CSU community celebrates launch of Courageous Strategic Transformation plan

Video by Ben Ward

Empathy. Inclusive excellence. Budget reform. Sustainability. Student access and success.

These were some of the themes that emerged as Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell laid out the Courageous Strategic Transformation plan at a kickoff event March 1 in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

After presenting the new strategic plan to almost 200 people attending in person and another 500 who watched remotely, McConnell sat down with Vice President for Strategy Jenelle Beavers to field questions in a discussion moderated by College of Liberal Arts Dean Ben Withers.

McConnell thanked the leaders and drafting groups who helped craft the plan with input from thousands of CSU community members over recent months.

“What you see in the Courageous Strategic Transformation today is the product of all the great minds and great hearts coming together to figure out what we can do from this point on,” she said.

Photos by Hannah Tran

Four key areas

McConnell laid out the four main areas of the plan: people, financial and operational excellence, innovation and impact. Several related themes emerged from the process, McConnell said, citing curiosity, engagement, the concept of thriving, the Principles of Community and excellence.

“We want to be driven by what’s going on in the world and finding solutions,” she said. “We’re going to become the greatest land-grant university in the country.”

During the Q&A, Beavers acknowledged that the idea of creating a strategic plan during a pandemic seemed daunting at first, but it revealed that the CSU community shares the same values. McConnell said the campus had an extraordinary response to dealing with the uncertainties of COVID-19, and it required authenticity, transparency and communication to get through it. She said it also called for empathy, grace and accommodation, as many were working as well as educating their kids at home.

When asked what they hope to see a year from now, McConnell and Beavers predicted progress on budget reform and the academic master plan, as well as a more interdisciplinary mindset and increasingly competitive salaries and graduate stipends.

Photos by Joe Mendoza

Similar to commencement

Withers described this moment as a kind of commencement: both an ending and a beginning, as the campus finalizes its strategic plan and starts to implement it.

McConnell said the Courageous Strategic Transformation will be an ongoing, long-term endeavor.

“I am inviting all of you to be committed participants in this process going forward,” she said, adding that it will require periodic reviews — and celebrations. “We don’t do enough celebrating.”

McConnell concluded by saying, “There is greatness here, and greatness to achieve, and we’re all ready to do this together.”

More information about the plan is available at courageous.colostate.edu, and a series of guest Q&A columns can be found on SOURCE.