Role of the President as Described in Colorado Law and Regent Policy: As described in Colorado law and Regent Policy 3.A, the president of the University of Colorado (CU) reports to the Board of Regents, is the principal executive officer of the university, is a member of the faculty, and carries out the policies and programs of the Board of Regents.

As the principal executive officer, the president is responsible for the academic, administrative, and fiscal matters of the university and for compliance of all university matters with applicable regent laws and policies and state and federal constitutions, laws, and regulations. The president shall be the arbiter in case of intra-university conflicts. The president may delegate the responsibility of university academic, administrative, and fiscal operations, so long as the delegation is consistent with other federal and state law and university laws and policies.

The president is the chief academic officer of the university and a member of its faculty. As chief academic officer, the president is responsible for providing academic leadership for the university in meeting the needs of the state. The president maintains and advances the academic policies of the university.

The president is the chief spokesperson for the university – and interpreter of university policy – and represents and interprets the roles, goals, and needs of CU throughout the state of Colorado and beyond.

The president is an ex officio member of the Faculty Council and is president of the Faculty Senate. 

The president is authorized: (1) to approve appointments and any subsequent related changes, including salaries, in accordance with the delegation of personnel authority approved by the Board of Regents; and (2) to accept, on behalf of the Board of Regents, resignations of university employees, except: the Vice President, University Counsel, and Secretary of the Board of Regents; Treasurer; and Associate Vice President of Internal Audit.

The president is authorized to enter into and execute contracts on behalf of the university without the prior approval of the Board of Regents, except as may be limited by law, or when the Board of Regents has expressly provided otherwise for a specific contract or category of contracts.

The president shall advise the Board of Regents of matters it should consider in meeting its policy-making responsibilities. 

Duties: To perform the duties of the presidency, a candidate must be able to serve as the chief executive officer of a diverse and complex organization and possess the skills necessary to oversee a system of four campuses, serving more than 67,000 students and some 24,000 employees. The combined budget of the CU system is more than $5.2 billion, and CU conducts high-level research across many disciplines. The president works proactively and collaboratively with the Board of Regents, helps increase CU’s resources, builds collaborative partnerships with public and private sector entities, and assists CU in navigating a changing higher education environment. CU is more than an institution of higher education. For almost 150 years, it has served the people of the State of Colorado and contributed to its successes. CU generates an economic impact of more than $14 billion annually in Colorado, and the president serves as CU’s chief ambassador to the local, regional, national, and international communities.

As such, the Board of Regents believes that candidates for the presidency must demonstrate the ability to perform the following functions:

