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Phase 1 Accomplishments (July 2020 - June 2022)

Phase 1 began July 1, 2020 and was completed on June 30, 2022. The following is a progress report on our accomplishments. 

  • Key Action 1: Develop and implement a plan to ensure UNC is a student-ready university at all academic levels


    1. Establish baseline data sources and needs related to the success and engagement of undergraduate and graduate students at UNC
    2. Analyze data to determine specific student engagement and academic success outcomes
    3. Share data with the university community in order to develop Students First action plans at the academic department level
    4. Develop strategies for soliciting input from undergraduate and graduate students – including but not limited to surveys, student focus groups, regular engagement with student organizations – concerning policies and practices that support a Students First university 


    • Students First: The Students First Framework formed the foundation of our commitment to transforming the lives of our students. The first two years of our strategic plan focused on making decisions and investments that contribute to our students’ success.

      We also focused on establishing the staffing levels and organizational structures needed to support student recruitment, retention, and graduation. Most significantly, we realigned Enrollment Management under Student Affairs, creating a new Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. Many of the staff in this division relocated their offices to the University Center, creating a hub for student services. 

      Knowing that future success begins with students’ earliest interactions with UNC, we created a more collaborative and streamlined orientation process and revised our welcome activities and programming to include a week full of events aimed at forming connections and creating a sense of belonging.

      Additionally, UNC implemented a new online room inventory and reservation systems for on-campus housing students. The new system is used to streamline the housing selection process and assist students with a smooth onboarding experience.

      We also invested in a new partnership with the food services and facilities management company Sodexo, which has allowed UNC to enhance on-campus dining, both elevating our offerings and creating new campus spaces for students to interact.

      The framework advanced strategic efforts related to recruitment, admissions, retention, and graduation. It included developing plans for a Transfer and Transition Center, which will open in summer 2023; supporting the success of culturally and linguistically diverse students; and providing grants to faculty members for projects to support student success. All of this work serves as the foundation for the colleges attaining their newly established retention and graduation goals. The work of the Students First Framework was shared at the first ever Retention Summit, which was held in spring 2022 and was designed to exchange ideas and share best practices for retaining students and closing equity gaps.  

    • Retention and Graduation: We created a shared sense of responsibility for addressing retention, graduation rates, and equity gaps. A group of faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students formed a Graduation and Retention Taskforce that identified barriers and recommended evidence-based best practices to meet retention and graduation rates across the university and within each college. Advising staff began using new coaching and advising models which include engaging students early and often and proactively offering support when needed to help students maintain progress. Additionally, the foundational work completed in Phase 1 led to new campus offerings, including two undergraduate programs, one focused on the transition to college and UNC and another focused on financial wellness. 

      In spring 2022, the Denver Foundation conducted a site visit at UNC as a part of its role serving as the fiscal administrator of the Reisher Scholars Program. The mission of the Reisher Scholar Program is to provide post-secondary educational opportunities for Colorado students by awarding scholarship grants for such students to attend schools in Colorado. The ultimate objective is to enable promising students from Colorado who do not have sufficient financial resources to graduate from college in a timely manner with minimal additional educational debt. 

      In response to a positive engagement, UNC received a 7% increase in funding for our traditional Reisher program and additional funding to introduce a new Transfer student cohort (Lowery CUE Scholars) of six students for 2022-2023 for a total annual program contribution of more than $280,000. 

    • Student Experience: A Student Experience Survey was fielded to gather data to inform future actions. Results from the Student Experience Survey are being triangulated with information transcribed from student townhalls acted on beginning fall 2022.

      Additional opinions, particularly student opinions are being gathered, or will be, by fielding the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE), the National Survey of Student Engagement, a climate survey, and a student suggestion box to collect student voice in real time. All items from the suggestion box will be routed directly to the relevant offices for action. The assistant vice president for student success has access to dashboards as part of BCSSE, and advisors will have access to individual results once the survey has closed in early September.  

    • Student Wellbeing: UNC sought to become a JED Campus in FY 2022 demonstrating a commitment to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of its students and the entire campus community. The JED Campus program takes a comprehensive, public health approach to promote emotional well-being and prevent suicide and serious substance abuse. 

