What will move us forward? – DU IMPACT 2025

What part of the plan has the greatest potential to move DU forward? If that part of the plan is enacted, what will DU be like in five years?

  • Joseph Kerski

    I believe what will move DU forward is in part connected to The Strategic Initiative 3: Knowledge Bridges– I feel that one bridge is “spatial thinking” – looking at the world’s challenges from local to global with a geographic, or spatial, point of view. These challenges – energy, water, natural hazards, population change, political instability, sustainable development, and others – can be grappled with through the application of geographic information systems technology and methods. I would like to see DU make the infusion of spatial thinking go beyond the traditional GIS and geography department to business, history, international relations, mathematics, law, and more.

  • Virginia Pitts

    I absolutely love the notion of creating a “culture of design thinking”! It felt a bit buried to me (even though it was highlighted a couple of times on the summary page, which got me very excited, it was only mentioned in one bullet point under the Students Striving for Success section), so I really hope that it doesn’t get lost in future iterations of the report (in fact, I would absolutely love to see that idea expanded upon and perhaps brought more front-and-center). If we are successful in creating a culture of design thinking, it means that in 5 years we all approach problems and challenges in a way that always puts a shared question at the center (creating an “inquiry focus” and acknowledging that we all always have more to learn!). It means we are always seeking to understand the needs and motivations of the persons most directly affected by the problems we are seeking to develop solutions for (rather than assuming we understand what those needs and motivation are – or, even worse, failing to consider them at all). It means we by habit we always strive to bring together really diverse perspectives and backgrounds to generate and evaluate ideas for addressing problems/challenges (and that we’ve figured out how to do that in a way that really values and makes the most of these diverse perspectives/backgrounds). It means we have created an environment in which prototyping/piloting new ideas is “just what we do”. It means we are always, above all, seeking to learn from our experiences and use what we learn to generate even better solutions to problems, and it means we are optimistic and open and confident in our collective creativity. It means that, in 5 years, DU is a tremendously exciting, inclusive, creative, learning-rich environment!

  • Nick Stubler

    More than anything, I believe DU’s commitment to sustainability will move our institution forward. If DU hopes to develop and grow into one of the top tier institutions of our nation, it is imperative for our institution to become a leader in and pioneer of sustainability. Dragging behind other institutions in our path towards becoming a sustainable institution will not only prevent DU from distinguishing itself from the crowd, but will also adversely impact the indefeasible rights of our future generations of students to live on a safe and hospitable planet.

    Thankfully, the University of Denver’s vision of being a great private university dedicated to the public good already demands our attention on this front, and empowers the University to take immediate action to transform DU into being a leader in environmental justice and sustainability.

  • Randy Wagner

    “[A] multi-modal transportation hub tied to the DU
    District and energizing the University of Denver RTD light rail station
    area” (23) would support sustainable transportation (as noted there). It
    also runs across every element of “Impact Denver and the Rocky Mountain
    West” (16-19) and would become a major means of making DU “a ‘Union
    Station’ of engagement, service and transformation—a crossroads for ideas, a
    marketplace for innovation and a hub of connections.” (ii) Let’d do it.

  • Fred Cheever

    Sustainability’s commitment to inclusiveness and social justice is
    woven into the fabric of the concept itself.
    The Sustainability Council has worked with IRISE to hire a postdoctoral
    fellow in inequality and access to open space. Sustainability hopes to hire
    additional postdoctoral fellows in the next round of IRISE postdoctoral fellows.

  • Fred Cheever

    The Pope says in his Encyclical “Our Common Home”,

    210.Environmental education has broadened
    its goals. Whereas in the beginning it was main­ly centred on scientific
    information, conscious­ness-raising and the prevention of environmen­tal risks,
    it tends now to include a critique of the “myths” of a modernity grounded in a
    utilitarian mindset (individualism, unlimited progress, com­petition,
    consumerism, the unregulated market). It seeks also to restore the various
    levels of eco­logical equilibrium, establishing harmony within ourselves, with
    others, with nature and other liv­ing creatures, and with God. Environmental ed­ucation
    should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives
    ecological ethics its deepest meaning. It needs educators capable of developing
    an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow
    in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care.

