The University of Denver's 5 Strategic Imperatives

At the University of Denver, we are eager to rise to the challenges of today—and tomorrow—equipped with our unwavering belief that the holistic education our students engage in, and the world-changing research conducted by our faculty, ensures a better, stronger and more equitable future for us all.  

Rapid, global changes are challenging 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 a college degree competing educational modes, this is the context in which the University of Denver strives to serve our students and, in turn, make a difference in the world. Our Five Strategic Directions guide all our decisions, keeping us focused on the future we are building together. 

Serving as the next phase of the community-built strategic plan, DU IMPACT 2025, our Five Strategic Directions build on the astounding strategic work of the past decade. Each direction represents a distillation of the DU community's vision for who we are and where we want to go. Each serves to ensure that generations of DU students can continue to receive the life-shaping education they need to pursue meaningful lives and careers driven by a profound sense of purpose.

Jeremy Haefner Chancellor
Jeremy Haefner

The Five Imperatives

students walking on campus

1. Ensure a 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 and compelling.   

Initiatives of Note:
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2. Create a unique, global, holistic ‘4D’ student experience

Helping students thrive academically, professionally and personally.

It's not enough for students to graduate with a limited set of skills and narrowly defined knowledge. At DU, our unique approach, called the 4D Experience, will encompass more, so our students can do and accomplish more. 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 with fulfilling lives and careers that inspire their passions. 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.   

Initiatives of Note:
diverse group of students outdoors in the mountains on a sunny day

3. 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 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 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 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.

Affiliated Units:
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4. Define and model a global, engaged research university.

Making an impact on Colorado and the world - R1OurWay

Our faculty and research centers produce knowledge that improves lives, and our students are fully engaged in that process. By including students in their research our faculty are able to provide hands-on, integrated learning experiences. This is the scholar-teacher model, and it is at the heart of DU’s identity and the 4D Experience. Now classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral/Very High Research university — or “R1” university—the University of Denver has even more opportunities to contribute to research that makes an impact on a global scale. 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.   

Affiliated Units
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5. Ensure a signature portfolio of academic programs.

A relentless pursuit of excellence

We empower our faculty to apply their passions and expertise to serve as mentors and educators and provide our students with an outstanding academic experience. Our academic programs differentiate us. Through data, we can make better choices about which to retain and which to transform, so the programming 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—particularly for our graduate programs—is the future we must prepare for. Finally, we must more fully seize the potential of undergraduate general education through teaching civil discourse, ethics and cultural awareness and by using the heart of a liberal education to open our students’ minds to new ideas.  

Affiliated Units