Issues I Believe In
While I was lucky to have parents who went to college, I am married to a first-generation student. From her challenges going through college I first learned just how much work needs to be done to make the systems of higher education more navigable to all. A big part of college success is in finding good mentors, and as a Regent I will work to increase mentorship opportunities for students by regularizing temporary faculty appointments into positions with greater stability and to push for teaching and service to undergraduate students to be more consistently recognized as essential evaluation criteria.
Universities are large communities, and tend to develop their own cultures. CU certainly has its own. While this can be of extraordinary value, it is essential that the culture of CU remain genuinely accessible to all students. The best way to accomplish this accessibility is to robustly support free speech. Current Regent Law provides a good start, but policy must be lived to be meaningful. As a Regent I will fight against censorship and cancel culture, work to create neutral inclusion initiatives for all Colorado students, and make our admissions, hiring, and promotion policies in accordance with the timeless American values of equality and evaluation based on merit.
Since I started at CU in 2004, tuition has more than tripled. Skyrocketing tuition costs justifiably make frequent headlines, but this understates the problems of college affordability. I will fight against rising tuition, but also against rising student fees, housing and dining costs, book costs and especially inflation in the time to degree. When students are able to graduate faster, it will make Colorado stronger.
The best way to decrease the cost of college is to decrease the time it takes students to graduate. We should accomplish this by continuing to partner with community colleges and other institutions to make sure coursework transfers smoothly and appropriately. Most importantly, we need to increase the quality of advising students receive and provide incentives to make sure that advising is always trying to find ways for students to graduate as rapidly as possible.
The University of Colorado was founded in 1876 to serve the people of Colorado. It is important that the institution be governed always with that goal in mind. While Student and Alumni, Faculty and Staff are all especially important to the present of CU, I believe that the Regents must be mindful that the University system exists for all of Colorado, and to govern it with the long-term interests of the state in mind.
It is becoming common for universities to see their function as serving faculty interests. While faculty insight and involvement is important to a well-run university, the wider needs of the people of the state are far more important. Standing up to the status-quo is tough, and doing so effectively is tougher. Fortunately, I have spent a decade doing just that inside higher education. Not only will I fight for CU to be accountable to the people of Colorado, I have the experience and expertise to win these fights.
A successful university must begin with a simple clear vision of its purpose. In the case of CU, each campus has a unique purpose. These need to be formalized, recognized, and used as the basis of all our strategic decision making.
As the flagship campus of the state of Colorado, CU Boulder should have a simple vision – excellence. This goal applies to undergraduate experience, student graduation, educational value and affordability, graduate experience, research production, and more. As part of this emphasis on excellence, we must recognize the importance of CU Athletics on behalf of the people of Colorado and treat it accordingly. This means we need to both provide our marquee athletic programs with the support they need to compete at the highest levels, while we also expect consistently excellent results from these programs. It also means that we need to support our student athletes appropriately during their time at CU and make them want to be Buffs for life.