    211. Yet this education, aimed at creating an “ecological citizenship”, is at times
    limited to providing information, and fails to instil good habits. The
    existence of laws and regulations is insufficient in the long run to curb bad
    conduct, even when effective means of enforcement are present. If the laws are
    to bring about significant, long-lasting effects, the majority of the members
    of society must be adequately motivated to accept them, and personally
    transformed to respond. Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able
    to make a selfless ecological commitment. A person who could afford to spend
    and consume more but regularly uses less heating and wears warmer clothes,
    shows the kind of convictions and attitudes which help to protect the environ­ment.
    There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily
    actions, and it is won­derful how education can bring about real chang­es in
    lifestyle. Education in environmental re­sponsibility can encourage ways of
    acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as
    avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating
    refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other
    living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning
    off unnecessary lights, or any number of oth­er practices. All of these reflect
    a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in hu­man beings.
    Reusing something instead of im­mediately discarding it, when done for the right
    reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.

  • Dean Saitta

    I agree with Fred Cheever that sustainability’s commitment to inclusiveness and social justice is woven into the fabric of the concept itself. The problem is that we don’t do enough to highlight and act upon that fact. IRISE certainly did good work to hire a postdoctoral fellow in inequality and access to open space. IRISE is, in fact, the most successful initiative to come out of the recent “Renew DU” process. But it was also a late add-on to the final list of funded initiatives, which says something about our campus culture. I agree with both Fred and Nick Stubler that sustainability—broadly construed—should be a strategic priority going forward. Perhaps even THE strategic priority. But that part of the plan, as others have noted, requires some significant re-framing and beefing-up. Finally, I agree with Randy Wagner that multi- or inter-modal transportation needs to be in the conversation. We already have Centers and Institutes dedicated to many key aspects of sustainable development, including transportation. I agree with those who argue that IRISE’s success has earned for it the right to also have Institute status. But it’s time to bring the key university and city players together under some broader, more original entity that establishes a new paradigm for engaged scholarship and teaching—call it a Collaborative, a Cooperative, a Coalition, a Collective, a Whatever—so that they can begin the work of distinguishing DU as the thought leader it aspires to be. And, as mentioned elsewhere in these comments, a faculty majority has to be at the wheel.

  • Jeremy

    A more sustainable campus will present the school in a more positive way. Green forms of energy, ie. solar are attractive options.

  • Maddy Gawler

    DU is known for being an innovative institution. It is suppose to pave the way for others to follow. One of the biggest concerns of our society now is climate change. DU should pave the way in the climate change world by reinvesting their endowment in renewable energy and supporting industries who are working on improving our society and preventing the 2 degree increase in the warming of our planet. DU is invested in student’s futures but our futures would be clearer if there wasn’t as much smog and pollution blocking our view. DU should really work on creating a sustainable investment plan that is green and will be a long term solution. Investing in fossil fuels is a short term solution for increasing financial aid opportunities, renewable energy is a long term solution to saving the environment and increasing financial aid opportunities.

  • Bridget Arend

    The students in the course, HED 4215: Curriculum Development in Higher Education, spent some time looking at sections of the Renew DU draft plan. We collaborated in small groups and agreed on the following points of feedback about the plan.

    What will move us forward?

    · Intentional pedagogy (inclusive, innovative pedagogy, and creating communities of learning).
    · Globalizing DU, including the curriculum, faculty and students.
    · The commitment to expanding the students’ competencies and life navigation skills.
    · Allowing our (students) voices to be heard during the entire process, including the implementation steps still to come.
    · Incremental steps towards praxis.

  • Erika Stith

    Increased research funding (only interdisciplinary research was specifically mentioned, but I think this should be extended to include all research, especially in and between the sciences), the creation of CIET, investment in sustainability. These will be the three most productive avenues to pursue.

  • Maria Kuntz

    Currently the University uses the tagline “Transforming Passion Into Purpose”. I read this as “DU helps students transform passion into purpose”. As we consider the demands of a 21st century work force that is flexible, creative and adaptive, I wonder if we could reconsider something that makes the students more active in a transformative process. For example, Empowering Students to Transform the World. This could be read as “DU empowers students to transform the world”. I think that DU students will continue to transform their communities and the world around them for years to come – long after they’ve left campus.