In March of 2013, University of the Rockies opened its second campus site in Denver, Colorado. A leading graduate school in the social behavioral sciences, the Denver location was opened to provide a home for the School of Organizational Leadership, while the University’s campus in Colorado Springs would remain home to the School of Professional Psychology. The new, exciting expansion would give University of the Rockies a stronger regional presence and help it better serve its rapidly growing student population.
The University needed to find ways to welcome new students and a new academic modality to the Denver area. To meet this challenge, the University engaged its Diversity Office to implement a series of initiatives to foster a welcoming environment and celebrate the University’s core values of service, integrity, diversity, and excellence. Thus the “One University” initiative was born.
To launch the initiative, the Diversity Office called upon a team of creative, artistic employees to design a unity mural. The mural was created in tiles so that every staff member could participate and leave their legacy. Other initiatives included a mission contest to showcase the multitude of interpretations of the University’s mission, and a “Living with Integrity” award for individuals to nominate those who demonstrate integrity in every aspect of their work. Staff member training was developed and, for students, the University hosted open houses and increased support services.
“Since the opening of our Denver location, our teams and executive leadership have hosted weekly sessions with students to gather suggestions and ideas that will help us continue to grow our efforts to be more inclusive,” says Francesca Galarraga, Director of Diversity for the University. “We know how important it is for people to feel they are valued. It is our goal to give every individual—students and staff alike—an opportunity to contribute and make the University of the Rockies a more inviting place to learn and work.”
The results of these activities are evident through the attitudes, engagement, and enthusiastic support of the new location. Results are measured formally through the University’s Climate Assessment, a Gallup™ Inclusiveness Index, and a Collaboration survey which takes into account students’ feedback in course evaluations.