Colorado State University Announces Major Reorganization to Act on Strategic Plan, Better Serve Students and Citizens

Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley today announced a major administrative reorganization designed to enable the university to realize its vision and mission, setting the standard as the 21st century land-grant university. This reorganization comes out of aggressive goals set by its new strategic plan that was adopted by the Colorado State University Board of Governors at its monthly meeting on Oct. 7. The new structure strengthens the university’s ability to achieve excellence in the areas of teaching and learning, retention and graduation, admissions and access, outreach and service, and marketing.

"This very significant reorganization affirms the historic role of Colorado State as it takes what is already a very fine university and transforms it into an even greater institution – the national model of a 21st century land-grant university," Penley said. "In making these changes, our goal is to position the university well to address the changing needs of its constituents, better support Colorado’s rural and agricultural communities and increase institutional efficiency in light of increasing budget limitations."

In mapping the reorganization plan, Penley and other university leaders adhered to the new strategic plan goals. The plan was drafted with the input of hundreds of administrators, faculty, staff and students from throughout the university community over the past 12 months. The Board of Governors recently endorsed this reorganization to enhance the university’s value to the people of Colorado, reduce internal service redundancy, improve emphasis on teaching and outreach and provide greater financial stability to the organization as a whole in the years ahead.

Through the reorganization, Colorado State forges a strong commitment to enhance access and success for all students, to more effectively reach out and serve all areas and residents of Colorado and to innovatively address great global challenges.

"The new strategic plan can only be effective if we put it into action. Otherwise, it is just words on paper," Penley said. "The issues and commitments discussed in this plan make it necessary to reinvent the university and make the 21st century land-grant institution a reality. Such an institution centers on more effectively linking Colorado State University to its constituents, addressing challenges and solving problems, and ensuring that parents and students obtain the access with success imperative to educational achievement."

Reorganization highlights include:

–    Creating a new Vice Provost for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships that will help coordinate key university outreach programs and provide more advanced, technological assistance to communities throughout the state through agencies focused on cooperative extension, economic development, public policy and water;

–    Creating a new Vice President for Admissions to focus on service and marketing and improve Colorado State’s access and enrollment;

–    Grouping of appropriate units to substantially improve retention and graduation rates in a relatively short timeframe;

–    Merging redundant programs in Colorado State’s University Relations and Instructional Services departments to create a single, efficient, focused communications team;

–    Increasing emphasis on marketing; and

–    Forming of the Center for Pedagogical Advancement and Learning Investigation to support faculty in improving their teaching and use of technology in the classroom.

The reorganization includes reallocating existing university resources at the administrative level to provide increased efficiency and effectiveness in achieving strategic goals.

The comprehensive strategic plan details 15 objectives, 39 goals, action strategies and a variety of performance measurements to accomplish over the next 10 years. Changing the university’s organizational structure is the first major step to making real the strategic plan and the strategic plan’s initiatives and is necessary to achieve the university’s mission of setting the public higher education standard in teaching, research and service.

"If Referendums C and D pass, or if Referendums C and D fail, this plan and this reorganization position Colorado State University well for an enhanced level of success now and well into the future," Penley said.

More information on categories and specifics of the reorganization follow.

Outreach and Service

Outreach and Strategic Partnerships:

Colorado State University is committed to its outreach mission to all Coloradans. Through Cooperative Extension, the university is already accessible to citizens in every part of the state.  Colorado State University exercises its traditional responsibility to rural Colorado and Colorado’s agriculture industry through Cooperative Extension.

To further achieve the outreach mission, increasing services to a transformed agricultural industry and to other critical Colorado industries, the university is creating a new post of Vice Provost for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships. This position will bring together and oversee Cooperative Extension, Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, Colorado Institute for Public Policy and the offices of Continuing Education, Economic Development and International Programs.

Bringing these units together allows the university, through the existing Cooperative Extension structure, to deliver more services to rural Colorado, including enhanced educational opportunities for the agricultural community.

"Colorado State University is tremendously important to the success of agriculture in the state of Colorado," said Don Ament, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture. "We will continue to work with Colorado State University to strengthen Colorado’s agricultural industry to meet the challenges that lie ahead."

In addition, this alignment enables the university to deliver increased services to urban and suburban areas to better address issues relevant to those populations – particularly in the areas of continuing education, economic development and public policy.

Agricultural Experiment Station:

Under this reorganization, the Agricultural Experiment Station will report to the Dean of Agriculture, providing closer connections to the College of Agriculture to offer improved services to the Colorado agricultural industry. This new alignment emphasizes the relationship between faculty in the field and faculty on campus in conducting applied research programs that benefit the state and the nation.

Colorado State Forest Service:

Colorado is one of three states that houses the state forest service within a university, resulting in a focus on public education. This arrangement allows Colorado State the unique opportunity to educate private landholders and the public to better manage the state’s forests.

The Colorado State Forest Service will now be housed within the Warner College of Natural Resources, linking forest service professionals directly to forestry faculty and further improving the educational focus.

Admissions and Access

All elements of admissions will be streamlined into one area and will report to the Vice President of Admissions and Access, a new position funded through administrative reallocation. This regrouping will enable the university to focus on service and marketing to prospective students, admitted students and parents.

"Every student and parent who encounters Colorado State deserves absolutely the best service and quality, and that is what this organizational change will provide," Penley said. "It is additionally essential that we directly address the need to provide improved admissions programs and services that effectively compete with other public schools in Colorado and the nation, and with private schools within the state."

Offices in this unit will include Admissions and Registrar, Financial Aid, Enrollment Services, High Ability Student Recruitment and the Center for Educational Access and Outreach.

Retention and Graduation

The university has created a strategic initiative to substantially improve student retention and graduation rates in a relatively short time. The university will group key units: the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA), the Career Center, Academic Advancement and Service Learning.

"Colorado State has some of the top retention and graduation rates in the state. However, as a great public university in service to the citizens of Colorado, Colorado State cannot be satisfied with this when it has the opportunity to make outstanding improvements in retention and graduation rates," Penley said.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching support:

Past budget cuts have reduced the pedagogical and technological classroom support once offered to enhance the quality of teaching. The university understands that it has a responsibility to be efficient. Through reorganization of two offices associated with communications productions, the university has formed the Center for Pedagogical and Learning Investigation – CPALI – to enable faculty to tap into new technologies, such as digital advancements, to enhance learning environments. This office will provide a technological teaching-support arm, once the role of the Office of Instructional Services when it was better funded. Teaching support also will be provided through professional development opportunities such as instruction to new faculty and skill enhancement for established faculty.

"We each have the responsibility for absolute efficiency in what we do," Penley said. "Our budget demands it, our accountability to the public demands it, and we are responsible to each other and to ourselves to have the most efficient and effective operation available. As part of that, we must return to the days where essential teaching support was available."

Resources from the Office of Instructional Services will be redirected to support CPALI. Other staff will be reassigned to a Communications Production and Creative Services along with publications production, design, audio and video services, photographic services and Web services now housed in University Relations, eliminating duplication of programs and services between these areas.


The university will create a coordinated emphasis on marketing. A marketing director position will be established for the Colorado State University system in the Denver office. This position will provide strategic marketing and creative direction for the university system and report to Chancellor Penley. This individual will work closely with the Public Relations units on both Colorado State University System campuses, the new Communications Production and Creative Services unit on the Colorado State campus and the marketing arm of the Athletics Department and Admissions.

University media and community relations staff, along with administrative communications staff, will report directly to the Office of the President as a Public Relations unit. The new Communications Production and Creative Services unit will be housed with the Vice President of Administrative Services with creative direction from the Director of Marketing.