  • The president directly reports to the Board of Regents, an elected governing board with the responsibility to ensure the university fulfills its mission and advances the interests of the State of Colorado. The president must be a collaborative leader with the Board of Regents and other university leaders to develop and implement both short-term goals and long-term and system-wide strategic initiatives. 
  • The president is responsible for carrying out board-approved policies and initiatives. The president is responsible for advancing the board’s policies promoting and creating accountability in diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating financial accountability, protecting freedom of expression and academic freedom, and ensuring access and equity in the educational environment. The president is responsible for ensuring engagement and collaboration between the board and administration and for ensuring the board is appropriately supported.
  • The president sets the direction for the CU system and its campuses and is responsible for creating a culture of ethics, accountability, transparency, and integrity. In an era where some question the value of higher education and whether colleges and universities are serving their missions, the president must lead, create a culturally responsive community that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion, place ethics at the forefront of CU’s culture, promote research, teaching, service, and intellectual integrity, address problems when they arise, and above all, earn the trust of those whom CU educates, employs, and serves. The president must be capable of creating a collaborative environment within the complex CU system.
  • The chancellors of the four CU campuses report to the president and serve as the chief executive and academic officers of their campuses. Working in concert with the regents, the president is responsible for defining and implementing the vision and goals for the university system and overseeing the chancellors’ performance in working toward those goals. The Board of Regents expects the president to identify the areas where opportunities exist for collaboration among the campuses and foster those opportunities.
  • The president leads a leadership team that oversees system-level functions, including academic affairs, advancement, budget and finance, the CU Health Plan, diversity, equity, and inclusion, employee services, government relations, information security, policy and efficiency, procurement services, controller, University Counsel, university services, university relations, communications, and risk management. The Board of Regents expects the president to define the goals and expectations for the vice presidents’ performance and oversee and evaluate their work in service of the vision and goals of the CU system.
  • The president’s role is akin to the chief executive of a complex enterprise with several interrelated divisions. The chancellors serve as the chief executive and academic officers of a single campus, and the role of the president is not limited to oversight of the campuses. The president must oversee the CU system, identify major system level opportunities and risks, and coordinate CU’s efforts to serve the State of Colorado and beyond.
  • The president must lead and support the University’s affiliation and partnership with a major regional medical provider network that is fundamentally integrated with the university’s medical campus.
  • The president serves as the chief academic officer of the University. Teaching and research are critical functions of higher education, and the president must advance the academic interests of the university, promote CU’s role as a leading research university, and serve as an advocate for expanding access to higher education. The president’s experiences should lend themselves toward understanding the unique issues of higher education and a commitment to maintaining culturally responsive approach to free inquiry and academic discourse.
  • The president must be capable of overseeing the operation of a system of differentiated campuses and have a demonstrated record of leading complex organizations, whether public or private, and balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders. The president must understand, value, and support the unique natures and needs of each of the campuses.
  • The president must be able to adapt to a higher education environment that is rapidly changing, becoming more globalized, and increasingly using technology - including online and digital education - to expand educational opportunities in response to an increasingly diverse Colorado population. The president must be able to lead change and innovation both in Colorado and in the national and global communities. The president must be able to challenge the university to consider new models for how it conducts its operations, delivers education, and advances knowledge. The Regents expect that the president will position CU to lead innovation in higher education.
  • The president is CU’s chief spokesperson and represents the university to internal and external constituents.
  • The president is a leader across the state educational community and champions the cause of higher education with local, state, and federal officials, as well as business, community and non-profit leaders. The president engages with elected officials and policymakers at the state and federal level in a nonpartisan manner, as well as with senior leaders and state officials who are concerned with public higher education. The president also engages with the private sector and interacts with CU’s alumni, donors, partners, and affiliates. The president must be able to facilitate collaboration and partnerships between public and private entities, and assist in solving the challenges our diverse communities face. 
  • The president must be prepared to confront the financial challenges facing higher education. Despite low state funding, in recent years CU has limited tuition increases and sought out efficiencies. As higher education evolves, the president must effectively communicate CU’s mission, build and strengthen relationships within CU and with our strategic partners, generate public support for higher education, and advance CU’s research and philanthropic efforts in ways that increase access.
  • The president supports major fundraising initiatives for the university and fosters relationships with the philanthropic community, in collaboration with the campus chancellors where necessary. Fundraising enables CU to fulfill its mission, invest in key initiatives, and provide opportunities to students, staff, and faculty.
  • The president serves as a key stakeholder in the shared governance processes that are a guiding principle of the university. Recognizing that people are its most valuable asset, and the university cannot advance research and knowledge without their contributions, the president serves as the conduit between the governance groups and the Board of Regents on matters of interest to the university community.

Scope of Search: The Board of Regents anticipates that the presidential search will be national in scope. The Board of Regents welcomes candidates from within the university and the State of Colorado. The search will be conducted in accordance with Regent Policy 3.C.

Search Firm: The Board of Regents has retained Storbeck Search to serve as its executive search consultant in the presidential search. The Board of Regents anticipates that the Presidential Search Committee will work closely with Storbeck Search as it identifies and solicits nominations for the presidency. Any person who wishes to nominate a person for the presidency may submit a nomination in confidence to

Equal Employment Opportunity: The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. The university takes affirmative action to increase ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity; to employ qualified individuals with disabilities; and to provide equal opportunity to all students and employees. The Board of Regents welcomes and expects deliberate outreach to candidates of diverse perspective, experiences, and backgrounds for the presidency.

Target Dates and Coordination with the Board of Regents: The Board of Regents anticipates that it will receive regular reporting from Presidential Search Committee on the status of the search. As required by regent policy, the search committee, through the search committee chair and vice chair, should review the qualification of the candidates with the Board of Regents before inviting candidates for initial interviews, consult with the Board of Regents on the qualification of candidates that it recommends to the Board of Regents, and advise it of all pertinent developments as the search progresses. The Board of Regents anticipates that the presidential search will formally commence in December 2021, that the search committee leadership will meet with the Board of Regents to review candidates in early 2022, and that the Presidential Search Committee will recommend candidates to the Board of Regents by April 2022. The Board of Regents will not receive information related to any candidates not recommended by the Search Committee.

Number of Candidates to Be Recommended to Board of Regents: The Board of Regents charges the Presidential Search Committee to recommend a minimum of five unranked candidates.

Arrangements for University Visits: Candidate travel related to the search shall be coordinated through Storbeck Search, with assistance from the Board of Regents’ office as applicable.

Confidentiality: The Board of Regents charges the search committee with maintaining the confidentiality of candidates during the course of its activities. Accordingly, throughout the process, and forever after, the Presidential Search Committee and its staff will commit to complete confidentiality as to the names of the candidates, the nature of the committee’s deliberations, and the details pertaining to the selection. Only the committee chair or university spokesperson (with media) will comment outside committee meetings on any aspect of the search.