History of Strategic Planning at Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt has a long history of strategic and long-range planning. In 1968, the President’s Commission on the Future of Cal Poly Humboldt College focused on the characteristics of undergraduate education at Humboldt, plans for implementing graduate programs and teaching assistantships, creating a “climate of innovation,” and creating a “free hour” to facilitate meeting times and community development. This report also identified several areas for additional study, including the reward system for faculty, general education, and financial support for interdisciplinary instruction and research.

In 1977, the Report of the President’s Commission on the Nature and Potential of Cal Poly Humboldt offered several comprehensive recommendations: increase financial resources, increase opportunities for research and creative activity, affirm the liberal arts nature of the institution, and capitalize on the University’s location and small size to enhance the sense of community, both internally and with external communities. Specific recommendations in that report included providing more systematic academic advising, offering more effective orientation for new students, encouraging students to delay declaring a major until the end of their first year, and streamlining the University’s committee structure.

In 1993, a study group completed a report titled “Vision and Promise: The Cal Poly Humboldt Charter Campus,” which explored the possibility of Humboldt proposing a new organizational model that would have provided increased autonomy for the University in exchange for reduced state support.

The 1997 strategic plan was organized around the themes of curriculum, human resources, information technology, the out-of-classroom experience, improving the physical campus, and resource development. These concepts were closely aligned with preparations for a 1998 accreditation visit by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges which was organized around the themes of a student-centered campus, education for social and environmental responsibility, and diversity. Action steps included general-education reform, enhancing professional development for faculty and staff, increasing institutional assessment, applying technology to improve business processes and student services, improving advising and mentoring, considering one hour per week with no scheduled classes to facilitate meetings, developing a plan for deferred maintenance, and increasing resources.

The strategic plan for 2004-09 included six major themes, resulting from the work of the nineteen focus groups: academic excellence, community of student scholars, cultural richness, fiscal resources and processes, infrastructure, and intellectual underpinnings.

This strategic plan was followed in 2010 by the work of the Cabinet for Institutional Change, which identified a series of goals including significant focus in the areas of institutional vision, campus governance, student success, having a collegial, respectful, and responsive community, and creating a culture of evidence-based decision-making. Many of the plans identified in the Change Steering

Committee’s report were implemented, including the creation of the new University Senate. Building on the work of the Cabinet for Institutional Change, the University established priorities for the period 2012- 16. These priorities included student success (measured by increasing graduation rates, decreasing time to degree, and closing the achievement gap), enhancing revenue (including through grants and contracts, internationalizing the campus, increased philanthropy, expanding self-support programs and distance education, and enterprise opportunities), and advancing Humboldt’s vision (with a particular focus on diversity and sustainability).

The most recent strategic plan for 2015–20 builds on these previous efforts. This planning process utilized the key themes approach that consistently appeared in previous efforts, and the major areas of focus were organized around the themes of 1) increasing student success and academic excellence, 2) ensuring resources to fulfill the University’s mission, and 3) supporting an inclusive and diverse community. The ultimate strategic goals for 2015-20 that evolved from this process wove together aspects of these organizing themes in this document.

In January, 2021, the 2015-20 University Strategic Plan was celebrated and honored through the sharing, with the broader university community an evaluation of the achievement of the planned objectives. The format and consultative planning approach for this outgoing plan also heavily guided the newest planning process (for the period of 2021-26) at Humboldt which is guided by 6 themes: 1) Academic Excellence Roadmap; 2) Community Collaboration and Shared Success; 3) Employee Engagement and Success; 4) Future Proofing Humboldt; 5) Resources Stewardship and Stability; and 6) Student Experience and Success.

With the 2021-26 plan branded Future Forward, a new planning model for Humboldt was introduced. This multi-phased planning process integrates broad, bold vision, values and goals with division and college or MBU level outcomes, objectives and evaluation of impact. This approach is part of the commitment at Humboldt to the integration of planning, assessment, and resource allocation.