President McConnell presents Courageous Strategic Transformation plan to Board of Governors

CST Mark RGB GreenColorado State University is creating its future while honoring its past, with a plan for Courageous Strategic Transformation built on a vision of a sustainable, thriving planet as well as a flourishing humanity. CSU President Joyce McConnell presented the plan to the CSU System Board of Governors at the Board’s Feb. 3 meeting.

“My vision is that in five years, Colorado State will lead the world on solutions to global climate change and student success for meaningful careers and lives,” McConnell told the Board. “We will be at the forefront of solutions to the most challenging issues in student access and success, health, agriculture and rural community development. We will exemplify and advance economic, environmental, and social sustainability. And we will do all these things while remaining devoted and adept caretakers of our state.”

President McConnell began her presentation with a video highlighting the uniqueness of this moment in CSU’s history and the opportunity it presents as the university looks forward.

The Courageous Strategic Transformation (CST) is the result of broad input from across the university – including 17 open forums and participation by 3,500 people – and work by a variety of drafting groups, to build a bold strategic blueprint for CSU’s next five years. That work identified 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

The CST also focuses on making the most of CSU’s reach outside of Fort Collins, including at the Mountain Campus, statewide Extension offices, Agricultural Experiment Station sites, the CSU Todos Santos (Mexico) Center, and at the newly opened CSU Spur in Denver.

“First and foremost, our mission is to serve students by providing inclusive access, success and lifelong learning,” McConnell said. “We are planting our flag as leaders in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. And we are asserting Colorado State University as an aspirational university and community, ready to claim our place as world-class.”

Following the meeting, Board Chair Kim Jordan said, “This CST process has been truly exceptional in its inclusion, and paints a bold and compelling future for CSU.”

At its May meeting in Fort Collins, the Board of Governors will review additional documents for evaluation of the plan.

Other items related to Fort Collins campus

  • Budget planning — During the bimonthly meetings leading up to budget approval (typically in May), the Board receives financial updates, which model budget scenarios based on projections of factors such as enrollment trends and the anticipated funding level for higher education from the Colorado Legislature. The February update included scenarios with 0% or 3% tuition increases, paired with increases in state funding ranging from 4.6% to 14%.
  • The Board heard a recap of the January grand opening of the Vida building at CSU Spur. “I don’t think there’s anybody anywhere with a project like this,” said Tony Frank, chancellor of the CSU System. “Certainly not one that acts as this sort of a portal for the public into what universities do. Certainly not this sort of very active, integrated co-curricular experience into the K-12 curriculum. And certainly not with a very sharp focus on the interface of food, water and health… I think the opportunities for us to highlight agriculture and to bridge connections around the urban-rural divide are spectacular here as well.”
  • Student Representative Christian Dykson highlighted several proposed initiatives of the Associated Students of CSU, including supporting a revamp of accessible door buttons, funding a gender-inclusive restroom in the Clark building, and an effort to prevent bicycle theft by encouraging the use of U-locks. Dykson also shared his congratulations and excitement about seeing the doors open on the CSU Spur project.
  • Faculty Representative Melinda Smith, a professor in the Department of Biology, focused her report on honors for several CSU faculty members, and on CSU’s record-breaking $447.2 annual research expenditures. “It’s very exciting to see that our research expenditures have reached the most epic proportions that have been experienced at CSU,” Smith said.

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.