CSU collects diverse community ideas for upcoming strategic plan

Samantha Ye

The Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation put community ideas for the CSU strategic plan into an interactive Kumu map which can be filtered and examined by the public. (Image courtesy of the Center for Public Deliberation)

Colorado State University’s next strategic plan is in the works, and the University is trying everything to make it a plan they can actually follow.

University communications have been gathering input from a myriad of campus and local community sources this fall in order to inform the upcoming CSU strategic plan. This included two community forums hosted by the CSU Center for Public Deliberation, which allowed participants to share and develop their ideas for CSU’s future with others on campus.

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Ideas pitched so far include “Put students over profits” and “Less Neomarxists in Clark.” Many priorities mention improving inclusivity and diversity in the community.

A final strategic plan was originally scheduled for the spring vice provost for planning and effectiveness Laura Jensen said. With the announcement of President Tony Frank’s departure, however, the data collected will now be synthesized and given to the new University president to inform their creation of a strategic plan.

In the past, the University’s strategic plans have done little more than “sit on a shelf,” Jensen said. CSU has not been great about actually using the plans, to the point they are not sure how well past plans have panned out if at all.

The upcoming strategic plan will hopefully be an improvement over that.

“We want to create a different type of planning process and a different type of plan that we revisit annually to see how we’re doing, to check in on our progress,” Jensen said. “So, I think we’re very intentionally trying to do it different this time.”

CSU, so far, has done multiple small community dinners, open forums and contracted with a consultant all to access a large diversity of perspectives.

Several dozen participants of students, faculty and staff attended the two CPD forums. One forum in late October was held at night and attracted more students, while the one held on the morning of Nov. 5 attracted more faculty and staff, Program Coordinator Kalie McMonagle said.

Participants talked in small-group discussions about what they would like to see for CSU, what trends are currently in place, and how the University may need to adapt to achieve those goals.

“This is an opportunity for people to be able to hear the wide variety of different ideas that are coming out across the university and what we want to see for our community,” McMonagle said.

The discussions went for an hour but felt very brief due to the extensiveness of the subject, said Jessica Hunter, research project manager in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.

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“It’s important that they tap so many resources in requesting our feedback,” Hunter said.

Hunter’s table discussed climate change, funding and employee retention, but other tables dove into other topics like student mental health, facilities maintenance and affordability (both in the city and for tuition).

Individuals each contributed three strategic goals they considered priority by the end of the forum. Final ideas get uploaded to a public interactive planning map where users can filter ideas by department and keywords.

For those who could not make the forums, ideas can still be submitted on the CPD website. There will also be two more forums in the spring.

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.