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Feinstein Notes Overcoming Challenges, Work Ahead During Presidential Address

Feinstein giving 2020 SOU

September 10, 2020

Delivering the annual State of the University Address on Wednesday, Sept. 9, to a virtual audience, University of Northern Colorado President Andy Feinstein reflected on his second year as president at UNC, noting it was “the most challenging” of his career due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social and budgetary issues 

Feinstein highlighted some of UNC’s accomplishments: 

  • Developed Rowing, Not Drifting 2030,” UNC’s vision for 2030 
  • Launched a strategic planning process to develop a road map to UNC’s vision 
  • Implemented a Strategic Enrollment and Student Success plan that made it easier for students to navigate through college, locate resourcesreceive support and complete degrees in a timely manner with as little debt as possible 
  • Launched Aims2UNC with Aims Community College President Leah Bornstein, Ph.D., that streamlines and simplifies the path for students to transition directly to UNC after earning an associate degree at Aims 
  • UNC’s leadership helped develop and ensure passage of a new funding formula for colleges and universities at the state legislature 
  • Co-hosted the first Greeley Day at the State Capitol on the city’s 150th anniversary 
  • Worked with other higher education leaders to persuade the state to limit the severity of budget cuts this year 
  • Reinvested $2 million dollars in UNC’s operational reserves last year despite COVID-19's significant impact 

COVID-19 Impacts 

Feinstein lauded UNC faculty for coming together last spring to move all instruction online “in record time. 

He also explained how the university community came together to bring students back to campus this fallFaculty and staff from across the university put everything they had into addressing a variety of potential impacts to students, not knowing for sure what the future might hold,” he said. “Thanks to this work, we have been able to ensure that we can be back on campus with half our courses utilizing some face-to-face component this semester. 

Earlier this year, a revenue shortfall of $24 million dollars was projected for the current fiscal year stemming from COVID impacts, a decrease in state support, declines in enrollment and lower demand for housing and dining. UNC was able to address this shortfall with general fund and cash reductions of $6 million dollars, $10 million dollars in temporary and permanent reductions and $8 million dollars in operating reserves. 

Standing Up for Inclusivity and Diversity 

Feinstein said that one of his priorities for the year ahead is reaffirming “our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion  not just in our words, but through our actions. 

Feinstein and Chief Diversity Officer Tobias Guzmán, Ed.D., are planning to create a more equitable and inclusive culture by taking various actions to confront the issue, including: 

  • Mandating implicit bias education for faculty and staff  
  • Expanding the training provided to officers in the UNC Police Department 
  • Affirming UNC’s commitment to sustain its cultural and resource centers

Feinstein ended his address by reflecting on UNC’s strength and resilience in the face of challenges:  

The need for higher education is more important now than ever before, both for individuals and our society. We will continue to prepare the next generation of nurses, teachers, scientists and social scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and musicians who serve our communities and state. And, at UNC, we will always strive to ensure that pathways to a college education and degree are available to all. 

Feinstein was joined by UNC Student Body President Teresa Castro, Classified Staff Council Chair Lindsay Snyder, outgoing Professional Administrative Staff Council Chair Bryson Kelly, incoming Professional Administrative Staff Council Chair Lisa Grimes and Faculty Senate Chair Oscar Levin. 

Watch the recording of the State of the University Address: 

(View the transcript of the video)

—Written by Katie Corder, event coordination by Christina Edwards, photo by Woody Myers, Eli Rufe (line director/director of Web Communications),video produced by Andrew Warren (technical director/producer), Joy Andrews (videographer), Justin Van Nostrand (teleprompter), Brandon Ingold (audio engineer) and Carson Shoemaker (assistant cameraman).

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