Colorado State’s Strategic Plan Moves Forward to Enhance Services to Rural Colorado and Agriculture

Colorado State University’s new strategic plan and recent reorganization are enhancing services to rural Colorado and agriculture. The reorganization better aligns the university for agricultural outreach and rural development, in coordination with the university’s recently developed strategic plan. It also closely positions the university for rural outreach, scientific discovery and public policy research regarding cutting-edge work conducted at the university for a topic critical to Colorado agriculture: water.

The application submission process of a national search closed last week for a vice provost to oversee a newly created branch of the university – Outreach and Strategic Partnerships. The university hopes to fill the position before the fall 2006 semester begins. President Larry Edward Penley also has moved forward by creating the Office of Economic Development within the Outreach and Strategic Partnerships division that will work closely with outreach agencies to enhance economic development opportunities throughout Colorado. In large part, the economic development office will use university expertise, resources and research – including agricultural-based research — to support business and economic development in rural Colorado.  

"Colorado State University is committed to continuing to enhance our contributions to agricultural productivity and the prosperity of rural Colorado communities," Penley said. "To accomplish this goal, we’ve embarked on a new strategic plan followed by an internal reorganization to position Colorado State to better serve the people of this great state and set a national standard for land-grant institutions."

The reorganization allows the university to develop a more cohesive approach to outreach and partnerships. In addition to housing the new economic development office, Outreach and Strategic Partnerships strategically brings together Cooperative Extension, the Colorado Institute of Public Policy, Division of Continuing Education, Colorado Water Resources Research Institute and International Programs, facilitating additional connections between university resources to enhance services to Colorado citizens and businesses.

"In making these changes, and especially in creating the division of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, Colorado State’s goal is to better position the university to address the changing needs of our constituents, and a large part of that is supporting and providing services to enhance Colorado’s rural and agricultural communities," said Tony Frank, provost and senior vice president at Colorado State.

The Colorado Water Resources Research Institute is managed by Colorado State with the specific purpose of focusing the vast water expertise of higher education on the evolving water concerns and problems being faced by Colorado citizens. Designated by the Colorado Legislature, CWRRI is a statewide institute that develops, implements and coordinates water and water-related research programs and transfers the results to a variety of water users. More information about CWRRI is available on the Web at

The Colorado Institute of Public Policy at Colorado State addresses pressing policy issues in the Rocky Mountain West through interdisciplinary research, external partnerships and community outreach. The institute, focused on issues that address Colorado’s people, agriculture and the environment, is directing its efforts toward water issues within Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. More information about the institute is available on the Web at

The Division of Continuing Education develops and delivers quality programs and educational opportunities in support of the university’s land-grant mission. The division offers a variety of online and distance degrees, certificate programs, individual classes and custom training for industry in a myriad of subjects to benefit Coloradans in every county of the state. More information about continuing education is available on the Web at

International Programs promotes international research, development and training activities to allow application of knowledge worldwide to enhance the human condition. It also brings an international perspective to the university and the state of Colorado through various strategies such as preparing students for and assisting communities in adjusting to a rapidly changing global workplace. International Programs provides technical assistance as part of its tradition of outreach excellence, promotes international research and development and provides Coloradans a link to the global marketplace. More information is available on the Web at

Bringing these units together allows the university, through the existing Cooperative Extension structure that serves every Colorado county and has offices in 59 counties, to deliver many more services to rural Colorado, including enhanced educational opportunities for the agricultural community. Colorado State faculty with Cooperative Extension assignments remain housed in five colleges across the university, including the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering, both of which develop Cooperative Extension educational programs for agriculture. In addition, Cooperative Extension will maintain the strong network of connections with the Agricultural Experiment Station, continuing collaboration to carry cutting-edge agricultural research quickly to farmers and ranchers in the state. However, these opportunities and connections will be enhanced through further educational offerings and research opportunities in economic development, water, public policy and international programs.

Fitting with Colorado State’s new strategic plan to expand the focus of Cooperative Extension, Marc Johnson, dean of the College of Agriculture, advocates bringing together the offices to help communities address economic needs, social demands and opportunities in agriculture.

"The university’s reorganization is bringing its excellence in teaching, research and outreach together like never before to provide the greatest potential benefit to rural Colorado communities and to agriculture," Johnson said.

Penley announced the major administrative reorganization late last year 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 strengthen 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.

As part of the changes, Cooperative Extension offices across the state will additionally become more effective "front doors" to the university, allowing the public access to more information and services from Colorado State that can help them to address critical issues such as poverty, sustainable economic development, water resources and environmental issues.

Colorado State’s strategic plan and supporting information is available for review on the Web at