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Fellow Bears

Colorado landscape with view of mounatins and yellow aspen trees in fall.

November 20, 2023

As fall semester draws to a close, summer seems like a distant memory. My summer took me on a meaningful journey. After 25 years in higher education, I had the opportunity to take my first-ever sabbatical. I spent two months away from campus hiking, reflecting, and spending time with my family, and I learned unexpected lessons on my trek across the 14ers of Colorado — the state’s 58 mountains over 14,000 feet — that are applicable to life back on campus.

Over the past three years, we have been on the path of implementing our strategic plan, Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, which is designed to help the University of Northern Colorado realize our vision for the future. As we continue on this journey of implementing our plan and assessing our progress, I find myself drawing on the same skills I use in hiking. Just
as packing the right gear is essential before climbing, planning requires putting the right structures, processes, and people in place to support our success. Yet adaptability is also key. Some days, conditions are perfect, and everything goes as planned. More often than not, we face the unexpected and need to pivot.

In hiking as in planning, we must maintain perspective. Like an impressive mountain peak, seeing the path to realize our vision for the future of UNC is both exhilarating and daunting. As we near the conclusion of the second two-year phase and prepare to enter the third, it is important to pause at this “mile marker” to remind ourselves both of how far we have come and the work necessary to continue our journey. While the actions and tactics comprising each segment of our plan help guide us, it is also important to take the opportunity to refocus on the vision and objectives we are pursuing for the future.
Five vision elements serve as the building blocks for what UNC will be in 2030:

  • Students First
  • Empower Inclusivity
  • Enhance and Invest
  • Innovate and Create
  • Connect and Celebrate

A favorite quote of mine is by Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to summit Mount Everest, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Life is as much about the journey as it is the destination. I invite you to read through this issue of UNC Magazine and discover some of the amazing journeys our students, faculty, and alumni have taken.

Go Bears!

Andy Feinstein
Andy Feinstein

The Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 Strategic Plan