Courageous Strategic Transformation to guide CSU’s future


Collegian | Sophia Sirokman

(Graphic Illustration by Sophia Sirokman | The Collegian)

Noelle Mason, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: Read the Spanish version of this article here.

Last month, Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell presented the new Courageous Strategic Transformation plan to the CSU System Board of Governors. 


This plan details “goals of nurturing our talent, enriching our community and reinforcing CSU’s standing as a leader in learning, understanding, discovery and change,” according to a letter from McConnell in the plan’s official document.

McConnell wrote in her letter that the plan outlines a framework meant to propel the CSU System to build a stronger future and extend CSU’s values in research, health and learning to the state, specifically rural Colorado communities.

“Engagement is part of our mission as a land-grant institution,” CSU’s Vice President for Strategy Jenelle Beavers said. “We exist to serve the state of Colorado, so that is another leg of our mission.”

“In that bold new future, Colorado State will lead the world on solutions to global climate change, health, agriculture and economic, environmental and social sustainability while remaining a devoted and adept caretaker of our state,” McConnell wrote in her letter. “We will realize a stronger, bolder and more just and sustainable future for our world.”

“If our plan is working, students don’t even know about it. … They’re learning and thriving and prepared for the workforce and doing all kinds of experiential learning and personal growth, and they don’t know that we planned it for them.” –Jenelle Beavers, CSU vice president for strategy

The mission of the Courageous Strategic Transformation framework is as follows: “CSU is a public land-grant University that measures excellence through inclusive student access, success and lifelong learning and by leveraging academics, research, creativity and engagement to drive solutions to current and future local and global challenges to human and planetary health and well-being,” according to the document.

This framework draws on CSU’s Principles of Community and “proven prowess” in human and planetary health as well as learning in order to address challenges faced by the world and our community. 

Colorado State University also posted a video Feb. 10 outlining the meaning of courage, especially in the face of adversity and modern global issues. In it, Black/African American Cultural Center Director Duan Ruff talks about creating a blueprint for leaders to face adversity in unprecedented times. 

“It’s the University’s North Star; it’s our guiding document in how we prioritize and do our work and do that learning, research and engagement, but it’s more than that,” Beavers said. “It’s about how we do our work towards the greater good — towards Fort Collins, Colorado and the planet.” 

The document details a process of drafting and development of the framework spanning from fall 2020 to winter 2022. This drafting process took into account many voices from a variety of stakeholders, including students, faculty, alumni, donors and community members, according to the document.


“Students were very much involved in the planning process, which is unique,” Beavers said.

“If our plan is working, students don’t even know about it,” Beavers said. “We are doing our work; we are serving our students. They’re learning and thriving and prepared for the workforce and doing all kinds of experiential learning and personal growth, and they don’t know that we planned it for them.”

The plan is all-encompassing and addresses issues in global human and planetary health, biodiversity, food production and security, social justice and human rights, community strength and lifelong learning, according to the document. 

“The areas we are prioritizing are in the areas of sustainability, health, climate change and inclusive excellence,” Beavers said. 

The plan includes four facets through which they plan to address these issues: people, operations, innovation and impact. They further outline this framework in the CST Operational Framework 1.0 document. 

“I’m really proud to work here — I’ve met a lot of really great people across this campus, and I’m really grateful for all of the input, and I think the plan that we generated is really student-focused,” Beavers said. “People are here … so that students can learn and thrive. It’s really great to know and hear that and be part of something that is working towards that.”

Reach Noelle Mason at or on Twitter @noellemaso.