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Legislation with CU impact emerges from historic session

State of Colorado Capitol Building

A prolonged, unprecedented state legislative session came to a close on June 15. The Legislature was in recess March 16-May 26 due to COVID-19 and reconvened for three weeks to pass the state budget and other bills. 

CU’s Government Relations team is incredibly grateful to the Joint Budget Committee members and legislators who were tasked with making difficult decisions in the wake of an over $3 billion budget shortfall due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Every department in Colorado endured cuts, including higher education. Vice Presidents Todd Saliman and Tanya Kelly-Bowry worked around the clock to lobby not only the higher education general fund allocation, but also to mitigate cuts to many of our campus programs like the College Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, Cyber Security and opioid addiction treatment.

Before the pandemic, the CU Government Relations team also engaged CU stakeholders in many activities at the Capitol, including faculty presentations to committees, hosting campus groups for tours and legislator briefings, arranging meetings with legislators and CU leadership, and hosting events such as the CU 2020 Policy Kickoff with the CU Advocates program. 

Our team would like to give a special thank you to CU leadership, our campus liaisons, budget and legal teams and all of our incredible campus faculty and staff experts for providing critical feedback on legislation since we began this work in January.

Below is the 2020 legislative recap, provided by the State Relations Team in the Office of Government Relations, on the major legislative issues with impact to CU that passed this session. There were many other bills that were killed because of budget and time pressures and we anticipate seeing them again next session. Bill statuses noted are as of Monday; please visit this page for a full list of bills and links to bill text. 

Legislation with CU Impact:

HB20-1002 College Credit for Work Experience (Reps. McLachlan, Baisley/ Sens. Zenzinger and Story)  The bill requires the Department of Higher Education to conduct a study concerning awarding academic credit for prior learning within all state institutions of higher education. An existing council charged with examining general education courses shall implement a plan for determining and awarding academic credit for postsecondary education based on work-related experience. Beginning in the 2022-23 academic year, unless a plan is implemented prior to then, institutions shall accept and transfer academic credit awarded for work-related experience as courses with guaranteed transfer designation or part of a statewide degree transfer agreement. Our lobbyists worked with Vice President Mike Lightner and Jeremy Hueth to narrow the scope of the bill to GT Pathways and articulation agreements, along with giving institutions the flexibility to assess prior learning and award credit accordingly, rather than a statewide mandate on how that process works. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB20-1407 College Admission Use of National Test Score (Reps. Kipp, Baisley/Sens. Story, Zenzinger) For high school students who graduate in 2021,  the bill temporarily allows institutions of higher education to forego a national assessment test score, like the ACT and SAT exams, as an eligibility criterion of admission standards. CU officially supported this bill, along with a coalition of institutions. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB20-123 Compensation and Representation of Student Athletes (Sens. Fields, Bridges/Reps. Coleman, Herod)  Effective Jan. 1, 2023, except as may be required by an athletic association, conference, or other group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics including the National Collegiate Athletic Association, an institution of higher education shall not uphold any rule, requirement, standard, or other limitation that prevents a student athlete of the institution from earning compensation from the use of the student athlete’s name, image, or likeness. A student athlete’s earning of compensation may not affect the student’s scholarship eligibility. An association shall neither prevent a student athlete from earning compensation nor prevent an institution from participating in intercollegiate athletics because a student athlete receives compensation. Colorado was the second state in the U.S. to pass a NIL bill. Status: Sent to the Governor 

SB20-205 Sick Leave for Employees (Sens. Fenberg, Bridges/Reps. Becker, Caraveo)  The bill creates the “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act” (act), which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees under various circumstances. On and after the effective date of the act through Dec. 31, 2020, employers are required to provide each of their employees paid sick leave for employees to take for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the amounts and for the purposes specified in the federal “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act” in the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” Additionally, beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the act requires all employers in Colorado to provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours. Status: Sent to the Governor 

SB20-217 Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity (Sens. Garcia, Fields/Reps. Herod, Gonzales-Gutierrez) This bill requires local law enforcement and the Colorado State Patrol to use body-worn cameras and release recordings to the public, and to conduct data reporting about certain incidents and contacts with the public. The Division of Criminal Justice must post this reporting on its website and summarize it in an annual report. The POST Board must revoke peace officer certification for certain violations. State and local law enforcement are prohibited from certain enforcement actions in response to public demonstrations. The bill removes immunity for local law enforcement peace officers and requires local law enforcement agencies to indemnify officers unless the officer did not act in good faith. The bill limits acceptable use of force by all peace officers and creates a duty to report excessive use of force. The Attorney General may intervene in instance where a government authority engages in a pattern or practice that deprives persons of their constitutional rights. Finally, the bill declares that the issues addressed within are a matter of statewide concern. Maybe of the amendments that were added to the bill reflect negotiations with public safety stakeholders. Status: Sent to the Governor. 

