Just before 3 p.m. on July 25, CU Denver staff, faculty and students began filing into the Lawrence Student Center Terrace Room for the fifth installment of the Campus Conversations series. Most of the roughly 100 attendees grabbed cookies and lemonade and greeted cross-campus friends before settling in to hear from university leaders and colleagues.

If you weren’t there, you missed your free cookie, but you didn’t miss your chance to get updates on university projects and initiatives. Below are highlights from the event to help you stay abreast of university happenings.

Revenue picture improving

Raul Cardenas
Raul Cardenas, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, with Chancellor Dorothy Horrell looking on

The university’s budget is stronger than this time last year, said Jennifer Sobanet, chief financial officer and vice chancellor for Administration and Finance. As the books close on the 2016-2017 fiscal year, revenue is above budget and spending is just under budget. Sobanet credited the revenue increase above budget to successful student recruitment and retention efforts and encouraged everyone to continue this hard work.

“The change from this time last year is excellent,” Sobanet said. “Here’s a huge thank you to everyone in this room and beyond.”

Raul Cardenas, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, reported on enrollment numbers, including increases from last year for both new freshmen and Hispanic enrollment along with steady enrollment for international students in spite of recent changes in immigration policy.

“What an incredible gift it is for our university and community to have international students,” said Chancellor Dorothy Horrell as she recounted her recent trip to China for the International College Beijing commencement. “We want to do all we can to welcome them.”

Budget approved

Sobanet confirmed that CU Denver will receive an infusion of resources from the CU System for strategic investments and faculty and staff raises, and the Board of Regents approved the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget, which includes a 3.18 percent increase in undergraduate tuition and no increases in graduate tuition rates.

The university’s budget model redesign process is on track to launch next fiscal year, pending a decision by the budget steering committee in October. More information about the new budget model and its corresponding planning and budgeting process will be coming soon.

Additionally, the university has completed its Facilities Master Plan, the first-ever comprehensive document specific to CU Denver to guide campus space development. The Master Plan concepts are complete and will begin the approvals process with the Board of Regents and State of Colorado this fall. The next step is to determine our financial strategy for funding the Master Plan, Sobanet said.

Provost Nairn back in action

Roderick Nairn, provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, gave the group an update on the Student Success Partnership with the Education Advisory Board (EAB), which leverages research and technology to alleviate obstacles to student success. New technical tools for academic advising go live in early October, helping advisors to tailor their approach to each individual student and helping faculty and staff utilize predictive analytics.

“I’m grateful to be back here at the university,” said Nairn, who recently returned from medical leave.

On the subject of health and wellness, Horrell shared that the CU Denver Student Wellness Center is on track for opening in April 2018, on schedule and on budget.

Since the kick-off of Campus Conversations in February, hundreds of university community members have taken advantage of this opportunity to get updates and share thoughts. Mark your calendar for the next Campus Conversation Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. in the Student Commons Building, Room 2600.