CU Online Update, 3-21-2015

Dear colleagues,

CU Denver | Anschutz has long been a leader in providing access to innovative learning opportunities, including digital education. We are pleased to announce some changes to the administrative structure of our online offerings that will enable us to continue to lead in this area.

The online learning task force convened in 2012-13 under the leadership of School of Education & Human Development Dean Rebecca Kantor and Colorado School of Public Health Dean David Goff determined that we were not meeting the demand for online and hybrid programs. An “online strike force,” chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation Initiatives John Bennett, met this winter to build on the earlier committee’s work and that of the ongoing CU system-wide online education initiative. The strike force presented its recommendations to us and the provost in January, after which we met with various affected constituencies to inform our next steps.

The recommendations are premised on the core idea that digital education at CU Denver | Anschutz must be an academic endeavor, rather than an administrative or technological effort. As with the system-wide online efforts, faculty who teach online should be members of our faculty who are rostered in an academic unit of the campus, not members of a “shadow” faculty.

With this tenet in mind, we will be reorganizing CU Online, where our current online courses are managed for Denver | Anschutz. First, we will be hiring a new Dean for Digital Education, who will report to the provost and be a member of the deans’ leadership group. 

The digital education dean will work to enhance and expand CU Online in a highly collaborative “federated” environment with school/college deans, department chairs and faculty. Allocation of resources related to digital education will remain the purview of the chancellors, with input and recommendations from faculty and deans. We plan shortly to establish and charge a search committee, with broad representation from both campuses, for the new dean.

Second, the leadership of CU Online will now have a dual reporting structure. In addition to its current reporting line within the Office of Information Technology, leadership of CU Online will now have a direct reporting relationship to the new dean for digital education for the activities of the office related to the development of online and digital programming for the campuses.  This will allow the academic requirements of digital education to be overseen by the new dean and the information technology components of CU Online, including the learning management system CANVAS and the consolidated help desk, to continue to be managed by Information Technology Services.

We believe these changes will propel us on the path to improving our online offerings, creating more flexibility for our current students and increasing access for potential students. They also dovetail with the system-wide online initiative currently underway and chaired by Chancellor Wartgow.

We are excited to be developing a more active presence in the area of digital education, and look forward to working with you to enhance CU Online’s presence as a leader in this important area.

Jerry Wartgow, Chancellor, CU Denver
Don Elliman, Chancellor, CU Anschutz

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