August Campus Updates
August Campus Updates
Dear UCCS community,
I was so thrilled to see our beautiful campus come back to a vibrant life this week. It is always wonderful to see our students, faculty and staff together in-person after the summer break, and it was especially meaningful after the past several years.
As always, there is a great deal happening at UCCS. I want to give you a few updates on projects across campus.
Construction on the Engineering and Applied Science Annex to Begin
Today, we formally broke ground on the construction site for the new annex to our Engineering and Applied Science Building. The new building will be known as the Anschutz Engineering Center in recognition of a transformational gift from The Anschutz Foundation. With three stories and 24,000 square feet, it will create a space for learning, collaboration and innovation for decades to come. This space will expand our facilities for students in engineering fields, and will help increase the number of engineers we graduate from UCCS.
Equally important as new construction is the legacy we will carry with us, in the form of the Tree of Peace. Our architects have taken up this opportunity to incorporate the Tree into the annex designs, and it will be given a space of honor in the new facility grounds. I was honored to attend a Tree blessing ceremony earlier this month, ahead of construction, and I look forward to seeing it standing tall for many years to come.
The 10-Year Vision of the Facilities Master Plan
I often say that at UCCS, even as we work towards short-term accomplishments, we never lose sight of our long-term goals. This spirit is evident in the Facilities Master Plan progress, which envisions the next decade of progress on facilities for our campus.
If you have not yet given feedback on the Facilities Master Plan, please visit the Campus Master Plan website to submit your thoughts. Your feedback will be taken into consideration as the university plans buildings, roads, parking, walkways and open spaces for the next decade.
A Record Fundraising Year
We have also had an exceptional fundraising year for visionary campus programs. Our capital commitments for the year totaled $26 million, the highest level of commitment we have seen in one year in UCCS history. The efforts and initiatives we will fund include student scholarships and opportunities for the campus community. I am excited to share more about these initiatives in the coming months.
Creating Dialogue on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We speak often as a community about the critical importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. Fostering learning, engagement and inclusive belonging for every member of our campus is a central part of our Strategic Plan.
I am pleased to announce that this fall, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will facilitate a series of community dialogues for faculty, staff and students. These dialogues will help to center the voices of our diverse community and build the foundation for our upcoming action planning process.
Rame Hanna, our Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will speak more about these dialogues in our upcoming State of the Campus Address on Sep. 28. Please make sure you RSVP for the State of the Campus Address, which will be accessible in-person and via livestream. You may submit questions for consideration until Sep. 20.
A New Role for Campus: Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management
As I shared earlier this week, we have reached the next phase of our search for a new position on campus, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. This week, we began welcoming three candidates for the position to campus.
There is still time to meet one of the candidates, and to submit feedback on all three:
Chrissy Holliday, Ph.D. | Aug. 22 & 23
Robert Reddy, MPIA | Aug. 24 & 25
Jose Cantu, Ph.D. | Aug. 30 & 31
Virtual Meet and Greet: Tuesday, Aug. 30 from 2:45-3:45 p.m. via Zoom
Open Forum: Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in UC 302 and via livestream
Please read the in-depth Communique article to find additional information for each candidate, including recordings of past candidates’ open forum presentations.
I hope you will take time to visit with the remaining candidate and attend his open forum, which is offered in hybrid format so all may participate. All attendees are strongly encouraged to submit their feedback using the evaluation survey links above by Friday, Sept. 2 at 5:00 p.m. Your feedback is the most important part of this process.
Major Search Updates
We have additional searches ongoing to help guide UCCS into the next decade of success. We aim to bring candidates for the Associate Vice Chancellor of Planning and Facilities starting next week; the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance position in September; and the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources position in November.
I hope you will take time to engage with these candidates as they visit our campus.
Enrollment and Retention
Along with most of our peer institutions in the region, this semester’s enrollment has been impacted by our state and national trends. We are currently trailing our targeted enrollment by about two percent.
However, there are some bright spots. We hope to see some improvement in enrollment over the next few days. We are also experiencing stronger enrollment of out-of-state students than ever before, and great gains in international student enrollment. I am thrilled that these scholars will bring an even broader array of new perspectives to our campus.
I am also working alongside CU President Todd Saliman and Regents Montera, Spiegel and Sharkey to establish a consistent UCCS presence in Southern Colorado. Over a series of visits in the last year — and more recently, last month — I have had opportunities to visit higher education institutions and community leaders in La Junta, Lamar, Trinidad and Pueblo in an effort to strengthen our relationships. We have been able to work with Pueblo County to secure funds for scholarships for Pueblo students who are seeking a degree from the University of Colorado, and we are working to increase transfers from all our southern Colorado community colleges to UCCS.
We will not know the final enrollment for the fall semester until Census Day on Sept. 8. With low state support for public institutions, we are heavily dependent on enrollment and retention to meet our budget projections and make compensation increases possible. But we all have a part to play in this work — especially retention of our talented students. I hope each member of the campus community will make our students feel included and supported at UCCS.
Compensation Analysis Continues
Speaking of compensation, we are in the midst of an ongoing effort to analyze and adjust employee compensation based on the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. Campus has been making adjustments twice a year, and will soon move to making adjustments each quarter.
The Employers Council is currently conducting regression analyses on faculty and staff compensation. These analyses are expected to be completed by early September. Representatives from the Employers Council will share the results of the calculations with Cabinet in late September, at which point we will discuss the next steps. Any compensation adjustments identified in the analysis will be applied during the second quarter of fiscal year 2023.
Since the current analysis is one part of an ongoing effort, the Employers Council does not expect the review to impact the majority of employees. However, the Council is also working on issues of pay compression for current employees and plans to examine where UCCS’ compensation stands in relation to the job market.
I know that progress on this effort is of great importance to our faculty and staff, and that any delay feels frustrating. Please know that this initiative is of deep importance to our campus. We are working hard to make progress, so that the university can better support us all.
I also have a few brief updates on COVID-19 and an additional update on the global monkeypox outbreak.
The good news is that our Health Services staff are well-prepared to manage any cases of monkeypox if they arise on campus. You can find more information on the UCCS response to monkeypox on the Wellness Center website.
As far as COVID-19, per guidance from the CDC and state and local health departments, there is no longer any need to quarantine following an exposure to a positive case. However, you should continue to take the following precautions:
- Take advantage of the free vaccine clinics regularly offered at the Wellness Center.
- Pick up free rapid at-home tests from the University Center information desk and the Wellness Center waiting room.
- Stay home when you feel sick, and get tested if you are exposed or experience symptoms.
You can find much more information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 on the Wellness Center website.
Mountain Lion Athletes Roar into Top Rankings
I want to close with a note on our incredible athletics programs. 2021–22 was the most successful competitive year for athletics in UCCS history! Mountain Lion athletic programs earned six conference championships and three Top 10 national rankings. Our student-athletes were also recognized for their community service, and they earned a collective GPA higher than 3.0 for the 18th consecutive year. We are so proud of our Mountain Lion athletes.
As a reminder, all students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families receive free admission to all UCCS home athletics events. Visit gomountainlions.com to plan your upcoming visit and cheer our athletes on.
It is truly the start to a year like none other at UCCS. I look forward to seeing you around campus and hearing how your semester is going. As always, take good care, and Go Mountain Lions!