Fellow Bears, 

We are seven months into the second phase of the University of Northern Colorado’s strategic plan, Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, and there is already much to celebrate.

I had an opportunity last Friday to provide a quarterly strategic plan update to the Board of Trustees. As I shared during that meeting, a hallmark of Phase II has been the implementation of a more robust approach to measuring progress toward our 2030 vision and outcomes.

Today, I am pleased to share with the university community the new dashboard that was presented to trustees, which provides a snapshot of progress on our strategic planning efforts. As you can see, we are already nearing the halfway point for progress on each of the five key actions.

The development of this new report was led by the Institutional Planning Group in partnership with the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. The group was charged in the fall to coordinate work across efforts tied to the strategic plan, such as the facilities comprehensive plan and the university’s ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation, and has been meeting monthly to monitor progress on implementation. Below are some of the successes we have already achieved in Phase II of Rowing, Not Drifting 2030.

We continue to put students first in all that we do. This includes bolstering the resources provided to first-generation students, which helped UNC realize our highest fall-to-fall retention rates for this group in over a decade. We also are committed to investing in programs and initiatives to help prospective students and families as they consider college options, including ¡Adelante!, a free bilingual community event to share information about the application process, and UNC’s Colorado First-Year Admission Guarantee, which provides clarity and confidence in the admissions process.

UNC's applications and admitted student numbers for fall 2023 are promising, especially among new, first-time students. Our most recent data shows significant increases in students who have applied and been admitted, and we are seeing greater than 70% of admitted students holding a high school GPA of 3.40 or higher. These are strong indicators as we look at enrollment projections moving into the spring, and we will continue to invest in efforts to enroll admitted students as future Bears for the fall.

Considerable progress has been made to develop a strategic enrollment management plan that will help the university achieve and maintain optimum recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. The steering committee charged with leading this process concluded the first phase of their efforts and is now working in subcommittees to develop multiple strategies across enrollment goals.

Effective in January, full-time faculty and staff received a $1,500 increase in their base salary, which marks the fourth pay increase in less than two years. We are also currently planning for an additional compensation adjustment to be implemented in July. As part of our commitment to providing regular performance feedback and ongoing professional development, Provost and Executive Vice President Kirsty Fleming and I have charged a task force to make recommendations regarding the comprehensive review of senior executives reporting to us. This is consistent with my work underway now with the Board of Trustees to affirm a process for an annual and periodic comprehensive assessment of my leadership.

Fostering an inclusive environment where all individuals feel welcomed and supported remains a priority. We continue our progress toward becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, which includes the appointment of two fellows and the formation of a steering committee. UNC also conducted during the fall a Campus Climate Survey that will help us better understand the needs and strengths of our university, and we anticipate having results to share later this year. Additionally, the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellows program engages faculty and staff in leading equity and inclusion work at UNC.

We also continue to respond to the evolving expectations of our students and the needs of our community and state. UNC was established in response to a need for educators in Colorado, and we are now uniquely positioned to address the demand for healthcare by expanding access to medical education. Establishing a college of osteopathic medicine remains an important initiative for UNC, and we continue to work with the many partners who are invested in making this vision a reality. To date we have solicited $95 million in funding for the project, which includes continued partnership with the Governor’s Office to identify opportunities for a significant investment from the State for this critical new initiative that will benefit the citizens of Colorado.

These are just a few highlights from the work underway to position UNC as the institution that Colorado looks to as the future of higher education. Our steady progress demonstrates that we are truly rowing together, and I look forward to sharing more updates as we reach the halfway point on Phase II in June. Thank you to every member of the UNC community for your continued hard work and dedication.

Rowing, Not Drifting, 
Feinstein Signature
Andy Feinstein