February Town Hall updates: New degree programs, online education, retention strategies and more 

In February’s virtual Town Hall, Chancellor Venkat Reddy and a panel of campus leaders shared updates on UCCS’ online education program, recommendations for the future of work and plans for a trigger point system to begin thoughtfully easing COVID-19 precautions in the future.

The Town Hall opened with presentations from two current students, Mauricio Carrera and Karel Hernandez Bandrich, who shared their plans and hopes for the future. In addition, it featured welcome remarks from Rame Hanna, UCCS’ first Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who will officially begin their tenure on March 1, 2022. Campus leaders then provided updates from their areas.

Take a look at the key takeaways below.

COVID-19 updates

  • Case rates are dropping across El Paso County, and contact tracing continues to show that case rates on the UCCS campus are well below those in the county. Learn more >>

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to release updated face covering guidelines shortly. Based on that guidance, UCCS will put a trigger point system into place to determine if and when the campus can begin to ease COVID-19 precautions. Learn more >>

  • The Cabinet will meet on or before March 1 to determine how to move forward with the trigger point system and evaluate how to thoughtfully begin easing COVID-19 precautions. Learn more >>

Campus updates

  • The campus is ready to implement the new incentive-based budget model at the start of the 2023 fiscal year. Learn more >>

  • The CU Board of Regents have approved two new degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. The new degrees contribute to UCCS’ mission to serve as a comprehensive degree-granting university, and are expected to have a positive impact on enrollment. Learn more >>

  • Results from the Campus Culture and Workplace Survey are being collated, and with help from shared governance, action teams will be formed to address challenges. All faculty, staff and students are invited to provide input to their shared governance body. Learn more >>

  • In addition, Chancellor Reddy and the Cabinet are evaluating and prioritizing recommendations from the Future of Work Task Force. Key recommendations revolve around flexible work schedules, updating campus spaces for hybrid formats, upgrading technology, building a strong supervisor training program and recruitment, onboarding and retention of high-quality employees. Learn more >>

  • Active recruiting, sharing best practices with fellow CU campuses and the potential for hiring bonuses are among strategies the campus will employ to attract high-quality candidates for open positions. Learn more >>

  • Strategies for the retention of staff and faculty include investing in supervisor and employee training, prioritizing flexibility for campus roles, increasing professional development opportunities and working diligently toward fair compensation. Learn more >>

Strategic Plan updates

  • Beginning in April 2022, each Town Hall session will provide an update on one of the seven core strategies that comprise the 2030 UCCS Strategic Plan. Learn more >>

  • The campus is investing time, talent and resources into expanding UCCS’ online education program, a key part of the core strategy to enhance enrollment, retention and graduation rates. In addition to campus online and academic leads, UCCS is searching for an Executive Director for Online Operations to collaborate across academic units and expand online education efforts. Learn more >>

  • Among other priorities, online program leads are charged with determining the process for interested academic departments to convert degree programs into fully online formats. Learn more >>

“Above all, thank you for your dedication to the success of our campus, and our students,” said Chancellor Reddy in his closing remarks. “I ask for your continued compassion, care and respect for each other as we navigate these uncertain times, a spirit you have shown for years. You make me proud to be part of this Mountain Lion Family.”

Members of the UCCS community may submit additional questions and fill out a survey response to the event. Listen to the full session online.