Health care-related Legislation:

SB20-212 Reimbursement for Telehealth Services (Sens. Winter, Tate/Reps. Lontine, Soper)  The bill prohibits a health plan from imposing restrictions on the technologies used for telehealth, requiring a previously established patient-provider relationship, or imposing additional requirements as a condition for reimbursement for telehealth services. This bill is an important step toward making telehealth a mainstream method to deliver healthcare services. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB20-1216 Sunset Continue Nurse Practice Act (Rep. Mullica, Sen. Ginal) The bill continues the State Board of Nursing in the Department of Regulatory Agencies, which is scheduled to repeal on July 1, 2021. Our lobbyists, along with Jeremy Hueth and nursing faculty from the College of Nursing, helped amend the bill to ensure that board approval of educational programs was not repealed.  Status: Sent to the Governor

HB20-1411 Covid-19 Funds Allocation for Behavioral Health (Reps. Michaelson Jenet, Kraft-Tharp/Sen. Pettersen) The bill allocates CARES Act funding to behavioral health programs in the Departments of Human Services, Public Health and Environment, Higher Education, and Law. The bill allocates $600,000 to the Center for Research into Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Strategies for education for health care professionals, grant writing assistance, and personal protective equipment (PPE) and telehealth supplies for the medication-assisted treatment expansion pilot program. Status: Sent to the Governor

Additional Budget-Related Legislation

HB20-1366 Higher Education Funding Allocation Model (Reps. Esgar, McCluskie/Sens. Zenzinger, Rankin) The bill creates a new higher education funding allocation model beginning in FY 2021-22. The bill modifies how state appropriations are allocated among institutions of higher education. All of the higher education governing boards came together to support this bill, which focuses on transparency and accountability metrics for institutions. Special thanks to Vice President Todd Saliman and Chad Marturano for their incredible leadership in writing the formula. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB20-1427 Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax (Reps. Caraveo, McCluskie/Sens. Fields, Moreno) Conditional on voter approval, this bill raises taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products and establishes a new tax on nicotine products. Revenue from the taxes is distributed to fund health care, tobacco education, preschool, and other programs. With voter approval, the bill increases state revenue and expenditures on an ongoing basis. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB20-219 Lease- Lease-Purchase Issuance for Capital Construction (Sens. Fields, Sonnenberg/Reps. Valdez, Rich) The bill directs the State Treasurer to issue a lease-purchase agreement of up to $65.5 million by June 30, 2021, to fund the continuation of higher education capital construction projects that were previously funded. Importantly, the bill helps fund the continuation of the Health Sciences building on the Anschutz Medical campus. Status: Sent to the Governor 

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Website details CU’s efforts to ramp up online presence


CU’s Online Accelerator Committee (OAC) is living up to its name, pushing forward to meet a late October deadline for recommendations to the president and chancellors on how best to build the structure and processes to help the university grow its capacity and enrollment in online education. The university community can learn more about the initiative at the All Four: CU Online website that launched today.

The work began last fall, when the university engaged EY-Parthenon to conduct an assessment of CU’s online efforts and make recommendations for how it can increase enrollment and be more competitive in the market. Phase One of the project was completed in the spring and EY-Parthenon made recommendations to President Mark Kennedy and campus chancellors in early April. It found that CU has a strong brand and some significant strengths in online that match market demand, but it is still lagging market leaders.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has reinforced our idea that we need to be strong in online education, which will also have the benefit of augmenting our on-campus programs,” Kennedy said. “While I’m happy that we started this work last fall, the reality is we are behind where we need to be.

“Getting a coordinated focus across CU for going forward in online education is one of our priorities this year.”

Phase Two recommendations included implementing economies of scale and creating the OAC with systemwide representation of faculty and staff to identify a new structure and processes for online. The goal is to launch the revamped online effort in fall 2021.

While CU’s online programs are created by faculty and owned by campuses, one of the EY-Parthenon recommendations was to work toward efficiencies of scale in online-specific areas of recruitment, marketing and student success. To that end, the Office of Digital Education (ODE), which previously served CU Online when it spanned the Denver and Anschutz campuses, is now a systemwide resource serving all campuses.

