Spring arrives amid stability and flux
Springtime in Colorado brings its familiar sequences of heavy snow and balmy days. Here in Boulder, other trappings of spring appear: the Conference on World Affairs coincides with students’ feverish push toward the end of the semester, for instance.
These rites of spring remind us of the university’s strength and continuity, which remain even as we confront unusual challenges.
In this issue of the magazine, you’ll find stories about a range of accomplishments from some of our outstanding faculty, students and alumni:
For instance, well before the January earthquake in Haiti, a CU seismologist was warning that the most rapid growth of population and poorly constructed buildings is occurring in some of the most quake-prone areas of the world—paving the way for quake-induced disasters that could kill millions.
A CU political scientist has found startling evidence that U.S. Supreme Court justices indicate—or ’signal’—their priorities and preferences to potential litigants, and four to six years later, the justices receive the cases they requested. Using statistical evidence from 1953 to 2000, she and her colleagues have also found that certain ’signals’ can help overturn previous rulings when litigants reframe cases in ways the signaling justices suggest.
CU researchers are helping to explain why that for many women, high-powered careers provide little respite from home-related work. While women have made great strides in the career world, people still hold measurable expectations that career women bear more child-rearing and household responsibilities than equally employed men, they find.
And a CU professor of geography has spent years, with the help of a National Science Foundation grant, studying the aftermath of two war-torn regions: Bosnia and the North Caucasus. He finds geographically varying levels of environmental destruction, forgiveness and repatriation, along with disparate prospects for peace. He is confident that Bosnia won’t erupt again, but, “in the Caucasus, I don’t see any end to conflict at all.”
These are just samples of the important, engaging and inspiring developments within our college. It is nonetheless important to acknowledge our looming fiscal challenges.
Because of the economic downturn, the state of Colorado’s reductions to next year’s instruction budgets for the Boulder campus may approach $10 million. The College of Arts and Sciences anticipates reducing our expenses next year by $2 million, with perhaps a similar reduction the following year.
As this is written, we are still in the process of identifying the educational programs and activities we will have to end, suspend or modify, effective next fall. Larger class sizes and fewer curricular choices appear to be two of the consequences that we can expect.
As always, we are mindful of the fact that we are stewards of the oldest and largest college at the university. We will continue to strive to protect the quality of our most important programs and to minimize the impact of these budget adjustments on students, whom we are committed to serve, and society, which we are obliged to preserve.
We are always grateful to those who support our academic programs, facilities and scholarships. Our fiscal constraints underscore the fact that your contributions are more critically needed and deeply appreciated than ever. Thank you for your continued support.
Todd T. Gleeson