Photo by John F. Russell
University of Colorado Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson chats with members the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs during its weekly lunch meeting at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. Chancellor Peterson addressed the universities Flagship 2030 plan and the future of the CU campus while speaking to the group.
Steamboat Springs The University of Colorado at Boulder is trying to figure out how to prepare its students for jobs that don't exist and technologies that haven't been invented.
On a trip to Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson told the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs that CU's Flagship 2030 program is a strategic planning effort to position the university to compete in an increasingly global landscape.
Peterson asked Rotarians to think about how much the world has changed in the past 20 to 30 years and said even greater changes could be on the way. He referenced a project being undertaken by Google to digitize every book in the English language.
"This is going to change the way we educate students," he said.
As part of the strategic planning process, Peterson is traveling across the state to ask local officials two questions: What should CU look like by the year 2030, and how could the school better serve individual communities and the state?
In Steamboat, Peterson spoke to Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association; banker John Kerst; and former Steamboat Springs City Council President Susan Dellinger, among others.
Initiatives already identified by CU include requiring students to complete a "meaningful international exchange experience." Currently, about 25 percent of the university's students study abroad, Peterson said. Peterson said the requirement is part of an effort to "bring the world to CU and take CU to the world."
"CU should be a global crossroads," the chancellor said. "In order to be a good global citizen, it's going to be necessary to understand the world."
During a meeting with Pilot & Today staff earlier Tuesday, Peterson said the university could make international study a requirement beginning with the class of 2012. He also emphasized CU's expanding educational outreach, such as a program starting in the fall that will allow students at Mesa State College in Grand Junction to earn a CU degree in mechanical engineering, through classes at Mesa State.
Peterson also projected that CU-Boulder will grow its tenured-track faculty by 300 new members in the next 10 years.
Those expansions will be funded largely by tuition increases, indirect revenues from research and private donations, Peterson said - noting that just 8.5 percent of the university's $1 billion budget comes from the state of Colorado.
Peterson said he is "not terribly optimistic" that state funding for higher education will increase in coming years, given the state's tight budget and web of taxation and revenue restrictions.
Speaking to Rotarians, Peterson said the school hopes to identify what it needs to do to differentiate its students not only from other U.S. institutions, but also schools worldwide.
"It's going to be a global competition," Peterson said. "If you're one in a million in America, we think you're pretty special. If you're one in a million in China, you're just one of 1,300."
Peterson was joined by CU physicists and married couple Margaret Mumane and Henry Kapteyn, who gave a presentation on their efforts to create an X-ray laser.
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