The University envisions its future with a new planning initiative

From inclusive excellence to the student experience, sustainability to local engagement, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp and Provost Gregg Kvistad are asking the DU community to help plan the future of the University.

Via an initiative called Imagine DU, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and students are being asked to contribute to the strategic plan that will guide the University’s next few years — and its long-term future.

Informed by a 100-day “listening tour” in which she gathered feedback from alumni, donors and friends of the University, Chopp announced Imagine DU in November 2014 as a way to engage the DU community and to create directions to guide the University over the next decade.

The initiative has two prongs: Engaging Community and Transformative Directions. Engaging Community is the short-term aspect of the program, focusing on what can be done now and within the next year, while Transformative Directions looks at what can be done as far into the future as 2025.

“At the same time that we can get to work, as we already have done, with initiatives that will strengthen our community, we can also dream big about how DU can meet the challenges and harness the opportunities of the 21st century,” Chopp says.

To begin the Engaging Community process, Chopp created four task forces: Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence; Student Access and Support; Professional Development for Faculty and Staff; and Expanding Sustainability on Campus.

Despite the different focuses of each task force, there are consistent themes that were explored by all the committees, including the need for universitywide coherence and cooperation.

Some of the work has already begun. In dialogue with the task force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence, three new positions have been created at DU: a vice chancellor for campus life and inclusive excellence; a senior associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence; and a diversity recruiting and retention leader in the human resources department. The Student Access and Support group is focused on the need for more financial aid, diversification of the faculty, coordination of all student access and support programs, and an enhanced advising and registration program.

“I hope everyone will look at the Imagine DU website, specifically the Engaging Community Implementation Plan, to see the ambitious tasks we have committed to for this calendar year,” Chopp says. “Just as importantly, I hope even more members of our community will help us to envision a bold future for the University.”

Beyond implementing the short-term Engaging Community actions, DU has been reaching out to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to learn more about how it can best fulfill its mission in a fast-changing world over the long term. As of March, DU had held more than 90 meetings with more than 1,200 people, and those numbers continue to grow.


Clarion reporter Madeline Zann (’18) contributed to this story.

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