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Fall Quarter 2018 Message

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University of Denver

Letter  •


As the quarter draws to a close and chillier temperatures are in the air, I hope that you all are finding a rhythm to our academic year. I continue to visit labs, centers, departments and colleges as part of my learning, and I can say that the rhythm is fast-paced!

As University of Denver provost, I am very grateful to partner with Chancellor Chopp as we all work to advance the University through the implementation of DU IMPACT 2025. These are exciting times for DU, and we are positioned well for the next great phase.

Communication is an important part of this work. With this email, I am pleased to share what I hope will be regular quarterly communications with you. Later this year we will redesign the Office of the Provost website, which will serve as an easy-to-navigate repository of a wide range of information, including messages, memos, videos, charges, plans of work, etc. Please stay tuned for these changes.

The topics below represent a continuum of activities and conversations that I, along with the Chancellor, wanted to share with you. These are just a few of the updates and themes that have emerged as I’ve initiated my listening and learning conversations.

Key Searches: There are three key leadership searches that have my attention: the search for the dean positions for both the Korbel School of International Studies and the Daniels College of Business, as well as the senior vice chancellor for finance and treasurer. The Korbel dean search is in its final stage. We are in the candidate review stage for the CFO search, and just beginning the Daniels dean search. It is my expectation that we will complete the CFO search in the early part of 2019, and the Daniels search in the spring. I thank the DU Faculty Senate for the designations of faculty members to serve on these committees.

Research, Creative Work, Scholarship and Use-inspired Work: DU is a research university and a student-centered one, embodying the "teacher-scholar-practitioner" model where the relationship between the student, the teacher and the scholar converges. Faculty are doing basic research, applying new ideas in areas to solve real problems, and working with the community in a way that invites students to participate and learn. We are interested in growing this activity, and the recent "Knowledge Bridges" RFP exemplifies how the University is committed to amplifying research and aspires for a higher stature.

Online Education Strategy: DU is an active participant in the online education space. After all, University College has been offering online programs for years, as have the other colleges. More recently, DU has partnered with 2U, a company offering a suite of online services ranging from student recruitment to student support services. With 2U, we now offer programs in social work and business, and will soon add engineering and education. In my conversations with deans and faculty, it is apparent that there is a strong desire to have an institutional strategy for online education that would guide our future activities. So we are embarking on a variety of discussions across campus to identify the principles of such a strategy. I am committed to vetting these ideas as they start to emerge.

International: The University of Denver has a tremendous set of assets in the international education and public forum spaces. Can we leverage them more effectively? I believe we can, so we are developing an action plan for recruiting more international students to DU and identifying DU research centers that could elevate to the stature of an international research center. Can we become a new model for global thought leadership that leverages the strength of our faculty? Again, we can. I look forward to hearing from you on ideas that will lead DU to even greater thought leadership.

The Future of Work: For the past three years, there have been many stories in the media about artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning. The fact that Google built a machine system that beat one of the world’s best Go players and now is getting better by teaching itself is just one example. What are the ethical ramifications of designing a system where we really do not know how it thinks? What are the public policy or legal questions we should be asking ourselves? What are we as educators doing to prepare our students for these pervasive changes in the future of work? During my short time here at DU, it is clear that the University has much to contribute to this space. This is why my office will be sponsoring a "Future of Work" symposium later this spring in order to learn about this topic, learn what DU faculty and students are doing in this space and start a dialogue of how DU could become a thought leader. Please look for more information in the coming months.

I am committed to listening, asking questions and learning about the DU way of life throughout this year and beyond. And I am eager to support opportunities that will encourage more collaboration and creativity, and improve organic governance. In this spirit of listening and learning, Chancellor Chopp and I plan to visit every college starting in the winter term. I hope you will be able to attend these sessions.

I want to express my gratitude to the University of Denver community for so warmly welcoming my wife Maurin and me. Finally, the Chancellor and I look forward to working with each of you and thanks to all of you who make this University a great place to work and a model for all of American higher education.

Jeremy Haefner

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

University of Denver