In an initiative aimed at improving efficiency and expanding educational opportunities for students, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado last week announced an agreement to collaborate in several areas ranging from expanding academic alliances to jointly pursuing purchasing agreements.
The announcement signaled the start of a formal effort at the neighboring institutions to make more efficient use of financial resources, to collaborate in certain academic programs and to expand the educational opportunities by sharing the strengths of the two institutions as the basis for these collaborative efforts.
In the agreements signed April 28 at the state capitol in Denver, the two university presidents -Hank Brown of UNC and Albert Yates of Colorado State – charged lead administrators to spearhead the collaborative efforts.
"The agreement signifies an effort on the part of two institutions to work together to better meet the needs of the students and the citizens of Colorado," Yates said "While our two institutions have different missions and different strengths, we share a common philosophy of service to students and to the state of Colorado. In signing this agreement, we as institutions reaffirm our commitment to helping prepare students to serve as leaders in our society."
"The taxpayers of Colorado have a right to expect that higher education will operate as efficiently as possible," Brown said. "This agreement will improve the quality of programs for our students and focus resources where they are needed the most – in the classroom."
"In the long run, what is important is doing everything we can to create the best possible learning environment for our students," Yates said. "This agreement is one of the many efforts we both have in place dedicated to that goal."
In one of the major initiatives, the two institutions will study the possibility of offering a doctorate in education on the Western Slope of the state using faculty from both universities and the distance education capabilities of Colorado State. Other priority areas include:
- Expanding partnership opportunities between academic colleges, with specific emphasis on the areas of education, business, foreign languages and natural sciences;
- Sharing resources in human resource training and management, including exploring the possibility of working together to help spouses of newly hired employees at either institution find employment in the area;
- Purchasing initiatives, with an emphasis on jointly seeking bids on equipment and other materials to bring down the per-unit costs to each institution; and
- Sharing resources in computer hardware and information technology, with an emphasis on better incorporating technology into classrooms.
Marlene Strathe, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UNC, said, "The future of higher education in America will increasingly require us to bring our resources together to improve the access and quality of education available to our citizens. The CSU-UNC initiative can serve as a model for such efforts."
"Both of our universities have substantial academic strengths in many areas," said Loren Crabtree, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Colorado State. "By combining these areas of excellence in ways that make sense for both institutions, we will offer enhanced opportunities for our students. In these times of limited resources, it makes a great deal of sense to work together to ensure that our students receive the best possible education."
Fran Schoneck, vice president for administration at UNC, said, "This agreement provides the opportunity to increase our efficiency and buying power, as well as to create a spirit of cooperation that will help strengthen and sustain higher education in Colorado."
"We’ve enjoyed a good relationship with our counterparts at UNC. What today’s announcement signals is a move to more formally and officially strengthen that relationship," said Gerry Bomotti, vice president for administrative services at Colorado State. "We’ll be working even closer together to improve efficiency, effectiveness and to make better use of our financial resources."
The two campuses are about 25 miles apart. UNC has 10,800 students on the Greeley campus and Colorado State has 22,523 students on the Fort Collins campus.