Strategic Imperatives

We are in the midst of a period of significant change. This change will continue to have a profound impact on higher education. Advances in technology, shifts in demographics, increasing globalization, expanding inequity, the transforming nature of jobs and careers, the challenges of cultural and political division, new perceptions of the value of college degrees, and competing educational modes—all of these constitute the context in which DU serves our students and society. And, without question, many of these challenges have been exposed and deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

By courageously pursuing our goals—goals defined collaboratively by our students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends—the University of Denver can and will meet the needs of our students and society. Our Five Strategic Imperatives, a distillation of DU IMPACT 2025, represent our most pressing priorities and exciting potential.

Five Strategic Imperatives

  • Ensure a bold, sustainable future for the next generation through our financial, reputational, and operational practices

    Focusing on affordability, access and opportunity.

    The University of Denver has served generations of students by innovating to meet the needs of the time. Now is no exception. Several forces are reshaping higher education. To ensure DU can thrive, we will focus on recruiting, retaining and supporting talented faculty and staff. To ensure diversity and equity and better serve our students, we will increase access and support, so every student has what they need to graduate. Our business decisions will be sound, but also innovative, including pursuing new revenue streams and building an engaged philanthropic engine. Finally, we will be sure the story we are telling about DU—to our community and the world—is clear, accurate and compelling.

  • Create a unique global, holistic, ‘4D’ student experience

    Helping students thrive academically, personally and professionally

    It's not enough for students to graduate with a limited set of skills and narrowly defined knowledge. At DU, the student experience will encompass more, so our students can do and accomplish more. It is called the 4D Experience. Intellectual growth and academics are the foundation, but DU students will also explore character, pursue careers and lives of purpose and promote wellbeing. The 4D Experience empowers students to be resilient, courageous champions of the public good by leading lives of purpose and passion and pursuing fulfilling careers. The 4D Experience is the umbrella under which DU will offer one-of-a-kind programming, mentoring, support and resources—setting the University apart from its peers and answering the question of higher education’s role in a changing world.

  • Cultivate an exceptionally diverse, inclusive, equitable, and welcoming community

    Working together for equity and uplift.

    Diverse communities are stronger, more resilient and more productive. The University of Denver champions diversity, equity and inclusion because it is our moral obligation and because we believe, without question, that society thrives when we collectively welcome the voices and ideas of individuals from all backgrounds. We commit to providing the structures and support to ensure the DU community and campus becomes an example for others seeking to lift up marginalized voices. A key part of this commitment is reckoning with and learning from our own institutional history. We make this commitment in no small part because we want a deep sense of belonging to define the experience of every single one of our community members, and that is impossible without confronting existing barriers. We work toward this lofty goal through continued listening and the perpetual evaluation of our policies, culture and structures.  

  • Define and model a global, engaged research university

    Making an impact in Colorado and around the world.

    Our faculty and research centers produce knowledge that improve lives. We also engage students in all we do. Our faculty involve students in their research, providing hands-on, integrated learning experiences. This is the scholar-teacher model, and it is at the heart of DU’s identity. We also see even more opportunity for DU to connect to and contribute to research that makes an impact on a global scale. We have everything we need to become an R1-classified institution. By doing so, we will continue to attract world-class faculty and produce PhD students with the knowledge, skills and experience to improve the world. And we will double down on our scholar-teacher model by bringing all we learn and produce back into the classroom to the ultimate benefit of our students.

  • Ensure academic excellence with a signature portfolio of academic programs and a relentless pursuit of quality

    A relentless pursuit of excellence.

    We must empower our faculty to apply their passions and expertise to serve as mentors and educators and provide our students with an excellent academic experience. Our academic programs differentiate us. Through data, we can make better choices about which to retain and which to transform, so what DU offers is continually refreshed and relevant. The need to consider where and how we offer courses has never been more pressing or apparent. Online education—most especially for our graduate programs—is the future we must prepare for. Finally, we must more fully seize the potential of the undergraduate general education through teaching on civil discourse, ethics and cultural awareness and by using the heart of a liberal education to open our students’ minds to new ideas.

sunset on DU campus

Our Vision for the Future

DU IMPACT 2025 is our long-term plan, and focuses on using innovation, research, scholarship and collaboration to serve the public good and provide an exemplary educational experience.

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