Student affairs conference at the Tivoli Student Center

Amid tightening budgets and growing competition, it’s imperative for the university to deliver a “customer-service orientation for everything we do,” Chancellor Jerry Wartgow told attendees at the first Student Affairs Conference this morning.

The day-long conference at the Tivoli Student Center brought together more than 100 staff members from across the University of Colorado Denver’s departments and programs. Breakout sessions in everything from team building and veteran services to university branding and student health issues were presented by university officials who direct those programs and services.

Wartgow said the staff members are “where the rubber meets the road,” in the competitive arena of recruiting and retaining students.

“There’s nobody more important to the future of this university, in this changing world in this changing market, than those of you who are here,” the chancellor said. “We have to look at those students as customers, just like every other business. We have to attract them. The competition is huge.”

Wartgow said the university must push for more online programs and other uses of technology as well as enhancing its leadership in:

  • international student recruitment;
  • veteran student services; and
  • partnerships that encourage transfers of community college students.

“We have tremendous momentum and tremendous opportunities,” Wartgow said. “We can’t be the best university in the world in everything. We can be right up there in the top five or 10 in this country in certain areas.”

Raul Cardenas, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, said a conference goal is for university staff to share their expertise with the overall mission of bettering service to students. He said another, larger professional development conference will take place this summer. The conference will become an annual event.

“What we do every day impacts people’s lives,” Cardenas said. “We’re there to support their needs. That’s an expectation for us, which I relish. We all have tremendous roles and responsibilities.”

CU in the City logo