Carrigan: Regents want improved lines of communication

Chair says plans are in works to report on board activity directly to faculty, staff
CU Regent Michael Carrigan, Chair

CU Regent Michael Carrigan, Chair

Board of Regents Chair Michael Carrigan told the Faculty Council that he wants to establish a higher profile for communication from the board to the faculty, staff and Colorado public.

Carrigan attended the council’s Nov. 21 meeting at 1800 Grant St., where he talked about current issues involving the University of Colorado and answered questions from council members.

“The first half of my time on the board, we had the Silver and Gold Record,” Carrigan told the council. “It wasn’t perfect, but it certainly was a prominent line of communication. I’m working with Vice President of Communication Ken McConnellogue to have subsequent communications come out after board meetings so that you’re hearing from us directly.

“Hopefully that will be a better vehicle than what (the media) tends to communicate. We want to try to have better lines of communication – in the absence of that, rumors get going and they’re not always accurate.”

Carrigan also talked about the upcoming legislative session, set to begin Jan. 8, and CU’s budget outlook.

“I’m encouraged by and appreciative of the governor’s efforts to minimize a tuition increase,” Carrigan said, noting Gov. Hickenlooper’s budget request that includes an additional $100 million in general fund dollars for higher education -- $60 million for operating expenses; $40 million for financial aid. “It’s one side of the budget sheet. And it would be nice to take a year off from 5 percent to 9 percent tuition increases.”

He said the biggest legislative issue he’s aware of is the ongoing effort by community colleges to offer select four-year degrees, which he called “significant mission creep.” Such moves in other states have led to “drastically higher tuition and fees,” making it a substantial concern. He said he believes CU and other four-year institutions in the state should be able to reach a compromise with community colleges on the matter.

CU Denver’s Joanne Addison asked about the prospect of Colorado State University offering classes in the south metro Denver area, and how CU Denver might deal with such a change. He said CU is exploring opportunities for a facility in the same area.

“We want to create the right opportunity to have a presence there,” Carrigan said. “There clearly is a demand. But also there is the ever-present question of, how do we use technology to make facilities less necessary? … I’m confident that we will beat CSU in that area.”

Carrigan also touched on program prioritization, which was discussed at length by Regents Glenn Gallegos and Stephen Ludwig at the Faculty Council’s Oct. 24 meeting.

“We’re not looking for an excuse to discontinue a particular program,” Carrigan said. “But we’re asking, is a program serving students and how is it serving students?” Such a process is necessary given expectations for continued long-term drops in state funding for higher education, this year’s expected boost notwithstanding, he said.

In other business at the Faculty Council’s Nov. 21 meeting:

-          Vice Chair Laura Borgelt asked for feedback to a review of the Faculty Council’s Bylaws. “It’s been over 10 years since we looked at our bylaws for changes,” she said. “Do they appropriately reflect what we’re trying to do at this university?” The review may be read here. The bylaws are available here.

-          CU Vice President of Communication Ken McConnellogue updated the council on the upcoming redesign of the website, which is slated to roll out in the next several weeks. The site is being rebuilt on a new content management system that will improve functionality for faculty, staff and external audiences.

-          Boulder Faculty Assembly Chair Paul Chinowsky said the BFA is looking at collaborating with Faculty Affairs and administrators to develop better evaluation of faculty service participation. “There’s been a lot of talk on our campus about culture and values,” he said. “Over the next 10 years, do we really have the right culture and values in place to make the campus and system succeed? Or do we need to change perspectives at all levels? … This is not the era of faculty on a pedestal, but of helping students prepare for lifelong, multiple careers.” Read more on the topic in his Letter to the Editor in today’s issue.

The council’s next meeting is at 11 a.m. today at 1800 Grant St.