      JED Campus is a signature program of The Jed Foundation (JED) that is designed to guide schools through a collaborative process of comprehensive systems, program, and policy development with customized support to build upon existing student mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention efforts. 

      A site visit from the Jed Foundation was conducted in Spring 2022. The site visit’s preliminary results stated that UNC “is active working on strategic initiatives aimed at implementing appropriate policies and programs to best support its students’ emotional well-being.”

      UNC enhanced service delivery to students from our Deaf community. In a partnership with LinguaBee, UNC developed a series of sessions designed to enhance the overall experience of our hearing-impaired students through understanding the Deaf Culture.  
  • Key Action 2: Complete the discovery phase of the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) 2025 plan


    1. Facilitate exploratory conversations with UNC’s diverse stakeholders to gain insight and perspective to inform the HSI 2025 plan
    2. Develop goals and create implementation and assessment strategies that integrate the HSI 2025 plan across the university’s operations
    3. Raise awareness through internal and external engagement efforts by showcasing how the HSI designation will enhance the learning outcomes and experiences for everyone at the institution. These efforts will place UNC on the path to becoming the first research university in Colorado to obtain HSI status. 


    As an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), UNC made consistent progress during the discovery phase. Steps taken included two stage assessment strategies: 1) Conducting a series of campus conversations to gain a baseline perspective about how the UNC campus community views the institution becoming an HSI and 2) launching a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and HSI readiness survey to assess UNCs readiness for implementation at various levels of the institution. Subsequent reports of the findings was produced. In addition to assessment, UNC focused on establishing relationships and connections with key Hispanic and Latinx leaders in Denver hosted by Trustee Patricia Barela Rivera, and organizations such as the Mexican Cultural Center of Denver and media outlets such as KUNC and El Comercio De Colorado. Bringing awareness of HSI to the campus community included hosting campus-wide training known as HSI 101 & 201 on Why Becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution Matters, and Becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution —  'Servingness' in Practice, and exposing Latinx art, culture, language, and history which took center stage during UNC’s Latinx Heritage Month. Furthermore, events included a performance by Afro-Indigenous poet Palaez Lopez, folkloric dancers, a 15 week exhibit by Chicano muralist Leo Tanguma and the El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Northern Colorado exhibit. The later events included community of Greeley, Denver and drew over 2000 visits from students and teachers from our local School District 6.

    In order for information to be accessible, the university took an important step in launching a website focused on HSI, affirming their intention and progress toward becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). 

    On March 23, 2022, Dr. Gina Garcia, a leading scholar on Hispanic Serving Institutions, visited UNC to meet with various constituents and assist the university's formation of a deeper understanding of what it means to serve our Hispanic and Latinx students, faculty, staff, and community. Since the visit with Dr. Garcia, several units across campus have initiated discussions on what HSI means for their particular unit including the College of Education faculty organizing a read and evaluation of the book “Becoming Hispanic Serving Institutions”.

    Our efforts in this critical area will enrich everyone's experience at UNC as we prepare to assist the next generation of students in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

  • Key Action 3: Create systems of accountability, effectiveness, and collaboration to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion across the university


    1. Facilitate exploratory conversations with UNC’s diverse stakeholders to gain insight and perspective to inform the HSI 2025 plan 
    2. Develop goals and create implementation and assessment strategies that integrate the HSI 2025 plan across the university’s operations 
    3. Raise awareness through internal and external engagement efforts by showcasing how the HSI designation will enhance the learning outcomes and experiences for everyone at the institution. These efforts will place UNC on the path to becoming the first research university in Colorado to obtain HSI status.  


    • Structure and Leadership: A central element of our vision for the future of UNC is nurturing and celebrating the diversity within our university and state. During the first phase of our strategic plan, UNC emphasized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by elevating the chief diversity officer role to a vice president, cabinet-level position with responsibility for leading the newly formed Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

