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Report shows how Employee Services supports CU faculty, staff, students

Report shows how Employee Services supports CU faculty, staff, students

Employee Services likes to say, “You’re all about CU. We’re all about you.” The department’s first Impact Report illustrates the ways it works to make the University of Colorado’s workforce strong, healthy and secure through a wide range of services.

The report details this University of Colorado system administration department’s efforts to create a positive impact on the lives of CU’s faculty, staff, students and their families. Readers may even discover new programs and services they didn’t know were available to them.

“We are incredibly focused on making CU an excellent, supportive place to work,” said Felicity O’Herron, chief human resources officer at CU system. “This report illustrates the dedicated work our team completes to meet each employee’s needs.”

Just how does Employee Services support faculty, staff and students? Here are a few examples:

  • 55,843 employees, spouses and families were covered by a CU-offered medical plan
  • $2.2 billion in gross pay was processed
  • More than $145 million was contributed to CU 401(a) retirement accounts
  • 14,096 credit hours were waived for CU employees and dependents
  • 74,906 CU custom courses were taken in Skillsoft and access to LinkedIn Learning expanded to all CU students
  • New parents spent 96,160 additional hours with their new children, thanks to paid parental leave
  • 1,074 new international employees received guidance from an international tax specialist

The report also provides an overview of major projects and accomplishments from the last fiscal year, including the implementation of a new paid parental leave policy, lowered retirement plan fees, new ways to educate employees about their benefits, software upgrades and much more.

Read the Employee Services Impact Report to find out more and get a preview of what’s coming this fiscal year.

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Faculty invited to contribute to new CU Connections commentaries

Faculty invited to contribute to CU Connections commentaries

The Faculty Council Communication Committee and CU Connections invite you to join our forum for conversation across the four CU campuses: CU Faculty Voices.

In this series of commentaries, CU faculty are invited to submit written pieces with a point of view. The goal is to foster conversation about current topics and issues on the minds of faculty at the four campuses. We welcome submissions that explore these topics through the authors’ personal opinion, experience, or research.

Selected pieces will be published on the CU Connections website and promoted in the CU Connections email newsletter, which is distributed to all CU faculty and staff across the system.

Click here to see Lisa Forbes’ contribution from earlier this year.

Authors will receive an appreciation gift for their time, such as CU branded items, tickets for the University of Colorado A-line train, etc., as well as a letter of recognition for their service from the Faculty Council Communications Committee and the CU Vice President of Communication.

Content should be timely and relevant to the faculty and/or staff of the University of Colorado system. Subjects may be local (specific people and issues rooted at CU) or universal (pertaining to higher education in Colorado, the United States or the world).


  • Policy issues, from the campus level to the national level
  • Fostering a diverse and inclusive campus culture
  • Legislative issues (no overtly partisan, political or personal attacks)
  • Tenure and promotion
  • Professional challenges in research, publishing, teaching and service work
  • Balancing work, family and health
  • Online teaching and degrees
  • Environmental sustainability of university campuses

Some guidelines:

  • Each article should be an original work, approximately 800-1,100 words in length, not previously submitted elsewhere for publication.
  • Use clear, informal writing, free of jargon. Consider the style of newspaper opinion pieces and editorials, rather than essays for scholarly journals.
  • When useful, include hyperlinks to relevant online material (facts and figures, news coverage, etc.).

Interested contributors should begin by submitting a brief pitch (just a sentence or two is fine!), including the topic and the writer’s interest or expertise in this area. Click here to send a summary of your idea.

CU Connections reserves the right to exercise editorial oversight. Submissions will be edited for length, clarity and editorial style.

Questions? Contact the chair of the Faculty Council Communications Committee, Carmen Stavrositu, or the editor of CU ConnectionsJay Dedrick.

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CU faculty researchers invited to apply for 2020 Boettcher Investigator status

The University of Colorado and the Boettcher Foundation announce the 2020 Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program.

About the program

The Boettcher Foundation established the Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program, which provides up to five grants of $235,000 each covering up to three years of research activity with the intent to provide independent research opportunities to promising and talented early career investigators. Awardees carry the title of Boettcher Investigator in acknowledgement of the prestige of the award.

The biomedical research, supported pursuant to this grant program, will be designed to find ways to prevent disease and improve human health through basic and applied biomedical research. The intent of the program is to fund meritorious research that has the potential for new discoveries or advances a discovery to the proof of its potential value as an application to improve human health. This research will improve the understanding, treatment and prevention of human disease. 

Since the first awards granted in July 2010, the Boettcher Foundation has awarded CU’s 44 current Boettcher Investigators more than $10 million. 

Pre-submission webinar

Potential applicants can learn more information about the award program, what’s new in 2020, the application and selection process, application tips, and participate in a Q&A with the chair and vice chair of the 2020 selection panel. 

Register here.

