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Messages from Bruce Benson

Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by Buffnik, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    I get these emails, as I'm sure that many of you do, and I think they provide a lot of good info on the goings-on at CU. Often this relates directly to AD and fundraising issues. Other times, it indirectly relates since we get some info to combat public perception on where tax dollars are going at the university. And other times, it's just good stuff to keep us informed on what's happening at the university that's such a big part of our lives and our community.

    I'm going to try to remember to post these in this thread. You can find them on the CU website, too. HERE

    Here's a recent one on the new President and CEO of the CU Foundation, Rick Lawrence:

    New president and CEO of the CU Foundation
    [​IMG]I am pleased to let you know that Rick Lawrence has been namedpresident and CEO of the CU Foundation. Rick, an alumnus of the Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder, has done a great job as second-in-command at the foundation. He will replace Wayne Hutchens, who is retiring from the leadership role but will remain active with major gift fundraising and other initiatives.
    Rick has been an integral part of our fundraising success in recent years. He helped build an organization that has guided CU to its four best fundraising years, including last year's record $213 million. Rick also has been key to the success of our $1.5 billion Creating Futures campaign, which is now at $1.1 billion. As state funding continues to wane, fundraising becomes an increasingly critical component of adding value for scholarships, endowed faculty positions, research projects and buildings. I have every confidence that under Rick's leadership, CU will continue its fundraising success. He has a passion for the university and the skills and knowledge to ensure continued momentum in this important aspect of our operations.
     
  2. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Here's a new one with some good info on the issues of tuition increases, budgetary responsibility, and public openness of the decision-making process:

    Perception and reality
    Dear Friends and Alumni,
    [​IMG]
    President Bruce Benson
    Public universities such as ours are subject to public scrutiny. Even though the state of Colorado provides less than 6 percent of our budget, we have an obligation to be open and accountable to our students, alumni and citizens. The close examination that comes along with that obligation is fair.
    The university has had its share of scrutiny from Colorado media recently. In the past month, stories and editorials have covered everything from salaries to proposed tuition increases. Suffice it to say that most have been negative. Many CU alumni and friends have shared with me that they feel the coverage paints an unfair picture of our university. I agree in some cases but not all. Regardless, I want to take this opportunity to address some common perceptions (and misperceptions) in recent reports about CU and provide context that may not always make headlines or sound bites.
    Perception: CU makes important decisions about tuition and salaries out of the public eye.
    Reality: The Board of Regents every year sets tuition and compensation pools in public meetings that occur over many months. For instance, the regents began discussing compensation for fiscal year 2011-12 in February 2011, furthered the conversation in early April and established a 3 percent merit salary pool at their public meeting in late April, at the same time they approved tuition rates. The media was at the meeting and reported the story. The merit pool was contingent upon campuses meeting established budget targets, which they did in October.
    For fiscal year 2012-13 tuition setting, the discussion began at the board retreat last July (with media present), continued with two meetings in September, another in November and a budget retreat in January. All are public meetings. We will have another one on Wednesday.
    Perception: Tuition and fees at CU are too high.
    Reality: We know the pressures facing students and families in a down economy. But a CU education is a considerable value. Tuition on all our campuses is at or below peer averages. Many similar universities charge thousands more than we do, even though their state support is also thousands more per student. Colorado ranks 48th nationally in state funding per resident student. And the quality of a CU education is a great investment, perhaps the best a person will make. It leads to more income, greater opportunities, increased civic and community engagement and better health.
    Perception: Middle-income families are being priced out of an education at CU.
    Reality: We have made considerable investments in financial aid, increasing our pool of internally generated aid (apart from state and federal financial aid) from $38 million in 2002 to $120 million today. Student debt and default rates at CU ($23,125 and 3.4 percent) are below the national average ($25,250 and 8.8 percent). We believe a factor in the low default rate is that our students are getting jobs after graduation.
    Perception: CU is an inefficient bureaucracy.
    Reality: We have made operating efficiently one of our guiding principles. CU's administrative overhead is 44 percent below our national peer average. We have streamlined bureaucracy, made strategic cuts and instituted better business practices. We have cut millions in the past four years but are always looking for more efficiencies. The result of all this can be seen in our outcomes. CU produces the most degrees for one of the lowest costs in the nation.
    Perception: Salaries at CU are out of control, as evidenced by raises for "top administrators."
    Reality: We are in a market economy and are a people-intensive enterprise. Some three quarters of our expenditures are for people. Delivering a quality education at CU means investing in people. Additionally, our business has increased substantially during the recession, with an 11.5 percent increase the past decade and record enrollment on our campuses. Degrees awarded over the same period increased 34 percent.
    Top administrative raises accounted for a small percentage of the total salary pool. The vast majority went to faculty, who are critical to the quality of a CU education. More than 85 percent of those who received merit raises received less than $4,000.
    Perception: Our faculty members are underworked and overpaid.
    Reality: While some believe faculty only teach a couple of courses, the reality is our world-class faculty teach many courses, advise and mentor students, conduct scholarly activity, generate research funding, and are active in community and university service. They have stepped up during difficult times. For example, at CU-Boulder, some 400 faculty members taught more than the standard course load. CU has a great faculty whose prime imperative is to provide a quality education. And they deliver.
    CU is a complex place with many moving parts. We understand that standing on the outside looking in at just one of those parts may not show the whole picture of who we are. But the sum of those parts is a university that operates openly and efficiently, delivers to our students a world-class education and advances the economy, health and culture of Colorado and beyond.
    For feedback, contact officeofthepresident@cu.edu
    Sincerely,
    [​IMG]
    Bruce Benson
    President
     
  3. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    I got this, too. I'm left to wonder if this isn't a little bit like preaching to the choir, though. The kind of people this gets sent to are going to be generally supportive of CU regardless. This is the kind of thing that needs to be shared with folks outside of the CU family.
     
  4. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    My main reason for posting. When the choir is talking to associates who bring this stuff up or reads negative comments to a Camera or Post article, we need ammo to respond.
     
  5. TimmyDUBs

    TimmyDUBs Dirty haole Club Member

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    Perception: The University of Colorado is fully behind CU athletics and will do all it can to support teams and coaches to be the best in the country.

    Reality: Wait, what were we talking about? No, we need to do studies to make sure having a good team will properly promote the school. Get back to us in ten years after we've spend all the money fromt he PAC-12 TV deal.
     
  6. GregInArlington

    GregInArlington Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how I feel about this. Honestly that last thing I want is a massage from Bruce Benson.
     
  7. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    You are correct that the people who recieve these are the choir and this should be shared outside the CU family. I would argue however that in many cases the members of the choir are the most effective means of getting this message out. If you use paid advertising you are defeating the intent of maximizing your use of funds to benefit the students and support research, the two main functions of the university. That advertising also tends to be ignored and can even have a backlash effect. You can try to use media relations but that in an unpredictable and difficult means of getting the message out.

    What these messages can do on the other hand is give us, the choir, facts and specific talking points to use when faced with an opportunity to confront questions in a face to face situation. At work, in social situations, in family situations when the topic of CU might come up along with the negative stuff that people tend to spew about it comes out the information in these messages gives some substance to us when we refute the negatives and give us the credibility to influence people. It may not be highly efficient but it can be effective and is worth Benson's time to do it, if we use it to our advantage.
     

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