      While the formation of a new division creates a structure to provide central leadership to this work, there was a dedicated focus during the first two-year phase of the strategic plan on creating systems of accountability, effectiveness, and collaboration across the university. Additionally, there was a focus on empowering people to integrate DEI into work across the institution, examples of which include creating dedicated positions such as a bilingual communications strategist to support the university’s central marketing initiatives and an assistant director of diversity and access role focused on developing strategies to support the recruitment of increasingly diverse student populations. 
    • Training and Education: With a vice president leading this critical work, UNC was able to truly prioritize DEI and make important strides to demonstrate our commitment, such as developing DEI skill-building training and education for cabinet leadership, which was planned and executed in partnership with the Latino Leadership Institute and other experts. Faculty and staff had weekly opportunities for learning and development through the Understanding & Navigating Inclusion through Education (UNITE) professional development workshops. Sessions throughout the year included awareness around students who are undocumented, the Veteran student experience, disability and accessibility, interfaith engagement, sexism and gender justice and race and racism.
    • Search and Selection: Developing standards for inclusive search and hiring practices was a priority during the first phase. Implicit bias trainings were developed by the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Human Resources. Search committees have been utilizing these trainings for several months but are now required to do so in order for searches to proceed effective April 1, 2022. Cornerstone is the platform used to house implicit bias training for search committees and is the mechanism for accountability. Cornerstone focuses on personalized learning and multi-modality type training. Search committees will need to complete this step of training before the search can continue. To support a wider diversification of faculty and staff UNC increased the job posting locations that include 600 diversity sites and 15,000 community organizations. Department also are provided a $500 advertising budget to use for paid job placement sites or specialty sites.  Additional resource materials were shared with all UNC leadership on topics such as writing more inclusive job descriptions, marketing to diverse audiences, LGBTQ+ voices, complexity in gender-based judgment, disability employment, and hiring discrimination against Black Americans.
    • Policies, Practices, and Programs: University policies, practices, and programmatic initiatives influence the climate and culture of the campus; therefore, these components were the primary focus areas. For example, there was a focus on initiatives that support gender equity such as the Lactation Support Policy adopted by the Faculty Senate, Name in use Policy and UNC assisted the State of Colorado in the creation of the Colorado Application State Financial Aid (CASFA) for DACA undocumented and ASSET and international students in lieu of the FAFSA.

      Practices such as providing wording for inclusive syllabus statements, developing a racial equity toolkit, assessing and converting restrooms to all-gender spaces, and increasing access to menstrual products, and decreasing barriers through Project ME. 

      Programs and initiatives provide interventions and support that enhance the culture and climate of the campus. Examples of accomplishments are: UNC successfully obtained a Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) grant, which provided $3.4 million in scholarships and wrap-around support services to over 400 UNC students. This award aims to bridge the gap between Coloradoans who have a college degree and those who do not. Graduation is expected by all students by the end of 2024. Also added to the programmatic initiatives of the campus were affinity groups such as the faculty and staff of Color Community Network, participation in the Veteran Affairs Vital Program, and special events such as Indigenous People’s Speaker Series, Juneteenth Celebration and UndocuMonologues featuring autobiographical readings from undocumented leaders.  
  • Key Action 4: Establish an infrastructure and set a foundation for a supportive culture of career-long professional development for faculty and staff


    1. Develop a catalog of professional development opportunities for classified and exempt staff that will be maintained by the Office of Human Resources
    2. Work with established faculty and staff governance groups to develop strategies that support staff and faculty in their careers
    3. Establish a faculty advisory board to create a clearinghouse of all professional development currently offered on topics of instructional best practices, equitable teaching practices, engaged learning best practices, and online instruction best practices


    • Professional Development: A focus during the first phase was on ensuring that employees have access to required annual training, as well as to the extensive LinkedIn Learning catalog of courses with over 2,000 offerings.

      Representatives from leadership and governance groups serve on the Human Resources Office's Professional Development & Training Advisory Council (PTAC). A quarterly schedule to meet and identify career readiness priorities was also created.
    • Teaching and Learning: Both the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the Instructional Design and Development (IDD) unit were in restructuring/revitalization phases during 2020-2022 as they joined together with units in forming the new division of Academic Effectiveness. Much of this period was spent on developing strategic priorities, advisory groups, and creating a robust infrastructure.

      In addition, both CETL and IDD experienced higher than normal demands to provide support for remote teaching and ongoing support as the country responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. An assessment plan for evaluating the long-term impact of CETL programming will be launched in 2022-23, a Spencer Foundation grant has been submitted to support this assessment research. IDD is in the final stages of developing its assessment plan, which should also launch later this year. In addition, Academic Effectiveness worked with the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness to include items related to student experiences with online learning and expect this data to be useful in both identifying additional areas of support needed by faculty and as an indirect measure of impact in the years to come. 

