Dear Members of the CU Denver Strategic Planning Steering Committee,
There is so much to love about CU Denver: our students, our faculty and staff, our deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, our scrappy and innovative culture, our willingness to take on hard work, and the city we call home. CU Denver is the kind of institution that can genuinely say it is changing lives for the better.
Over my 100 Days of Listening sessions, I heard from more than 1,000 of our people about the pride and momentum at this university, and the strong desire to build on our progress to go to the next level. We are at this moment in an opportune position to do just that. We have a location that is second to none and opens the door to tremendous partnerships across our city. Our research is making an impact and we have an enormous and untapped opportunity through our relationship with CU Anschutz. We have a culture that continually innovates and embodies entrepreneurship. We have faculty and staff whose passion for our students and our mission runs deep. We have a student body that resembles the emerging demographics of our state and nation and exhibits a tremendous amount of grit, dedication, and talent. And we have amazing academic programs plus a culture that is already finding new and exciting ways to generate and share knowledge.
Not every university can boast this combination of advantages. At their intersection, we are poised to be something special. But it’s up to us to determine how we capitalize upon these factors to carve out our unique position in the world.
Our strategic planning process kicked off this week with Phase 1: Our Vision for 2030. This phase consists of campus dialogues and idea gathering to craft a draft vision and refine our values. It is being facilitated by Professor Kris Wood of the College of Engineering, Design and Computing and a team from the Comcast Media and Technology Center/Inworks. We will use these conversations and input to identify the most important attributes of our identity and ambitions. This work will inform phase 2 of the process, in which you will be most heavily involved.
Today I am charging you, our strategic planning steering committee, with providing leadership for the next part of our process, Phase 2: Strengthen and Differentiate CU Denver. The charge includes bringing our community together to think big, dream, and strategize in order to capitalize on our greatest strengths and determine how we can differentiate CU Denver across eight focus areas.
I ask this steering committee, chaired by Dean Marty Dunn and comprising 16 vision team co-chairs and 4 constituency representatives, to ensure broad involvement across the university, provide timely feedback on work products during the process, and generate innovative ideas that result in a bold, exciting, and differentiating strategic plan for CU Denver. Our strategic plan will tell the world where we’re going—and in doing so, it should excite the next generation of Lynx students, faculty, staff, donors, partners, and others to want to be a part of what CU Denver is doing.
For those members of this committee who are also serving as co-chairs of vision teams, I charge you with leading groups that are inclusive and dig deep into our institution so that we bring out the very best ideas our community has to offer.
Your groups will each produce a report of 5–6 pages (not including appendices) that answers for your focus area: What are our greatest strengths? What does CU Denver look like in 2030—our vision? What ambitious goals should we set for 2030, and what are our strategies to get there? Your final reports should be delivered April 12, 2021; to help you in this process I will provide project management, the support of a creative agency, and facilitation support through a set of innovative design thinking methods and a facilitation team. Your vision team final reports will be shared with our campus. All eight vision team reports will be synthesized in the final phase of our strategic planning process to deliver a single 2030 CU Denver strategic plan that will guide CU Denver into the next decade.
For those members representing our constituency groups, I charge you with bringing your experience and wisdom to this committee as you think critically and creatively about the individuals you represent, how we ensure they are deeply engaged throughout the process, and how we build a university that serves them fully in 2030.
We have the chance to engage our entire community to develop a vision for CU Denver that builds upon the hard work of those before us and that inspires this institution to tackle to the grand challenges ahead of it. This is what our students, our city, our state, our country, and our world need.
Your work will have an impact. I am confident in you and promise my full support at every step of the way. Thank you so much for taking on this transformational initiative.
Michelle Marks, PhD