“We are encouraged that prospective students continue to show interest in obtaining fully online degrees from the University of Colorado,” said Sheana Bull, Ph.D., senior faculty fellow for online learning and OAC co-chair. “Our faculty are deeply dedicated to creating exceptional opportunities to serve fully online students. We are committed to partner with them to co-create a supportive environment to increase the reach of high-quality education across our state and region.”

A related but separate project will promote a dozen CU-wide online programs in fall 2020 and spring 2021. A one-time marketing campaign will provide the campuses with additional resources to bolster enrollments in these 12 existing programs, and was made possible through support from the president. This project is also helping to gauge market demand for these programs and assist ODE in scaling up to serve all campuses.

The All Four: CU Online website for the broader initiative details the membership, goals and activities of the OAC and its five working groups (Academic, Finance, Information Technology, Online Services and Marketing/Communication). It also has an FAQ section. The OAC is co-chaired by Bull and Scot Chadwick, interim associate vice president of online learning. Its charge is to recommend and endorse the infrastructure for the design, development and delivery of high-quality, sustainable online programs that align with CU’s mission.

“CU’s educational quality and degree reputation are guiding principles for the project and key differentiators for our university in the marketplace,” Kennedy said.

The website invites feedback from the university community on the initiative.

For internal purposes, the project will be known as All Four: CU Online in keeping with the systemwide nature of the effort, mirroring the university’s systemwide marketing effort of the past four years. For external marketing and enrollment purposes, what faces the public and current and potential students is CU Online. CU has an RFP posted to engage a firm to help with the program’s long-term branding and marketing.

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Regents approve $4.54 billion system budget

Board of Regents

The CU Board of Regents last week unanimously voted to approve a $4.54 billion budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, am amount 5.3% less than the previous annual budget for the university system.

The budget as proposed by administration was presented by Todd Saliman, vice president of budget and finance and chief financial officer, during the board’s June 18 meeting, which was held remotely and livestreamed. Video of the meeting is posted here.

The budgets by campus and system administration, with percentage cuts compared to the 2019-20 fiscal year:

  • CU Boulder, $1.86 billion, down 2.1%
  • UCCS, $244.7 million, down 9.9%
  • CU Denver, $300.4 million, down 9%
  • CU Anschutz Medical Campus, $2.14 billion, down 6.8%
  • System administration, $197.2 million, down 2.1%

The budget reflects the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with projected revenue losses and additional costs incurred because of COVID-19. CARES Act funds to be spent in 2020-21 account for 3.4% of the university’s total expenditures. The state’s budget for 2020-21 includes a one-time cut of $140 million to CU.

Saliman noted that CU’s budget is based on current enrollment expectations, and that mid-year adjustments to the budget may be necessary depending on final fall enrollment figures. The board will be updated on enrollment at the September meeting.

The university will save over $1 million via furloughs and position controls – not hiring to replace vacation positions – affecting 7,708 university employees. The vast majority of those are employees taking one or two furlough days per month.

Additional actions affecting employees – such as periodic and extended furloughs, position eliminations, further hiring delays and layoffs – might be necessary depending on whether greater revenue shortfalls take place during the year. Plans vary across the campuses.

In other business at the June 18 Board of Regents meeting:

  • Regent Jack Kroll introduced a resolution listing eight immediate action steps for the university to take “to ensure a system that is fair, equitable, and accountable for all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.” The board first voted 5-4 to table the resolution, then voted 6-3 to refer the resolution to its University Affairs and Governance committees for further review and opportunities to hear input from members of the university community.
  • CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell updated the board on CU Denver and CU Anschutz Medical Campus’ pursuit of federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institute. The designation – which is awarded to institutions with a 25% or higher full-time equivalent (FTE) Hispanic student population, as well as other considerations – results in additional federal funding. Horrell said the institution is on track for submitting a final application to the Department of Education in January.
  • Regent John Carson asked that the Governance Committee consider a recommendation that during the hiring process for such posts as chancellors, provosts and deans, search committees consist of no more than 50% university employees. The committee will review the resolution before it comes to the full board in September.
  • The board passed a resolution honoring Dorothy Horrell as Chancellor Emerita of CU Denver. “Thank you to the Board of Regents for your belief in me and your support for CU Denver,” said Horrell, who retires at the end of this month after four and a half years at the helm. “I believe passionately in that place. I think CU Denver matters more than ever.” The board also granted the title of Vice President, University Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Regents Emeritus to Dan Wilkerson, whose interim role concludes at the end of this month. He was honored with a resolution of appreciation, as was Anna Gordon-Norby, outgoing chair of the Intercampus Student Forum (ICSF).
  • The board voted to approve five new degrees at CU Boulder. Read more in CU Boulder Today.
  • The board approved two new graduate certificate programs and two new undergraduate certificate programs at UCCS.
  • The board approved plans for a $9.98 million renovation of the Fitzsimons Building at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
  • The Board of Regents approved 83 tenure awards and appointments.
  • The board voted for leadership for the coming year. Glen Gallegos was re-elected chair by acclamation. Lesley Smith was elected vice chair, also by acclamation, to succeed Irene Griego, who will leave the board when her term expires in January.