      Work by the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning included the following:
      • CETL established a faculty advisory board and developed and implemented a 3-year strategic plan for revitalization.
      • Conducted needs assessment in 21-22 on pedagogical needs and satisfaction with CETL.
      • Developed assessment plan for evaluating long-term impact of participation in CETL programming.
      • Increased the number of faculty learning communities, with topics such as How Learning Works, Open Educational Resources, Writing Pedagogy, and Teaching for Inclusion and Equity (in partnership with STEM-IEC).
      • Restructured New Faculty Orientation to include in-person and on-demand opportunities (Canvas course) and developed extended orientation for ongoing professional development and onboarding.
      • Launched, in partnership with the Graduate School, the Certificate in College Teaching for graduate students interested in becoming future faculty.
      • Developed online resource library on topics related to teaching, learning, and assessment.
      • Transformed the annual Assessment Fair into a 2-day Teaching & Assessment Symposium.

        Work in Instructional Design and Development included the following:
      • Established a faculty advisory committee and developed a three-year strategic plan.
      • Redesigned and developed new resources for faculty on using online teaching technologies, including the Student Start Here, Faculty Training Modules, and a self-paced Online Course Technology class.
      • Made the UNC Online Classroom template available to all UNC instructors. A new podcast, The Online Classroom, was created in spring/summer 2022, and launched in fall 2022 as a strategy for encouraging adoption.
      • Launched UNCO_LE@RN, a digital repository of learning resources in Canvas, and partnered with the Graduate School to produce a Thesis/Dissertation resource in the repository.
      • Partnered with the OER Committee on a fully funded CDHE OER grant that will launch in fall 2022. IDD will provide technical support on integrating OER into online courses and also provide matching funds for small faculty development grants to design OER resources to be housed in UNC_LE@RN.
      • Rolled out ID on Demand, an online library of text and media resources on online teaching and technology.
      • Delivered webinar and live presentations on online teaching to multiple audiences such as Adjunct Teacher Orientation (PVA), New Faculty Orientation, Graduate Council, School of Nursing accreditation visit, and Graduate Student Orientation. 
  • Key Action 5: Enhance and refine career readiness in the curriculum for all disciplines


    1. Highlight how a liberal arts curriculum helps students develop leadership and career skills that employers have identified as the keys to success. The university will communicate these attributes to students during the recruitment process and throughout their academic journey at the university.
    2. Map existing career-readiness initiatives and explore processes and best practices to ensure students can demonstrate their curricular and co-curricular learning outcomes.
    3. Engage in conversations about career readiness and curriculum across all academic units.
    4. Identify employment and career trends by engaging with alumni and business representatives through a newly formed Academic Affairs Advisory Board.


    • Career Readiness: A shared campus definition of career readiness and a shared list of expected competencies to establish across campus was completed. Career Readiness Is a process that supports students as they develop a better understanding of themselves, discover careers, and participate in career-specific learning. At UNC career readiness is infused throughout the university experience in order for students to recognize and develop their career relevant competencies to leverage them in an ever-changing world of work. UNC Career Relevant Competencies, based on National Association of Colleges & Employers standards, include Critical Thinking/Problem Solving; Oral/Written Communication; Teamwork/Collaboration; Digital Literacy; Leadership; Work Ethic; Career Management; and Identity and Cultural Fluency.

      UNC coordinates campus-wide efforts to promote career readiness for students and alumni through a variety of innovative strategies using staff, peers, platforms, assessments, and strategic partnerships across campus to reach our goals. Career Development is one of the eight Career Readiness Competences identified by National Association of Career Education (NACE) as being essential to a successful career launch. By designing a yearly career education plan for students, the Center for Career Readiness is actively addressing the Students First vision and providing access for all students to acquire career development competencies. 

