Strategic Plan

College of Liberal Arts | 2022-2025

Strategic Plan 2022-2025

As the 21st century develops, land-grant institutions face new challenges for which the liberal arts are essential partners, if not central players: the need for an educated citizenry, addressing social and cultural dimensions of technological change, developing and understanding key resources of the knowledge economy, and meeting a critical need to educate civically engaged and productive citizens. To meet these challenges, we in the College of Liberal Arts are called to revisit and reimagine the ways in which we work, teach, learn, research, and create.

With this in mind, we created a multi-pronged approach to the development of our strategic plan: through a Guiding Coalition from the dean’s office, three college-wide Task Forces, and Department selection of action items, we identified priority items to pursue that will help get us to these goals.

We posed the following question:

Can we imagine an “ecosystem” of scholarship and learning that allows us to develop complementary relationships between degrees/programs, progressive teaching and working modalities, team approaches to scholarship and administration, and a new vision of how the distinctive aspects of CLA and CSU fit into a changing higher education landscape?

The Throughlines 

These five throughlines emanated from the work of the three strategic plan task forces in Spring 2021. They cross all departments and units, all subject areas, and all employment classes. They inform and influence all of our strategic efforts.

Interweave Equity and Access with All We Do

By creating a strategic plan and departmental efforts that will improve the climate for all our community, especially under-represented faculty, staff, and students.

Innovate for Impact and Leadership

By supporting excellence and advancing collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarship on novel and complex problems, designing innovative academic programs and curricula that complement traditional disciplines, providing enhanced opportunities for professional advancement of our students, and improving access, equity, and student success.

Align Aspirations and Practices

By ensuring our practices—evaluations, codes, governing documents—are efficient, forward-looking, and reflect our values, goals, and aspirations of collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and inclusivity.

Structure Administrative Support to Match Mission

By examining traditional administrative structures and outlining possible models that support job equity, quality, and return-on-investment, to better support all academic units and the entire college.

Expand Pathways for Professional Growth

By building a culture of professional development and peer-mentoring practices that promote growth for faculty and staff, including leadership development for the cultivation and transition of academic leaders in the college.

Signature Initiatives

Our signature initiatives represent the convergence of leadership priorities, grassroot action, and timely opportunities.

Revitalize the Clark Building

Rendering of the new Clark building

With the support of the university, the state, and our supporters, we are building a place to discover, work, and learn that reflects our disciplines and a high-quality liberal arts education at a 21st century land grant institution.


Denver Capital Building

At a crucial moment in history, we are spotlighting our expertise in democracy and democratic institutions, creating a new pillar of excellence for CSU and models for engaging at work and in the community.

Expand Engaged Scholarship


We are building on our previous strategic plan's investment in and emphasis on our work in learning, research, and artistry that engages directly, reciprocally, and responsibly in the daily lives of our campus, our communities, and the world.

College of Liberal Arts Strategic Directions

Discovery with Impact

CLA will embody how discoveries through the liberal arts impact the world by: developing capacity for growth, skills, and knowledge for an imperfect world;  addressing insistent and critical concerns through scholarship; and taking collective action through responsible engagement.


We will cultivate durable skills for rich cultural lives, fulfilling work, and community-minded leadership via

  • Student-focused education that connects “thinking” to “doing,” theory and content to practical applications
  • Collaboration and interdisciplinarity that connect knowledge across boundaries
  • Faculty who actively cultivate inclusive classrooms through ongoing professional development


We will align applied, engaged, and fundamental research in global topics of deep and urgent importance via

  • Recognition and rewards for extraordinary contributions to disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge
  • Research into key areas of the environment, food, health, democracy, social justice, and scholarship of engagement
  • Visibility and recognition of scholarship that informs teaching and service, especially related to equity
  • Artistry that reflects and engages our richly diverse world


We will reinforce strong partnerships and build new ways to share knowledge with and from our communities via

  • Deepened campus relationships that extend our reach across the university and into the community
  • Frameworks for expanding engaged scholarship
  • Engaged teaching that creates opportunities for collaboration with experts from campus, the community, and the field
  • High-impact learning practices that take students beyond the classroom
  • Programming with diverse communities in mind

Thriving Beyond COVID

CLA will set the pace on campus as leaders for the future of learning and working through and beyond the conditions of the pandemic. 


We will reaffirm our commitment to building community with one another via

  • Internal communications that facilitate transparency
  • Decision-making that models deliberative democracy
  • Trust building through personal interactions face-to-face and online
  • Ongoing professional development toward individual and shared goals
  • Hiring and retention of faculty and staff that support our increasingly diverse student body
  • Welcoming and affirming department cultures for all identities
  • Fair and supportive working conditions that value everyone


We will highlight the value of residential education alongside powerful new teaching tools via

  • Activities that foreground the campus value proposition
  • Classroom and working environments that are flexible and durable
  • Physical facilities that enable the learning, scholarship, and people within them


We will invest in the collective intelligence of our employees at all levels, and lead on campus in ways of working, teaching, learning, researching and engaging better via

  • Commitment to ongoing learning and training that expands our individual capacities to improve our units and the impact of our shared efforts.
  • Annual evaluations and incentive structures that account for invisible labor, reduce burden and support our goals
  • Honest conversations around equity in the ways we work
  • Holistic, integrated, and active teaching approaches

Structures for Success

CLA will build structures to support core strengths and enable new directions by renovating our physical facilities and reimagining our administrative organization.


We will improve how we recruit, retain, and recognize faculty and staff through the lens of inclusive excellence via

  • Hiring, on-boarding, and mentoring that support belonging
  • Communications structures that enhance visibility of our disciplines
  • Ongoing faculty and staff professional development
  • Recognition through salary, endowed positions, and awards


We will steward physical structures that support innovative work at every level via

  • Renovation of the Clark complex for the way we will work into the future
  • Enhanced spaces and technologies across all college facilities
  • Spatial design that facilitates collaboration and interdisciplinarity

Administration and Operations

We will reorganize around collaborative models and create support for college-wide efforts via

  • Schools and centers that structure new collaborations
  • Communications efforts that emphasize the value of the liberal arts across the college and campus
  • Hubs in finance and HR that consolidate expertise
  • Policy changes based on DEIJ analysis
  • Data tools and analytics that offer insight into faculty research and student success
  • Budget models that account for change
  • Technology capacity that meets accelerating needs in learning, scholarship, engagement, and operations