Looking ahead

Sept. 12, 2016

To: The DU Community (all students, faculty and staff)

From: Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor

Dear Friends,

As we begin the fall quarter, I want to welcome new students, staff and faculty members to our dynamic community. I hope you will find DU to be a welcoming and engaged community.

Starting my third year as chancellor, I delight in the commitment and talents of our amazing faculty, staff and students. And I am inspired every day by the dedication of so many to making this world a better place. DU is a community where the genius is in the doing. Faculty members pursue research, scholarship and creative work that drives society forward—often solving complex problems in our region and world. Some of this work improves the lives of people right now, while other work provides basic research that will be used in the future.

We are a student-centered research university, thanks to the daily efforts of faculty and staff. Our dedication to teaching and mentoring students is renowned. Across our many schools, DU students are committed to ethical, holistic leadership that changes the world—which is why so many of you participate in service opportunities in and out of the classroom. And across the University, much of our work is increasingly aligned with our mission as a private university dedicated to the public good.

One DU

One of the most fundamental aspects to emerge from our DU IMPACT 2025 strategic planning efforts was the desire—the need—for our community to come together as “One DU.” We heard from staff who felt their work, which is so critical to the University, wasn’t always valued. We heard from faculty who wanted it to be easier to coordinate with colleagues on interdisciplinary research or courses, or even just to know what others were working on. We heard from students who wanted more opportunities to develop a sense of true belonging to DU, not only while they are here on campus but throughout their lives. And we heard from all corners of the University a desire to become more of a community of purpose and values—where people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives live and work together.

A major priority this year will be embodying the spirit of One DU. We want to bring people together around events—to get acquainted, to have fun and to celebrate together. But a community must also support each other in challenging times. In an email to the community this summer, I suggested that we become more intentional about how we respond as a community to domestic and international tragedies. My ideal is that we can not only support one another, but also begin to find solutions to underlying issues, on campus and beyond. The International Day of Peace, September 21, will serve as a kick-off for a wide variety of programs and workshops that will be offered this year to help our community reflect on our commitment to diversity, inclusion and the public good. We will soon share with you a webpage with details on various events and the ability to submit additional events or suggestions.

Across the nation, we continue to see the polarizing effects of racism and other forms of bias and prejudice. DU is not immune to these ugly fractures in our society. We know that American democracy suffers when we are a nation divided—when hate supersedes our ability to talk across differences. Universities have both the opportunity and the obligation to serve as models for engaged public discourse. At DU, we can model how people of different backgrounds, experiences and opinions can come together and create something great. Such a process can be chaotic and even uncomfortable, as learning often is, but it is at the heart of the academy. This approach can be the essence of One DU.

DU IMPACT 2025

The coming year will be an important one for all of us. As we accomplish the important work of scholarship, learning and service, we will begin to see the realization of DU IMPACT 2025—the strategic vision that we developed with input from thousands of you. Implementing a 10-year plan is an iterative process—and it will continue to be a consultative process that engages many of you across campus and beyond.

Guiding implementation will be the full plan that was approved in January by the Board of Trustees. We have also created a website designed to help our many partners understand our vision for creating DU’s future.

We will share periodic campus-wide updates on our progress, and there will be ample opportunities in the fall and beyond for all of you to be a part of realizing this vision. Provost Gregg Kvistad and Ed Rowe, director for projects and planning, are leading our efforts at implementation. Please send your ideas and thoughts on implementation to ed.rowe@du.edu. Periodic updates will be provided to the Faculty Senate, the Staff Advisory Council, and the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Governments, so feel free to contact your representatives on those groups as well. There will be many opportunities for you to become involved, and I encourage you to do so.

One of my goals for this year is to continue to listen and communicate with individuals and groups within our community. I will be meeting with groups of faculty, students and staff. Feel free to contact me about meeting with a group of your colleagues around a topic you care about. I encourage you to send me your thoughts about how we may serve our mission and how we can improve our community. Next month, I will share with you a State of the University message detailing the accomplishments and work from the prior year and addressing the opportunities and challenges ahead.

We wish you the best this fall and look forward to building a stronger DU together.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor

Follow Chancellor Chopp on Twitter:
@ChancellorChopp