      As part of our efforts, UNC developed a four-year career readiness plan to provide all students an opportunity to build the career development competencies needed in the world of work. The Career Readiness Plan was established in two phases. The first phase focused on creating content and an implementation plan aligned with UNC’s institutional learning outcomes, Center for Career Readiness learning outcomes and NACE/UNC Career Readiness Competencies. The second phase, occurring Spring 2022 – Summer 2023, will focus on gathering feedback and implementation support from the Campus Career Competencies Committee to establish an initial pilot with a cohort of students at all school year levels to assess and gain feedback before officially launching the program.

      This initiative supports our student population by intentionally providing students with the essential skills to be career ready when they graduate. This will be especially important for first generation college students who may have not had the opportunity to observe and connect the impact that higher education has on career readiness competency development.

      The 4E Model of Career Preparation and Readiness (Exploration, Exploration, Engagement, and Evolution) entitled “Career Ready Bears Program” is a four-year career development scaffolded series with the purpose of supporting students in their development of the career development competency. The goals are: 
      1. Providing career development competency education and skills training opportunities for all students to engage with throughout their UNC experience
      2. Finding ways to integrate career development into Student Affairs and Academic Affairs experiences with a career ecosystem approach
      3. Identifying potential areas for collaboration, partnership, and integration within the campus community and employers/alumni/community stakeholders

        In the fall 2020 through the Center for Career Readiness, UNC introduced Handshake, an app developed to link students with campus jobs, as well as jobs within the UNC community. The app helps align students resume, skills, and needs for work with employers searching in the area. Giving students a straightforward way to connect with employers, and a head start on their career.

        Colleges were asked to review and update their program offerings to include internship and other career readiness activities. This is ongoing. The Graduate School is part of a consortium of Colorado graduate schools (GradCO) that has come together to offer shared professional development opportunities to all graduate students at participating institutions. We are entering into the third year of the consortium. Opportunities are organized into themes to allow students to readily identify opportunities relevant to them.

        Outcomes to date:
        English BA Concentration in Writing, Editing and Publishing approved for AY2022-23 catalogue year. Designed to provide students with specific technical writing skills relevant to a wide range of careers.
        • Health Sciences B. S. (with concentrations in health Care Administration and Public Health), designed to serve students interested in health care careers outside of traditional doctor/dentist/nurse tracks.
        • HSS applied for and received a Graduation and Retention Task Force (GART) grant for $5000 to Embed Career Readiness Competencies and Alumni Relations Data into HSS Courses to Improve Student Retention and Career Readiness. This effort launched with the start of the Fall 2022 term and will continue through the summer of 2023.
        • All HSS program websites are being updated with more current career information (project began in Spring 2022 and will be completed by September 2023)
        • Three HSS Departments implemented a sophomore level course linking skills in the discipline to career opportunities (Anthropology, Geography/GIS, and Sociology). 
        • In EBS, the Psychology program developed an undergraduate course to highlight and begin development of skills students use during field experiences required at the end of their program. They also identified a sequence of courses leading to a CAT/CAS (substance use treatment) certificate. These will be implemented in the AY23 curriculum process. 
        • MCB modified their existing Career Development Series to include a first-year student workshop on "Career Values and Explorations" and a sophomore workshop allowing students to practice career conversations with potential employers. 
        • All MCB majors are required to complete a "Professional Experience" internship; In a survey covering Fall 2019-2021, 400 of 513 companies reported they were "very satisfied" with the performance of MCB students who complete professional experiences.
        • PVA is revamping their internship process and has created a Center for Arts Entrepreneurship. The Center will officially launch on Oct 17,2022.
        • University Libraries established a job shadow program for student employees which will be implemented in AY2022-23.
        • NHS established a yearly "STEM & Health at UNC event which highlights possible careers that could result from each major. 115 attendees participated in the first event in AY22).
        • NHS has invited alumni and friends of NHS to give talks about their own career paths. A few have participated so far.

    • Curriculum and Program Review:UNC provides distinctive educational experiences in more than 100 academic programs of study. Our programs prepare students for careers that change their lives and the lives of the people in their communities. We are recognized as a leader in upward social mobility and a destination where students of all backgrounds come to receive a high-quality, personalized educational experience and pursue successful careers that change their lives, their families’ lives, and their communities. In order to uphold this promise to our students, our faculty and academic leaders regularly review our academic offerings to ensure that they align with the needs of today’s students and employers.

