One Size Fits One’ Personalization: Unveiling CU Denver’s Digital Strategy for a Hybrid Campus Model

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Dear colleagues,

Last fall, at the direction of Chancellor Michelle Marks, we formed a Digital Strategy Task Force of 18 community members from across campus, representing faculty, staff, students, and every school and college, to create a vision for our campus-level digital strategy. Guided by our 2030 strategic plan and our deep expertise in this space, this digital vision positions CU Denver to be a “university for life” for learners of all backgrounds, careers, and ages—and to be a digital leader in Colorado and beyond.

Over the past five months, Task Force members engaged with the campus community, internal and external data sources, and relevant scholarly and market research to develop a set of recommendations for next steps that address areas of both opportunity and priority. We have also collaborated with related groups and initiatives—including our Computing Across the Curriculum Task Force and our Strategic Enrollment Management team—to ensure effective alignment and integration.

We are pleased to announce that we have completed our report and presented our findings to Chancellor Marks on March 29. Now, we want to share it with you.

One Size Fits One: An Equity-Serving Institution

Our student body is enormously diverse. Half of our undergraduates are students of color and half are first-generation. Half of our undergraduate students transfer into CU Denver from other institutions. One-third of our learner population is graduate students. Many of our learners work while pursuing their education. In examining the needs of our unique learner population, we developed our vision to encompass some core commitments: flexibility, hybridity, and inclusivity. To achieve these commitments, we must focus on affordability, innovation, and relevance. As a north star for our work, we have developed four key themes and recommendations:

1. Shore up the foundations that allow for digital education innovation and flexibility.

2. Develop a hybrid campus model to ensure a more consistent student experience that prioritizes equitable, personalized support.

3. Coordinate the efforts of credit and noncredit offerings toward a scalable, portfolio-level approach that serves students for life.

4. Create more efficient and effective models for designing and launching leading-edge stackable degrees, credentials, and certificates.

Top on our list of immediate priorities, we will be completing a classroom audit that informs a roadmap for technology upgrades and infrastructure to support flexible modalities, and increasing faculty training and instructional design support.

What We’ve Learned and Where We Want to Go

As higher education continues to evolve, our campus conversation about the future of our digital strategy could not come at a better time. We have learned many valuable lessons about online learning during the past two years of the pandemic, and we continue to gather information about how best to serve our learners with flexibility and hybridity in mind. Together, we are ready to build on a strong foundation of experience and knowledge in digital teaching and learning to create the vision for how best to support our current and future learners and how to empower our faculty and staff in our digital evolution.

We’d like to thank the Task Force members for their time and dedication.

Tobin Bliss | Associate Vice Chancellor | Fiscal Planning

Gabriel Canstaño | Associate Vice Chancellor | Strategic Enrollment and Student Success

Leo Darnell | Assistant Dean | College of Architecture and Planning

Dennis DeBay, PhD | Clinical Assistant Professor | School of Education & Human Development

Paula Dickson | Executive Director | Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness

Joni Dunlap, PhD | Professor | School of Education and Human Development

Lucy Dwight, PhD | Associate Professor, Clinical Teaching Track | School of Public Affairs

Josue Estrada | Undergraduate Student | Psychology

Crystal Gasell, EdD | IT Program Manager | Office of Information Technology

Mark Golkowski, PhD | Associate Dean and Professor | College of Engineering, Design and Computing

Brad Hinson | Assistant Dean and Senior Instructor | School of Education and Human Development

Carrie John | Associate Vice Chancellor | Strategic Enrollment and Student Success

Karen Klimczak | Assistant Vice Chancellor | University Communications

Jeff Merkel | Instructor | College of Arts and Media

Ronald Ramirez, PhD | Associate Dean | Business School

John Tinnell, PhD | Associate Professor | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Emilie Waggoner | First Year Experience Associate Director | Strategic Enrollment and Student Success

Go Lynx!

Constancio K. Nakuma, PhD Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs

Katie Linder Associate Vice Chancellor for Digital Strategy and Learning