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Rebecca Chopp

Letter  •

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! I am delighted to begin this exciting and promising year with you. I wish each of you all the best in your work and your personal life.

2015 will be an important year for the University of Denver. As you know, we are engaged in a two-pronged strategic planning process. In February, we will receive reports from the four task forces working on Engaging Community: A Strategic Implementation Initiative. These task forces are developing implementation plans from reports completed in the past year. Provost Gregg Kvistad and I will host several forums for feedback on these reports and will also host an electronic discussion board at our strategic design website. We look forward to hearing and incorporating your feedback when the reports are released.

Another part of our strategic planning process will be a campuswide conversation to discuss transformative directions for the University. In every good strategic design process, one has to take the time to envision new ways to fulfill the institution's mission. Too many strategic plans fail to take the time to think creatively about new frameworks or new approaches. As a result, these processes promote incremental rather than transformative change. During our process, I want us to take the time to think boldly and deeply about new ways of educating our students, conducting our scholarship and engaging Denver and beyond. Our current work will continue, but this is an opportunity to ask if there are new ways to fulfill our mission in the 21st century.

In my listening tour of my first 100 days, three questions came up time and time again that are important for such deep, creative thought and discussion:

  • What is the shape of knowledge in the 21st century, and how will our scholarship, practices of teaching and learning, and our institutional structures support it?
  • How should the college experience be shaped to support the needs and aspirations of 21st-century students and their workplaces and communities?
  • What should our relationship to Denver and beyond look like for the 21st century?

This winter and spring, we will ask you to think with us about these questions and others that will arise. Provost Kvistad and I are happy to announce the Transformative Directions Advisory Group (listed below). This group will conduct a consultative process to shape the transformative directions that will guide DU into the future. Because we want this process to be open, transparent and effective, we will provide many different venues for you to engage in this process. We will rely on your participation and your watchful eye toward our progress. The website will include announcements of events, reading materials, forums for your participation, and draft ideas for community consideration and discussion.

  • Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor, Chair
  • Gregg Kvistad, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice-Chair
  • Nancy Allen, Dean of University Libraries
  • Sharon Alvarez, Koch Chair in Entrepreneurship, Daniels College of Business
  • Kimberly Bender, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Kevin Carroll, Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications
  • Erica Chenoweth, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Douglas Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Executive Director, Marsico Institute, Morgridge College of Education
  • Lynn Gangone, Dean, Colorado Women's College
  • David Greenberg, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Partnerships
  • Hayden Johnson, Undergraduate Student Government President
  • Art Jones, Faculty Senate President, Associate Dean, Colorado Women's College
  • Marty Katz, Dean, Sturm College of Law
  • Andrei Kutateladze, Dean, Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Niki Latino, Executive Director, Academic Resources, Student Life
  • Corinne Lengsfeld, Associate Provost for Research
  • Scott Leutenegger, Professor, Computer Science, Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science
  • Danny McIntosh, Dean, Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Linda Olson, Senior Lecturer, Director, Pioneer Leadership Program
  • Jonathan Pinckney, Graduate Ph.D. Student, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Miriam Tapia Salinas, Executive Director, Diversity Enrollment & Community Partnerships
  • Susan Schulten, Professor and Chair, History, Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Shelly Smith-Acuna, Dean, Graduate School of Professional Psychology
  • Frank Tuitt, Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence, and Associate Professor, Morgridge College of Education
  • Gina Johnson, Executive Director, Office of Institutional Research
  • Julia McGahey, Senior Associate Provost, Budget, Planning & Analysis
  • Ed Rowe, Director for Projects and Planning, Office of the Chancellor

Next fall we will shape these broader directions into specific strategies, goals and tactics and will define metrics to assess progress. But before we determine how to accomplish our directions, we must conceive them with the thoughtfulness and the creativity that I know this community relishes.

I ask you all to be part of this process. It is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with people from other schools and administrative units or even in our broader Denver community. And it will be quite enjoyable to think together about our mission in new ways.

I look forward to our work together in 2015.


Rebecca S. Chopp