      During phase one of Rowing, Not Drifting, UNC added and adapted a variety of majors to ensure that our students are ready to address workforce, environmental, and societal opportunities and challenges upon graduation. In addition to changing existing programs and adding additional ones within our academic colleges, UNC also took a bold step to innovate and meet regional community needs by completing the initial steps necessary to open a college of osteopathic medicine. Recognizing that the state of Colorado and the nation are facing a critical shortage of physicians, UNC responded to those needs by charting a course to open this new college and see our first class of doctors graduate by the conclusion of 2030.

      UNC adopted a new Liberal Arts Curriculum structure effective in AY22. As a result, attention was focused on updating campus wide understanding of the new structure while also highlighting the role of LAC courses in undergraduate degree programs.
      • All undergraduate degree programs were updated to the new catalogue structure effective AY 2022-23 catalogue year.
      • Syllabus Templates containing content and competency guidelines are available for all faculty on the LAC Curriculum Approval Process page: https://www. unco. edu/liberal-arts-council/curriculum-approval-process. aspx.
        Results of the first round of assessment identified 16 syllabi in need of updates. Updates will be completed by Spring 2023.
        Online info to support learning about the new LAC was developed and made available. Direct links to videos (scroll down pages for titles), all published in AY 22. 
      • 20 HSS faculty members will receive professional development and support to create two career course-embedded assignments focused on career readiness that they will implement in Spring 2023 with lower division LAC courses targeted. An assessment of the outcomes will be measured, and results will be shared with UNC’s Career Readiness Advisory Committee to scale these efforts to other colleges if there is a positive impact.

        In order to clarify the curriculum process and the program review process, and to align these processes and also to ensure that programs know the basis on which they are being evaluated, a Program Review Working Group was convened in Spring 2022 to develop metrics for evaluating academic programs. A Curriculum Process and Policy Working Group was convened in Summer 2022 to address the need to provide a single source of curriculum resources. The Curriculum working group linked the evaluation of new programs to the Program Review working groups recommendations. The Curriculum Handbook and program review recommendations are currently being reviewed by faculty and administration in Academic Affairs.

  • Key Action 6: Develop a new university-wide data infrastructure focused on improving strategy, organizational effectiveness, and student success


    1. Establish university data governance and usage standards
    2. Create dashboards for academic monitoring of trends in majors, student credit hours, retention, four-year graduation rates, and six-year graduation rates with the ability to disaggregate
    3. Integrate data training into chair and director workshops, and identify additional university-wide opportunities to better understand how to leverage data analytics in decision-making


    A Data Governance framework was established in February of 2021, at which time the charter was approved. Most of the early work for the Data Governance Strategy Committee was around establishing the procedural framework for the group and codifying existing guidelines related to data governance. Recently, activity has shifted more to subcommittees, each established to address a specific data governance initiative as prioritized by the Data Governance Strategy Committee. Subcommittees have been meeting to make recommendations/propose guidelines related to data integrity initiatives, auditing/maintaining the reporting catalog, publishing dashboards, conducting surveys, and sending communications to students. Planned future subcommittees include groups that will explore the creation of a data dictionary, future planning for the data warehouse, data literacy, role-based security, and data destruction protocols. 

    A one-stop-data-shop was announced to the institution in the Spring of 2022. The new dashboards and data analytics tools include enrolment data, course fill rates, graduation and retention rates, faculty workload data, and equity dashboards that inform course offerings, recruitment efforts and retention efforts particularly pertaining to closing equity gaps. They also include dashboards that address cost issues and that are used in the budget allocation process. Under development and review are dashboards which will be used by chairs/directors and deans to determine the health of each academic program to guide decisions about the needs of each program.

    The availability of these data was supported by a new position dedicated to meeting the data and analytical needs of Academic Affairs. By investing in the right tools and staff, UNC has improved our data infrastructure in ways that are being used to help us make better decisions in service to student success.

  • Key Action 7: Establish a robust infrastructure to support Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works (RSCW) that engages students and provides opportunities for faculty to contribute to the creation of new knowledge


    1. Establish support systems for RSCW at the university and college level such as new and existing internal grants
    2. Establish workload practices across all colleges that are equitable while also allowing for differentiated workloads
    3. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will establish faculty grant writing workshops focused on multiple funding sources for different disciplines
    4. Exceed $5 million in annual research expenditures in support of achieving Carnegie R2 Classification, and establish research goals and grant activity for each academic unit


    The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects and Graduate School have been significantly strengthened in the last 18 months. 