How to apply

Eligible faculty researchers from all four CU campuses are encouraged to apply. For purposes of this program, an eligible early career investigator (ECI):

  1. Is within four years of appointment to their career-track academic position (i.e., whose career-track appointments began no earlier than January 1, 2015);
  2. Has not previously received a major independent research award;
  3. Has received a terminal degree or completed their medical residency within the 10 years preceding the application (i.e., on or after January 1, 2009); and
  4. Is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

For more details, go to: 

Applications must be submitted to your campus grants office by the deadlines included in the following campus-specific instructions:

Please do not contact the Boettcher Foundation directly.             

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Publication note: No CU Connections on Thanksgiving, Dec. 26, Jan. 2

CU Connections

CU Connections will not publish new issues on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28), Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Deadline for submissions for the Thursday, Dec. 5, issue is noon Wednesday, Nov. 27.

The final new issue before the winter holiday break will appear Thursday, Dec. 19; deadline for submissions is noon Friday, Dec. 13.

Connections returns after the winter break on Thursday, Jan. 9. Deadline for submissions is noon Friday, Jan. 3.

During the holiday breaks, the website will be updated with news should events warrant.

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Second annual Ombuds Day a success

Second annual Ombuds Day a success

Second annual Ombuds Day a success

Submitted by the Ombuds Office, CU Denver l Anschutz

In February 2018, the American Bar Association (ABA) Board of Governors declared the second Thursday of October Ombuds Day. On Oct. 10, 2019, ombuds around the world celebrated the second annual Ombuds Day. It was a flurry of social media posts, videos, Ombuds Day proclamations and events aligned with this year’s Ombuds Day theme: “Ombuds: Unusual name. Important service.”

In an effort to raise awareness of the different types of ombuds, explain the services they provide, illustrate the value they offer and promote the development of ombuds programs in the private and public sectors, the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Ombuds Committee’s Ombuds Day Task Force orchestrated three regional events in Boulder, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The task force also coordinated with ombuds nationwide to obtain 20 state and local proclamations including the state of Colorado, city of Aurora, city of Boulder and city of Denver.

Second annual Ombuds Day a success

Despite a snowstorm and frigid temperatures, the Rocky Mountain Regional Ombuds Day Event took place at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. Those who attended enjoyed quality programming from world-renowned mediator, trainer, facilitator and author Ken Cloke, BA, JD, Ph.D., LLM who presented “Conflict Revolution: Designing Preventative Systems for Chronic Social, Economic and Political Conflicts.” The evening also included a panel session consisting of five different ombuds discussing “Ombuds: What’s in a name?” They were:

Second annual Ombuds Day a success

Thank you to our fabulous speakers.

Attendees enjoyed a beautiful and delicious catered reception thanks to our generous sponsors and Front Range Catering, Ombuds Day swag, book drawing and book signing. 

A huge thank you to the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver l Anschutz and Metropolitan State University of Denver ombuds for their time and talent planning the Rocky Mountain Regional Ombuds Day Event, and the University of Colorado Law School staff for their support.

Missed the Rocky Mountain Regional Ombuds Day Event? Not to worry: Ken Cloke’s presentation and the panel discussion are available on the University of Colorado Boulder Ombuds Office website. You may also check out an interpretative summary of Ken Cloke’s presentation on Ombuzz, the University of Colorado Ombuds Bog.

We hope to see you at an Ombuds Day event near you on Oct. 8, 2020. Follow the ABA Ombuds Committee on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.

Learn more about ombuds with the ABA Journal’s Ombuds Primer, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Resolutions Podcast, 3-minute “Ombuds Oriole” video , or look through the 2019 Ombuds Day Toolkit for a variety of articles, links and ombuds-related information.

Second annual Ombuds Day a success

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Establish an HSA today, cover your medical costs tomorrow

University of Colorado faculty and staff who are enrolled in CU Health Plan – High Deductible can update their Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions for 2020 or enroll in an account in the employee portal from 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.

As the new year approaches, it’s a good time to evaluate current savings strategies and make adjustments. That’s one reason CU gives faculty and staff a way to save for medical expenses with an HSA. This account can be used to pay for medical expenses today, and grow your savings to pay for medical expenses in retirement. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, there are no time constraints on using your HSA money.

What is an HSA?

Administered by Optum Bank, a Health Savings Account is a way to pay for qualified health care expenses now or in the future. HSAs offer three tax benefits: tax-free savings, tax-free growth, and  tax-free spending on qualified medical expenses from today throughout your retirement.

How much can I contribute?

The IRS increased 2020 contribution limits for all HSA account holders. Those 55 or older are allowed a $1,000 catch-up provision.

HSA contribution limits for 2020

  • Individual Coverage Limit – $3,550
  • Individual Coverage Limit (age 55 or older) – $4,550
  • Family Coverage Limit – $7,100
  • Family Coverage Limit (age 55 or older) – $8,100

Keep in mind: You may change your HSA election amount at any time.

Learn more at the Employee Services website.

Have questions? Contact an Employee Services benefits professional at 303-860-4200, option 3, or