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Understanding your privacy, personal data on LinkedIn Learning

Last September, CU upgraded to LinkedIn Learning and expanded access to all employees and students. This online learning platform allows users to take advantage of thousands of courses, videos and certification practice content to expand their professional skill set.

One perk of this platform is the ability to connect your personal LinkedIn profile with LinkedIn Learning. By doing so, a learner will receive personalized course recommendations based on their job title or major and self-identified skills. After completing a course, you can add a badge of completion to your profile and share it with others through LinkedIn.

Bridging the gap between your personal social media and your career can be intimidating. You deserve to know who can view your data, and how much information they can see, when using LinkedIn Learning and LinkedIn. There is a limited amount of data the CU administrators on LinkedIn Learning can see for each user.

What can CU see?

For both employees and students, the University of Colorado’s LinkedIn administrators can see the following information:

  • All learning activities, such as courses viewed or completed, on an individual basis.
  • Profile information including name, work title and profile photo (NOTE: This applies only if a profile is connected). 
  • Any courses from a personal account that have been transferred to a CU-affiliated LinkedIn Learning account.

What can CU not see?

If a LinkedIn profile is connected to CU’s LinkedIn Learning platform, activity from the private LinkedIn profile will not be shared. This includes:

  • Connections
  • Private messages
  • Any job search activity, including viewed job posts
  • Any learning courses viewed in the personal account

Learn more about connecting your profile to LinkedIn Learning, and your privacy settings on LinkedIn, here.

If you have any additional questions about your data and information, please email

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President Kennedy on racial injustice, Supreme Court’s discrimination ruling

CU President Mark Kennedy

CU President Mark Kennedy

CU President Mark Kennedy says recent social justice protests and the events that inspired them can inform and guide the university community as it moves forward.

“As a higher education institution, we have a special obligation to confront racism,” Kennedy wrote in a communication to the CU community. “Teaching and research, and understanding ourselves, our communities and the physical world, and sharing those understandings is our reason for being.”

Kennedy wrote that he is challenging himself and the entire CU community to recommit to the work ahead.

“And I ask us all to be what we encourage our students, faculty and staff to be – lifelong learners. And in addition to being lifelong learners about history or engineering or the arts, we must be lifelong learners about issues of justice, equality and inclusion. I am confident that by working together, we can make a difference, just as our university has for nearly a century and a half.”

Kennedy also posted a new video that elaborates on the message and describes “actions we’re taking to be the university our students, state and nation need now and in the future.”

Monday’s news that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees also inspired a statement from President Kennedy:

“The decision (Monday) by the United States Supreme Court that civil rights law barring sex discrimination in the workplace applies to gay, lesbian and transgender workers affirms and aligns with the University of Colorado’s values, as well as with its policies that protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Our people are our most important asset at CU, and this decision confirms what we have always believed and have codified in university policy – that discrimination has no place at our university.”

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Regents to vote today on 2020-21 budget

CU Board of Regents

The CU Board of Regents will meet today to vote on the university’s FY 2020-21 budget, which is expected to reflect steep cuts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting will be conducted remotely via Zoom and livestreamed here. The public portion of the meeting, which follows an executive session, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

The board last month voted to hold tuition flat and to eliminate compensation increases for faculty and staff. Pay cuts via furlough and some layoffs have since been announced across the system. State lawmakers this week set next year’s budget, which must be approved by the governor to take effect July 1. The legislature’s “long bill” calls for a $3.3 billion cut from the $13 billion general fund; state higher education institutions’ share of the cut is $598 million.

Today’s agenda also has the regents considering recommended changes to laws and policies, the approval of new degrees and certificates at CU Boulder and UCCS, an update on CU Denver’s pursuit of designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and the election of board chair and vice chair for the coming year.