    All internal awards are being updated to include the expectation of submission of applications for external funding as a condition of the award. The Provost Seed Grant (PSG) built on and expanded existing programs to provide additional funds to allow for more and larger awards to faculty members to develop pilot data for external awards. Pilot funding to support animal research was implemented in Spring 2022. Incentive funds have also been offered to, for example, support the funding of graduate students on research grants, and to provide a portion of salary savings due to grant-funded course buyouts back to the units to support RSCW. 

    In addition to providing more funding to support pilot projects and incentives there have been efforts to aid faculty members in writing and submitting grant proposals. In the Spring 2022 term, ORSP initiated the PI Academy to support a cohort of faculty to build grant-writing skills and an understanding of external funding mechanisms to support successful submission of external applications to a variety of funding agencies. 

    To support research at the college level and to serve as an advisory group to ORSP, Research Liaisons were identified in each academic unit and the libraries. This group represents RSCW active faculty from each unit and serves to support faculty in the individual colleges to incentivize RSCW, to identify resource needs, and to support grant development. Working with individual colleges, NHS has developed internal programs to support RSCW and grant activity of faculty with the unit. This type of work will expand to other colleges during the next phase of implementation. 

    The full impact of these initiatives is yet to be realized; however, we are beginning to see the impact with increased grant submission from 73 in FY20 to more than 84 in FY22. Successful applications increased from 25 in FY20 33 in FY22 with the total amount awarded increasing from $2. 3M to $8. 2M in this period.

    In AY 21 workload policies were reviewed with Deans and Academic Unit Leaders to emphasize that differentiated workload is embedded in existing policy so long as expected student credit hour production is maintained by the unit. Guidance was developed by provost's office regarding how to equate individualized instruction to formal teaching. 

    In AY 22 a Faculty Load and Compensation Model (FLAC) was implemented by HR, with AA input to ensure module is consistent with UNC workload policies and facilitates accurate data reporting of workload allocations across all faculty. 

    In AY21 a new compensation model was adopted for all unit leaders (chairs, directors and free-standing program directors) regardless of exempt vs. faculty contract status. Individual colleges adopted procedures for allocating academic year workload and additional summer months across academic units of different sizes. All unit leaders are now compensated with same formula of additional summer months paid at base salary rate for position in that unit, plus a $100 stipend for each full-time faculty member assigned to that unit across all months worked. Hence, differences in pay are a function of market forces that determine faculty salaries by discipline, complexity of unit operations, and size of unit. As of 7/1/2022, updates to board policy ensure all unit leaders know whether they are in an exempt administrative role (school directors) or faculty contract (chairs of departments and free-standing programs). 

    Practices were implemented to ensure overload/adjunct monies allocated to units based on common metrics. In AY 21, the metric was course production (3 courses for tenure line and 4 courses for contract renewable faculty/term) unless funded buyouts for additional reassigned time. In AY22, the metric moved to expected credit hour production (this was made possible by improved dashboards), giving units significantly more flexibility. 

    FLAC integrity reports now identify any cases where faculty members are over or under the 15-workload unit requirement per semester. FLAC planning reports provide chairs and deans with just-in-time data on instructional workloads prior to the start of the semester so they can adjust as needed. 

  • Key Action 8: Develop and deploy a consistent and constructive process of evaluating and rewarding employee performance while also fostering varied opporutnities for feedback and growth outside of the traditional supervisor-employee dynamic


    1. Establish a compensation plan for staff and faculty
    2. Adopt and implement new employee performance and evaluation processes


    Knowing that the success of our students relies on the health and strength of our faculty and staff, we focused on investments to support their success as professionals, educators, and in life. During the first phase of the strategic plan, we made significant investments in our dedicated employees. This included directing resources to fund compensation increases, extending paid holiday leave, implementing a modified summer work week, and providing paid time off for faculty and staff to participate in volunteer activities. 
    As well, UNC is committed to creating a positive culture and supporting our talented employees by providing ongoing access to professional development opportunities. To achieve this, we enhanced our catalog of trainings available to support faculty and staff in their careers and convened representatives from leadership and governance groups to inform the identification of career readiness priorities. 
    To foster an environment where our employees’ well-being and sense of belonging are supported, UNC also prioritized efforts to create an environment of employee support and recognition. Through Build a Bear Up, UNC established a way for faculty and staff to recognize the contributions of their colleagues by sharing a personalized greeting. These investments to support faculty and staff provide a foundation for fostering an environment where their individual well-being and sense of belonging are vital to our collective success. 

