The Courageous Strategic Transformation (CST) is a comprehensive strategic planning process. This inclusive process challenges the entire University community to examine our strengths, identify priorities and values, then develop identifiable, specific, and measurable goals. The result will be a comprehensive strategic plan that serves as a beacon for the university’s work through 2026, the Colorado sesquicentennial.

As a land-grant university we play a crucial role in empowering our teachers, researchers, learners, community, and selves to identify innovative solutions to overcome the rapidly changing economic, social, and environmental challenges that we face now and for future generations. In order to fulfill this role, the CST will build on our historic strengths while enabling institutional agility to respond to new challenges.

This planning process is courageous because it ambitiously aims to transform our institution and because it seeks to engage and reflect the diverse perspectives of our community. It calls on all of us to think deeply and creatively about our work, to critically evaluate our core beliefs and practices, and to co-create a shared mission that goes beyond individual agendas. Along the way, we may dare to recognize that we need to do something differently, stop doing something, or do something better while staying true to our principles and priorities. As community members and stakeholders in this process, we are encouraged to challenge ourselves and do the hard work of making CSU better internally and externally. It is courageous to take on this endeavor in an inclusive and collaborative way, with a willingness to make unprecedented change.

Our university colors are green and gold, selected originally to capture our agricultural history by representing alfalfa and wheat. Today, we continue to cultivate the green – a sustainable, thriving planet – and the gold – a flourishing humanity – in all we do.

Green: Our purpose is to drive bold solutions and strategies for a Sustainable, Thriving Planet. Areas of targeted impact:

  • Environmental health and climate change
  • Animal, plant, and human health
  • Safe and secure state and global food systems and access to nutrition
  • Sustainable ecosystems and water resources
  • Clean and sustainable energy
  • Lifelong learning for students, the CSU community, and greater community

Gold: Our purpose is to drive bold solutions and strategies for a Flourishing Humanity. Areas of targeted impact:

  • Scholarly and artistic creation
  • Individual and community strength and prosperity
  • Equity and social justice
  • Civic engagement
  • Dialogue that ethically engages difference
  • Lifelong learning for students, the CSU community, and greater community

CSU’s strategic transformation looks at the bigger picture as it pertains to the University as a whole, but all of our constituents are there. Our process is unusually collaborative, and we are committed to crafting a vision that encompasses our entire community. If you don’t feel represented, then we urge you to get involved.

The CST process is intentionally aspirational and serves to call the university community to action. The framework is just that: a broad, initial statement for us to build upon. The plan appreciates that each individual and unit has unique needs, but at its core recognizes that we need to work together to solve problems and be successful in our mission. We are happy to sit down with your unit to talk about how your specific area can strategically plan and work toward the Green and Gold focus areas.


An inspiration proposal is an opportunity for your team to share thoughts, input, and ideas for CSU’s Courageous Strategic Transformation, and to see your ideas in action. It offers an additional way for our CSU community members to have their voices heard and build our institution’s future, making this an inclusive process. Want to share your inspirational vision?  We’d love to read it!

A building block is an integral component of the University’s work that supports our key focus areas of learning, research, and engagement. For instance, two key building blocks in this process are academic master planning and financial excellence. Drafting groups have been formed to develop priority goals for each building block as well as for our key strategic areas. Together, this work will serve our Green and Gold aims.

Leadership drafting groups are a central component of the planning process. Each group is tasked with drafting priority goals for a specific strategic area or building block

We know the best ideas come from diverse groups, and we hope to craft a campus vision in which our entire community can see themselves. That’s why we’ve organized drafting groups that represent a wide range of voices, including campus leaders, faculty, students, administrative professional and state classified staff, and other key stakeholders. We’ve asked these groups to collect and synthesize broader input through public discussions and town halls. They ultimately will inspire and guide CSU’s strategic transformation by drafting achievable and measurable goals in identified target areas that support our Green and Gold mission.

As part of CSU’s larger Courageous Strategic Transformation, we have begun a campus Academic Master Plan (AMP), which falls under the Strategic Academic Innovation building block designated in the framework. The AMP will focus on developing areas of academic growth for our programs, research, and engagement activities 5-10 years into the future.

We recognize that a lot of the work that needs to be done to reach our goals depends on how we prioritize resources. Transforming a university budget is a lot of work! We are determined to be thoughtful, inclusive, and wise about how we put resources into the priorities we identify. We are currently determining the process we will use to analyze and reimagine our budget. We will provide information on this website about the process, which will include input from the University community.

We are deeply committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) throughout our institution and our community. As a central strategic priority, DEIJ is woven throughout the strategic planning process, and it is a key concern for all of our leadership drafting groups. Each drafting group will address how DEIJ will inform their work, and there is an inclusive excellence drafting group sponsored by new Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Kauline Cipriani that will focus on establishing university-wide goals.

The University continues to go above and beyond to ensure financial sustainability for its employees during an unprecedented pandemic. These actions, in alignment with our “Rams Take Care of Rams” mantra, should alleviate any concerns about workforce reduction. CST is not a process aimed at eliminating jobs. Indeed, the outcomes are likely to include some hiring across many units.

The CST will provide us the opportunity to think creatively about what we do, how we do it, and what resources are needed to do it well currently and for years to come. It will also provide the opportunity to evaluate how we assess job performance, hold employees and managers accountable, and ensure a collegial work environment.   

This process involves a close examination of how we relate to each other and our community and if we are serving needs equitably. It will require us to reimagine various aspects of the University, including operations. As the community looks at what is and isn’t working on campus, we may find that some areas need to work together toward more comprehensive goals.

Some examples include the new telework policy established to respond to the changing workplace culture and employee needs/wellbeing, the realignment of several Student Affairs offices into other divisions to strengthen the collaborative support for student success, and the reimagined Office of Inclusive Excellence (formerly known as the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion), which will now work to comprehensively meet our diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice goals across the campus. We also have reimagined University Marketing and Communications (formerly known as the Division of University Communications), which will provide central marketing, media and community relations, design, photography, web, and digital/social media to build one strong, compelling and effective brand position for the entire university and its units, raise the University’s profile, and enhance our mission. In addition, we created the President’s Leadership Fellows Program as a valuable professional development opportunity for CSU faculty and staff with administrative interests and potential, as well as to expand the bandwidth of the strategic planning process and incorporate diverse perspectives.

Everyone! This is a community effort, and we want to hear from all voices. If you aren’t involved, please get involved! The process is being led by Vice President for Strategy Jenelle Beavers, along with Presidential Leadership Fellows Andrea Duffy and Scott Shrake.

December 31, 2021. The plan will then be presented formally at the February 2022 Board of Governors meeting, which will be livestreamed. Updates and drafts will be posted at