Courageous Strategic Transformation gets thumbs-up from Board of Governors

CSU Board of Governors logo with black outlineColorado State University’s plan for Courageous Strategic Transformation received the endorsement of the CSU System Board of Governors at the Board’s May 3-4 meeting, as the University moves forward in implementing the broad-reaching strategic plan.

Board members indicated their support following a presentation from President Joyce McConnell, sharing information about the Courageous Strategic Transformation plan, including a collection of metrics that will be used to measure progress. Those indicators are in areas such as enrollment; student success in retention and graduation; employee headcount by ethnicity and net promoter score; CSU’s U.S. News institutional and AASHE sustainability rankings; research expenditures; number of research team awards; number of donors; and participation in learning, research and engagement at other locations.

Creating the new five-year strategic plan has been a campus-wide effort led by McConnell. The process of creating Courageous Strategic Transformation started in Fall 2020 and continued in earnest throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to do this in such a way that we honor who we are and our long legacy, take our areas of excellence that we knew we can rely on, and then elevate them and integrate them,” President McConnell said.

Courageous Strategic Transformation identifies four key areas of focus, each with several top priorities and an overarching goal:

  • People and Culture: Creating a thriving and inclusive community.
  • Financial and Operational Excellence: Ensuring a sustainable foundation for growth and inspiration.
  • Innovation: Driving innovation in learning, discovery and engagement.
  • Impact: Serving our community locally and globally.

“We’re supportive of CSU Fort Collins’ plan, and we wish you and your team all good luck in making sure that the things that you’ve identified as most important to the university strategy, that those things come to pass,” said Board Chair Kim Jordan. “Thank you very much for all of the time that you and your team have put into this.”

Budget proposal balances increases in pay and tuition

The Board heard CSU’s proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year which begins July 1. The budget blends CSU’s commitments to provide pay increases for faculty, staff and graduate students, while limiting tuition increases, and aligning the budget with the priorities of Courageous Strategic Transformation.

The proposed budget includes,

  • A 3% pay increase for graduate teaching and research assistant stipends.
  • A faculty and administrative professional salary merit pool increase of 3%.
  • A 3% pay increase for state classified staff, planned and ratified by the Colorado legislature earlier this spring.
  • A 2% tuition increase for resident undergraduate ($97.10 per semester) and a 3% increase for non-resident undergraduate students ($434.85 per semester).

Following the Board meeting, McConnell shared a summary of the endorsement of Courageous Strategic Transformation and the budget discussion in a May 6 email to the CSU community.

“These plans recognize the talent, dedication, and hard work of our world-class employees and represent an important step to align Colorado State with our institutional peers,” McConnell wrote in the email, while also emphasizing the attention to keep tuition as affordable as possible. “We fully recognize that tuition increases will have a financial impact on our students, however we believe this modest increase is imperative for Colorado State to continue to deliver on its mission of education, research, and service to the people of Colorado. We made a conscious decision to keep graduate tuition flat to help amplify the impacts of the increased stipends.”

Read McConnell’s full email here. The Board will finalize the FY2022-23 budget in June.

Other meeting highlights

  • Parking – The Board approved changes to the parking fee structure on the Fort Collins campus that will go into effect July 1. The plan creates a “bundle and save” pricing structure aiming to minimize rate increases for annual permits, provide additional permit options — including a new nine-month academic year commuter permit for faculty and staff — and continue the discounted daily hangtag program, while also incentivizing outlying parking areas supported by Around the Horn campus shuttle. The parking website has been updated with the new rates.
  • Excellence in Teaching award – The Board recognized Elizabeth Sink with the Excellence in Teaching award. Sink is a Master Teaching Instructor with 18 years of experience teaching in the Department of Communications Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Student representative report – ASCSU President Christian Dykson highlighted student-inspired initiatives, including installing more covered bus shelters, establishing a university lounge for graduate students, re-establishing the transportation services for CSU’s disabled students, and enhancing physical accessibility on campus. Dykson also described numerous outcomes of this year’s ASCSU efforts, including establishing a shuttle discount code for students to get to Denver International Airport, a campaign promoting more affordable housing options for students, funding of 5,000 bicycle u-locks for students, and ASCSU joining the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dykson also welcomed the incoming student representative ASCSU President Rob Long and Vice President Elijah Sandoval.

  • Faculty Representative report – Professor Melinda Smith emphasized the need for continuing attention to increasing faculty pay and stipends for graduate students. She also shared a resolution by Faculty Council stating commitment to freedom of expression.
  • Smith welcomed Professor Andrew Norton as the incoming faculty representative for the coming year 2022-23.
  • Annual reports from CSU Foundation and University Advancement, and the CSU Alumni Association
  • Board members attended the opening of the Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building.

Information about all meetings of the CSU Board of Governors is on the CSU System website. Final meeting materials are typically posted within a week of each meeting.