KREMMLING -- The University of Colorado regents convened Thursday for a retreat, with discussions including how to better define the role of the board and brainstorming ways to make their meetings more effective.
The retreat at CU President Bruce Benson's mountain ranch is part of a series in which the board and top university leaders meet with a facilitator, Stephen Portch. The university first began working with Portch over the summer at a similar mountain retreat.
CU will pay up to $35,000 to contract with the facilitator over the course of two years, said CU system spokesman Ken McConnellogue. So far, the school has paid about $12,000, and Portch has observed some meetings and been in regular contact with the board's secretary and attorney, Patrick O'Rourke.
Through the process, the board has tasked itself with tackling several long-term strategic efforts, including planning for future budget challenges, positioning the university to meet the state's changing workforce needs, and encouraging collaboration between CU and businesses and other advocates.
Thursday's discussion included whether there should be rules or customs surrounding the party affiliation of the board's leadership. Now, the chairman of the nine-member board is Michael Carrigan, a Democrat, and the vice-chairwoman is Sue Sharkey, R-Windsor.
Since the last retreat, the regents have worked on organizing their meetings around a theme, such as technology, bringing in experts as guest speakers to address the board.
Benson said the university is considering whether it should become a part of Coursera, a company that partners with universities to make a few of their courses available online for free. There are now 33 universities who have partnered with Coursera, including Stanford, Duke, Emory, Johns Hopkins and Princeton.
During a break-out session, some university leaders expressed concern that regents or regent candidates are publicly critical of the university to advance their own personal agendas and garner public attention.
Regents are asked that when possible, they should speak with a universal voice.
Going forward, Sharkey said, the board will do a better job reading the materials prior to meetings and preparing questions for university officials so there are no surprises that come up at the meetings.
The regents will continue meeting today for the second and final day of their winter retreat. Among the discussions will be one about the board's role of ensuring a culture of ethics at CU.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.