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Communique items for Nov. 11

Veterans’ Day. Today is officially Veterans’ Day, a day set aside to honor those who have served our nation. But there’s more to the day than flags, parades, and, for some, a day off.  Following the Nov. 11, 1918 signing of the truce ending “The War to End All Wars” (aka World War I), Americans celebrated Nov. 11 as Armistice Day.  In 1938, Congress made it official, declaring that Nov. 11 “shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace.” By 1954, following WWII and the Korean Conflict, the name changed from Armistice to Veterans’ Day and President Dwight Eisenhower called on U.S. citizens to remember the sacrifices of those who had fought and to dedicate themselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace. More than fifty years, and countless conflicts since Eisenhower’s decree, these remain worthy goals.

Minority student achievement: putting talk into action. Minority high school students are not achieving academically at the same rates as majority students. But is anyone doing anything about it? A Gazette story this week connecting achievement gaps and economic woes came as no surprise to La Vonne Neal, dean, College of Education. But Neal and College of Education faculty plan to do more than read the newspaper. An in-progress overhaul of the College of Education curriculum aims to improve the cultural competency of teachers, allowing them to better connect with students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to improve student academic performance. With less than 50 perecent of African-American and Hispanic men graduating from high school, an economic, social and societal crisis faces the U.S., Neal says. But there’s no hand-wringing for the action-oriented dean whose mantra is “intention without action is insufficient.”

To see the Gazette story, visit http://www.uccs.edu/%7Eur/media/mediawatch/view_article.php?y=mediawatch_articles&article_id=14627

We’ve got spirit, how about you? Concepts of “casual day” and support for Mountain Lion athletics intersected this week, emerging as an idea for designating specific Fridays for UCCS faculty and staff to shed business apparel for Mountain Lion and UCCS-related garb. A designated day, as well as apparel discounts at the campus Bookstore, will be announced.

A few more good ideas. Rogers Redding, vice chancellor, Academic Affairs, issued an invitation to the campus this week to participate in development of the Academic Strategic Plan. Called a “campus conversation,” Redding encouraged faculty and staff to speak up in discussions about what programs should be added at UCCS to meet the needs of students and the regional community. A series of conversations are planned. The first will be at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 in UC 303.

CU Foundation audited. A state audit of the activities of the CU Foundation provided fodder for Denver and Boulder newspaper headlines but was seen by CU President Hank Brown as an opportunity for a “new beginning.” Additionally, those who have read the audit report say the only mention of UCCS was to acknowledge that it is one of three CU campuses. To see President Brown’s take on the audit, visit http://www.cu.edu/news/releases/State_Audit_Press_Release.htm.

The new North Nevada. By unanimous vote Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council voted to provide financing for redevelopment of North Nevada Avenue from Garden of the Gods north to I-25. The decision paves the way – literally – for retail developments such as Costco and Lowe’s as well as smaller outlets that will complement the campus. Stores likely will not open until fall 2007 but you can see the council’s deliberations (and favorable comments about UCCS) much sooner.  At  6 p.m. tonight, or again on Monday, the council meeting will be broadcast on Channel 18 (Adelphia). To see the Gazette’s coverage of the council’s action, visit http://www.uccs.edu/%7Eur/media/mediawatch/view_article.php?y=mediawatch_articles&article_id=14679

Referendum C impact. The passage of Referendum C and the redevelopment of North Nevada may be separate issues but they are linked like coal cars on a southbound Santa Fe. While Referendum C maintains state funding for UCCS, North Nevada’s redevelopment could encourage development of university property on the east side of the city thoroughfare. Meetings began this week to explore the possibility of a research park’s construction on university property. The concept of a research park is under consideration to diversify the university’s revenues, making it less dependent on state support.

Referendum C part 2. Passage of Referendum C provides additional funding for higher education in the state. But how will the money be divided? The Colorado Commission on Higher Education made announcements this week regarding higher education budgets and tuition rates charged to students. But Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak warned against placing too much weight on such early reports. Final decisions will be made by the Colorado General Assembly which convenes in January and will set budgets sometime this spring. Budgets, and the impact of Referendum C, will also be discussed at a Nov. 21 retreat of the CU Board of Regents. The meeting will be at the Wyndham Hotel, Colorado Springs.

Joining forces. UCCS will team with the U.S. Army – specifically the Department of Facilities Services and Fort Carson – to share information on making campuses (and military bases) sustainable. An official memorandum of understanding was signed Nov. 9 that calls for the two organizations to work cooperatively with a goal of achieving sustainability and environmental objectives. Fort Carson is considered a leader in sustainability efforts, according to Dave Schnabel, director, Facilities Services. Examples of Fort Carson’s efforts include using construction techniques that make buildings more energy efficient and a post recycling program. As part of the Inventing the Future effort, UCCS has identified several similar goals.

Volunteer opportunities

            Want to change a child’s life? The Children’s Literacy Center seeks volunteers to provide one-on-one reading tutoring for children in grades 1-6 from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. To help, call Rosanna Myers Czarnecki, 471-8672, or rosanna@peakreader.org

            Want to make a needy family’s holiday spirits bright? The annual campus Holiday Service Project is underway. Faculty and staff may “adopt” a needy family, contribute toys, food or household products to a “Holidrop” box, purchase a small gift as part of a “Giving Tree” or make a cash donation. Contact your building coordinator or Samantha Villarreal, 262-3386, svillarr@uccs.edu, and Deidre Green, 262-4486, dgreen@uccs.edu.

Finding your way. While not all who wander may not be lost, getting to campus via traditional routes may prove frustrating in the next few weeks as a new campus entrance from Austin Bluffs Parkway is constructed. Facilities Services has suggested alternate routes. Visit http://web.uccs.edlu/facplng/docs/uccs-access.pdf to see the suggestions.

Want to know what’s happening on campus? Want others to know about your event? Try the UCCS Event Calendar at http://tle2.uccs.edu/webcal/month.php. It’s a free and convenient way to let people know about your campus event.

Communique is the on-line newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly and sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available at http://web.uccs.edu/ur/communique.htm. Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to ur@uccs.edu or call Tom Hutton, 262-3439