CU System reorganizes to reduce costs, improve effectiveness

DENVER—University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson today announced a reorganization of the system’s administrative functions aimed at greater efficiency and effectiveness and balancing the budget.

The moves will establish stronger links between the president’s office and campuses in some instances; give CU’s campuses an enhanced role in other functions; and streamline several areas. As a result of the reorganization and other budgetary imperatives, CU will cut $6.2 million, or 15.6 percent, of the system’s $39 million operating budget. The university’s campuses will release their budget plans in mid-May.

As part of cost-cutting efforts, Benson and his direct reports (vice presidents and campus chancellors) will take a 5 percent salary reduction. The system administration moves will result in not filling or eliminating 54 positions.

The reorganization comes after Benson initiated a review last fall of the effectiveness, structure and staffing levels in system administration. The review will continue, with the next steps exploring a shared services organizational structure for system administration and identifying functions across the campuses that could be aggregated into shared services.

“The reorganization of system administration will improve our operations while also allowing us to address significant budget challenges,” Benson said. “Our primary focus is ensuring that we support our academic and research functions while keeping administrative overhead low.

“We believe these changes will allow us to sustain the university in difficult budget times and position us for the future,” he said. “They will also add value to the services that system administration provides to the campuses.”

CU’s system administration in Denver and Boulder includes the president’s office, administration, legal counsel, government relations, budget and finance, academic affairs and communications. It provides services to the campuses that include payroll and benefits, information technology, human resources and legal services. CU’s campuses in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus will also take budget reductions, to be announced by mid-May.

The review was completed after several months of discussions among Benson, his senior staff and campus chancellors. Among the recommendations are:

  • Increase the focus on academic issues by establishing a team approach to broad academic matters that includes the president, chancellors, provosts and system associate vice president and academic affairs officer. The move will result in the elimination of the position of vice president for academic affairs and research, whose role has diminished after the state changed how it approves academic master plans and new program proposals.
  • Elevate diversity efforts by strengthening the link between the Office of the President, chancellors and chief diversity officers on each campus. The new team will meet regularly to address diversity issues. The president and team will continue to get counsel from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity, a group of community leaders who advise CU on diversity matters. The president recently expanded the group.
  • Add position of vice president for university services to oversee information technology, information security and payroll and benefits, among others.
  • Redistribute functions to align them more appropriately within system administration.

The University of Colorado is a three-campus system with four locations: the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Denver’s Downtown Campus and Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Nearly 54,000 undergraduate and graduate students are pursuing academic opportunities on CU campuses. CU is a premier teaching and research university, and is ranked sixth among public institutions in federal research expenditures by the National Science Foundation. Academic prestige is marked by the university’s four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur “genius” Fellows, 18 alumni astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information, go to

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