  • Key Action 9: Develop and begin implementation of a data-driven strategic marketing and communications plan that showcases the university's important role on a local, regional, state, and national basis


    1. Conduct an analysis of past marketing efforts in order to prepare for quantitative and qualitative research with stakeholders that identify or reinforce competitive positioning.
    2. Evaluate and develop key messaging based on research findings.
    3. Develop and implement a public relations strategy in order to showcase the expertise of UNC faculty and highlight students, staff, alumni, and community partnerships. 


    Knowing the value of strong community connections, UNC focused during the first phase of our strategic plan on actions that help set the standard for how engaged universities enrich the lives of those on campus, throughout Colorado, and beyond. 

    We completed a comprehensive brand audit in the spring of 2022 that gave us a better understanding of how UNC is viewed among internal and external stakeholders and audiences. The brand audit proved to be a strong opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to be engaged in the work of University Advancement. All of these constituents had an opportunity to weigh in through a survey, focus group, or both. Nearly 1,000 people participated in these efforts.

    This helped us clearly articulate our strengths and value and highlight our unique offerings to strengthen our brand across Colorado. This work has already informed our marketing and communications efforts and will help to raise the visibility of UNC across the region and the nation; attract and retain exceptional students, faculty, and staff; and deepen relationships with our alumni and friends. For example, vivid descriptors, brand values, and a positioning statement have all been created and are informing current and ongoing marketing strategy, such as the North of the Norm campaign. Additionally, a new public relations strategy has been developed and implemented to increase a brand journalism approach that proactively pitches media stories that support key messages. Part of this strategy is the creation of a bilingual PR specialist position. This position will support the strategy and pitch news stories to Spanish-language media outlets. 

  • Key Action 10: Implement UNC's Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 Campaign, including the creation of philanthropic investment opportunities, community engagement and fundraising goals, feasibility study, and timeline for all campaign phases


    1. Work with students, faculty, and staff from throughout the university to identify and prioritize investment opportunities in support of Rowing, Not Drifting 2030
    2. Set fundraising and engagement goals for the campaign based on needs and priorities articulated by campus leaders + c) Finalize a timeline for all phases of the campaign from planning through conclusion + d) Launch feasibility study with UNC donors and alumni to test and finalize campus needs and campaign priorities
    3. Partner with faculty, staff, and students from across campus to engage them in the planning and execution of the comprehensive campaign in meaningful and helpful ways


    UNC completed the planning work for a major fundraising campaign, which will help us realize our vision for the future. We began by engaging an external consultant to guide these preparatory efforts, including completing a readiness assessment and developing a compelling case for philanthropic support. 
    University Advancement completed meetings with Academic Affairs leadership both individually and as a group to discuss priority setting and begin initial brainstorming in early fall 2021. We received draft priorities from Interim Provost Vollendorf in fall 2021 and also completed meetings with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Division of Student Affairs. In May and June, Grenzebach, Glier and Associates (GG+A) – our campaign consultant – hosted workshops and meetings with cabinet members, deans, and academic leaders to further refine opportunities and priorities. Additional campus collaboration has occurred in the development of gift opportunities for the campaign and as gifts are solicited and stewarded many more opportunities to involve the campus in this work will occur. A complete case for support was completed in June 2022 with support from GG+A. 

    The conclusion in June 2022 of the first phase of our strategic plan coincided with realizing our best fundraising year in history, with gifts surpassing $20 million to advance university priorities. Thanks to the ongoing generous support and engagement of alumni, friends, faculty, and staff, UNC is well positioned to continue to create philanthropic investment opportunities and realize community engagement and fundraising goals in the future.