With less than two weeks remaining until the start of a new academic year at UNC, the excitement and energy is building as we prepare to welcome students, faculty, and staff to campus. It has been a busy and productive summer for us, highlighted by the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, significant construction work completed to revamp our dining options in the University Center, and the welcomed arrival of new leaders, including Dr. Kirsten Fleming, Provost and Executive Vice President, and Dr. Beth Longenecker, Founding Dean of the proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

June 30 marked the official conclusion of Phase 1 of our strategic plan, although much of this work will continue into Phase 2, which we look forward to rolling out to our community later this month. Phase 1 was a success, with numerous accomplishments to celebrate. Among the highlights include the completion of the discovery phase of becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the completion of a brand audit to better understand the university’s strengths and opportunities, and the establishment of the Students First Framework, which provides a new structure and resources to advance strategic efforts related to improving enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. With 10 key actions and over 30 supporting tactics in our first phase, there were many initiatives that took place in the last two years in support of our mission and vision, advancing the institution forward.  

I thank everyone for their contributions and support toward the strategic plan thus far – this truly is a collective effort. Our work at UNC is done with a Students First mindset, prioritizing their success inside and outside of the classroom. And while faculty and staff are the primary contributors to advancing our strategic initiatives to keep us on track to achieve our 2030 outcomes, it is important to recognize that students, alumni, greater community members, and university partners play an integral role in our ability to realize our shared vision. We have set out a bold vision to become the institution Colorado looks to as the future of higher education – something that can only be accomplished with a university-wide, community-wide effort involving your support.  

Just as we transition into a new phase of Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, we soon transition into a new academic year, which comes with new beginnings, new opportunities, and a renewed sense of purpose. We transform lives at UNC, providing students with the knowledge, wisdom, and experience they need to succeed in their desired careers and I look forward to seeing that unfold once again this upcoming semester. With our continued partnership and collaboration – in support of our students and their success – it will be another successful year at UNC.