Regents notes: Discussion of emerging issues; athletics contracts

By Staff

The CU Board of Regents plans to set aside an hour at each regular meeting to discuss emerging issues that could become relevant to the university, an initiative that came out of last month’s winter retreat.

“This is intended to give us the ability to talk about topics that may not be on the agenda, but are things that we should discuss,” said Board Chair Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock. “We’ll want to balance the free-flow exchange of ideas and keeping ourselves on track.”

The topic was discussed during the board’s Feb. 8 meeting at CU South Denver.

Patrick O’Rourke, vice president of University Counsel and secretary to the board, said the allotted time will allow for longer-term discussions on issues that should be on the board’s radar screen. Before each meeting, the regents’ office will identify a set of issues to discuss, and materials on the topic will be provided as a foundation for the conversations, he said.

A subject matter expert will be invited to facilitate the discussions, O’Rourke said. He stressed that the topics should not have an action item attached.

The board briefly noted the types of topics they envision discussing during the time provided for emerging issues:

  • Promoting a culture critical thinking.
  • Artificial intelligence and its possibilities in higher education.
  • On-campus issues that affect students including mental health.
  • Rural vs. urban education and its impact on CU.

In other business at the Feb. 8 meeting:

  • The board approved multi-year contracts for 20 athletics head coaches, associate coaches and assistant coaches, including an extension through 2023 for Tad Boyle, CU Boulder head men’s basketball coach. This follows CU’s legislative initiative of last year that resulted in the passage of Senate Bill 17-041, which enables more flexibility by exempting contracts for positions funded by revenue from auxiliary activities, such as athletics. The board voted 7-1, with Regent Linda Shoemaker voting no and Regent Heidi Ganahl absent. “We go from a competitive disadvantage to being competitive and that’s important,” said CU Boulder Athletic Director Rick George. “The support that we got from the regents and the chancellor (Phil DiStefano) to get this done is incredible. We’re appreciative of that because it allows us to now be on a level playing field with our peers.” Read more at
  • During his report on the University Affairs Committee, Regent John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch, said he’s awaiting information from the campuses on “whether students are getting the information they need to be competent and knowledgeable in government and civics.” He cited a report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni – “What Will They Learn?” – which details how public and private colleges and universities fail to require students to demonstrate fundamental skills and knowledge. Among those institutions examined, 87.9 percent do not require intermediate-level foreign language; 82.4 percent don’t require a basic course in U.S. government or history; 41.9 percent of students can graduate without taking a college-level mathematics course; and 18.8 percent can leave without a basic course in English composition.



  • Cathy Beuten and Jay Dedrick