In today’s “Five Minutes with SOURCE,” Faculty Council Chair Sue Doe sat down to discuss her role in the Courageous Strategic Transformation plan and its impact across Colorado State University.
You were involved in the development of Courageous Strategic Transformation yourself and also worked closely with the President’s Office to make sure that Faculty Council had input and faculty voices were heard. How did that happen?
Faculty were involved in the creation of the Courageous Strategic Transformation plan at various critical points, including as members of the drafting groups that developed goals in key areas, through a Special Session of the Faculty Council in March 2021, and through the Executive Committee’s participation in a post-drafting group synthesis session in which we reviewed and distilled recommendations from the various drafting groups.
Where are some places where you see faculty input most powerfully realized in the final plan?
The plan’s central commitment to ecological sustainability, interdisciplinarity, and human flourishing speaks to existing strengths at CSU in all areas of faculty work: research, teaching, service, and engagement. We can certainly see our faculty input in that central commitment, because we know our faculty are tackling challenging issues of planetary, animal and human health, while also upholding socially just practices and outcomes as articulated in our Principles of Community. Faculty input can also be clearly seen in the explicit statement about the relevance of all disciplines to learning and discovery.
Our faculty are looking forward to being engaged in the implementation of a Courageous Strategic Transformation plan in which they can see themselves involved in the central concerns of the University. In turn, they see through the plan a university that is increasingly cognizant of the contributions faculty make to our central missions of teaching, research, and community outreach. Over and over, I have heard faculty state their belief in a plan that builds on existing strengths, upholds the highest principles, and moves the University toward ever-increasing relevance. We believe and trust that we have this in Courageous Strategic Transformation.
As disciplinary experts in our fields, faculty maintain a career-long relationship with the University. As such we are lasting stewards of the CST. As such, Faculty Council hopes to be involved particularly in these goals of the CST, going forward: World-Class Talent, Everyone Belongs, Investing for Impact, One Health, and the budget-remodel process.
Obviously, our faculty are deeply valued at CSU, and their value is called out in Courageous Strategic Transformation through the strategic imperative People and Culture. What are some specific initiatives or strategies that Faculty Council hopes to see us use to attract, invest in, and motivate our workforce? How can Faculty Council help us achieve these goals?
Faculty are keenly aware of the cost of living in Colorado, especially in Fort Collins. We are eager for equitable and improved compensation for all employees, as well as assistance in finding affordable housing. Most employees at CSU want to own a home, so helping employees find a route toward home ownership in a location that does not put them at substantial hardship in terms of their commute is crucial. In addition to a living wage for all employees at CSU, faculty believe that the hard work of employees should be rewarded through meaningful merit pay raises and increased job security/stability for those employees who are hired on an at-will basis. Faculty hope that instructional revenue that is derived from classrooms will be recycled ever more fully back to the academic enterprise. Faculty also believe employee self-advocacy should be valued and affirmed by the University. Finally, faculty believe that the University will need to work hard in the coming years to more effectively recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff through inclusive processes and into an inclusive culture. The Faculty Council is prepared to help with all these efforts.
In another strategic imperative, Innovation, we commit to preparing students by teaching critical thinking, offering education that evolves, and underscoring the importance of social and critical insight. What do our faculty need to continue to provide our students with the exceptional education they get at CSU, focused on these outcomes? How can Faculty Council leverage the Courageous Strategic Transformation framework to meet these needs?
Every day, faculty work to create classrooms that are responsive and responsible to students. Sometimes it astonishes me to see how far faculty will go to assist students with their learning needs, which include helping students become increasingly independent learners. This often means engaging students in difficult conversations and urging students to talk across differences with each other in an attitude of mutual respect. Faculty Council will leverage Courageous Strategic Transformation to meet student needs by identifying opportunities to pull practical course content with real-world learning outcomes from the goals articulated in the plan framework.