University of Colorado presidential finalist Todd Saliman visited the CU Anschutz Medical Campus on April 21 in the final stop of a four-campus tour.
Saliman, who was unanimously selected on April 12 as the sole presidential finalist after an extensive search process, held forums with faculty, students and staff on CU’s other three campuses earlier in the week. He has been serving as interim president for the university since July 2021.
Introduced by Board of Regents Chair Jack Kroll and Vice Chair Sue Sharkey, Saliman spoke and answered questions for an hour, laying out his vision and strategic direction for the University of Colorado system and its four campuses.
His opening remarks focused on five important areas for the university: research; student success and teaching; diversity, equity and inclusion; community work in serving the people of Colorado; and the university’s clinical and healthcare mission.
"Sometimes people refer to CU Anschutz – and all of our campuses – as the ‘best kept secret’ in the country. I’m not so interested in being a secret anymore,” Saliman said. “We need to do more to talk about the good work we’re doing and brag about the good work we’re doing."
Saliman was particularly focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, highlighting the work done to date and noting how the Campus and Workplace Culture Survey conducted on each campus will inform future efforts.
"What I think of when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion is Colorado and the name of our institution: the University of Colorado. It's not the ‘University of a Portion of Colorado.’ It's our job to reflect the diversity of this great state. We have a lot of work to do in that area."
Points from question-and-answer session
When asked if he had a vision for CU Anschutz, Saliman replied that the campus has strategic initiatives and that his role would be “to listen to the campus and work alongside it to implement change.”
CU presidential finalist Todd Saliman and Board of Regents Vice Chair Sue Sharkey at the CU Anschutz campus forum on April 21.
Part of that change includes supporting the research enterprise at CU Anschutz, he said, pointing to areas of federal research funding the university has not traditionally pursued, such as the Department of Defense. The path forward should include working with faculty and staff to pursue these new areas of funding, he said.
"When we talk about funded research specifically, we should be very proud at CU Anschutz and the CU system – the CU system is ranked 10th nationally when it comes to research funding when it comes to all the public higher education systems. We need to build on that success."
Saliman said he also wants to see more focus placed on recruitment, retention and compensation – noting especially the impact of inflation – so faculty have the support they need to conduct their research.
"Research doesn't just happen. It’s excellent faculty that do excellent research. As we work to develop and grow our research enterprise, it means we need to retain the current excellent faculty that we have and attract additional faculty to grow our work in this space."
To a question on enrollment, Saliman noted how CU Anschutz differs from the university’s other campuses with overall strong numbers but slower growth. Saliman said he supports a dedicated focus on attracting more first-generation students into the health sciences – particularly through pre-collegiate programs.
Saliman also touched on the need to build consensus among the university community and Colorado at large to advocate for increases in state funding for higher education.
The CU Anschutz campus community can provide feedback on Saliman’s candidacy to the Board of Regents until 5 p.m. on April 26. The regents will take all feedback into consideration prior to meeting to elect a new president the last week of April.
Banner photo, from left to right: Board of Regents Chair Jack Kroll and Vice Chair Sue Sharkey, CU presidential finalist Todd Saliman and CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman.