Dear faculty and staff,

It is with much gratitude that I report that Phase 1 of our strategic realignment of resources work is now complete. Since we announced this initiative in November, we have come together as a community to accomplish a very challenging but essential task: to balance our budget heading into fiscal year 2023-2024 and, in the process, put ourselves on more solid financial ground and on a path to a more strategic future. You have done that, and I thank you sincerely.

A quick recap of our situation and the process

  • External economic and financial pressures, including post-pandemic enrollment shifts, inflationary pressures, sustained lower-than-average state funding, and a desire to compensate our people as competitively and equitably as possible combined to create a structural shortfall in our budget that we are addressing through this initiative.
  • Nearly 1,000 members of our community have engaged in the process since the fall—through info sessions, office hours, reduction and realignment suggestions, and other means.
  • Our shared governance leaders have been engaged throughout this process, and their feedback and guidance have been invaluable.
  • In this first phase, deans and members of Cabinet submitted nearly 100 formal proposals, which they shared and vetted with their local communities and our leaders. The CU Denver Budget Office financially validated all of the accepted proposals, and our executive team—Provost Constancio Nakuma, EVC Jennifer Sobanet, and I—approved these final proposals after an extensive review.

Where we landed

  • We have achieved reductions equivalent to just over $6 million in this first phase. Every school and college reached their 3% targets, and central administrative units collectively reached their 4% targets.
  • By now, all local proposals should have been shared with units and schools and colleges.
  • As a reminder, the major reduction themes include reducing underutilized technology, some early retirements, not filling some currently vacant positions, or localized reorganizations.
  • The full summary of proposals can be found on our budget website in the Phase 1 tab.

Staying engaged

As we transition out of Phase 1, I want to assure you that we will maintain our commitment to community engagement and transparency. Our website remains a great resource to stay up to date on this initiative, and I encourage you to attend our April 11 information session.


Looking even further ahead, I also want to briefly touch on Phase 2 of our strategic realignment of resources work. This phase, which will run through June 2024, is a very important component of our work as we shift our focus to include both cuts as well as larger-scale, innovative, cross-cutting ideas that will set CU Denver up for greater strategic and operational success. We want to make sure we approach Phase 2 thoroughly and thoughtfully. Details on what that process will look like are still being finalized, and we will communicate those as soon as possible.

In closing

Together, we have leaned into tough times to work through our immediate challenges and arrive at a comprehensive solution for Phase 1 of this important work. Now, as we work to implement these proposals and simultaneously look ahead to Phase II, we have the advantage of more time, and we have the advantage of experience. We have learned how to best collaborate and engage the entire community around this work to ensure CU Denver’s success, all while letting our guiding principles lead us. I am confident that those lessons, and our shared commitment, will see us through.

Michelle Mark signature

Michelle Marks

Chancellor’s Office

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Suite 1400

Denver, CO 80204


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