UNC Addressing Challenges Through Innovation Initiative

Innovation at UNC logo

In response to the convergence of the "most significant and complex" external challenges ever faced by the University of Northern Colorado, the university has launched a two-year, campuswide initiative for innovative ideas to offer new programs, reach new learners, deliver programs in new formats, develop new teaching techniques, and find new ways to support success.

"President Norton has long been a champion of focusing on transformation instead of restoration, and Innovation@UNC is our way of acting on that idea," said Provost Robbyn Wacker.

The initiative is intended to tap into the creativity and expertise of the campus community to identify unique ways to address these specific issues:

  • Permanently constrained state funding (2012 state funding is at the same level as 1996)
  • Declining number of high school graduates
  • Growing competition in higher education
  • Emerging strategies to deliver programs through new technology
  • Declining number of students who can afford college
  • Increasing oversight by federal and accreditation bodies
  • Public questioning of the value of a college degree

"Innovation@UNC is about responding to the most significant and complex external challenges we have ever faced as a university," Wacker said. "In the past, we were more focused on the singular issue of state budget, but responding to a convergence of multiple challenges requires the ingenuity of our entire campus community."

Innovation@UNC will invest $1 million in the most innovative proposals submitted by faculty and staff in the following areas:

New Programs: Respond to Emerging Needs

  • Propose new graduate and undergraduate degree programs, certificates, endorsements, professional development opportunities, or other types of programs to serve traditional learners or new populations of students, which respond to current and emerging social, cultural, and economic contexts.

New Learners: Reach Beyond Boundaries

  • Propose ways to reach new populations of learners with new program structures/models and/or delivery modes.

New Pedagogies: Re-imagine Teaching and Learning

  • Propose projects that transform student learning experiences using innovative pedagogies and/or technologies.

Student Success: Educate to Graduate

  • Propose projects to enhance student persistence, retention and degree completion through effective orientation, advising, supplemental instruction, and career development.

For more information, including a timeline and the provost's memo to campus, visit http://www.unco.edu/innovation