August 26, 2015

Wall Street Journal: President Benson talks about CU as a model university

Nearly 50 years in business, beginning in oil and gas exploration, taught me that tough economic times force measures you should be taking anyway. The recession’s silver lining was the opportunity to introduce a more fiscally responsible institutional mind-set. We took a three-pronged approach: find efficiencies, build collaboration and generate new revenue.

Universities aren’t known for economic efficiency, and prerecession CU was no different—which meant there were plenty of cost savings to be found throughout the system. In fiscal 2010-11, we streamlined bureaucracy and let go of 148 administrative staff—a painful down-sizing for some, yes, but a right-sizing for the school that helped preserve many other jobs. After hearing about CU’s dire financial situation, about a quarter of the faculty volunteered to teach one additional course for modest compensation increases of about $4,000 each.