University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy on Wednesday informed faculty and staff in a systemwide communication that he is suspending activity on CU’s strategic planning effort, Leaning Into the Future, until spring.
Kennedy cited the considerable uncertainty surrounding COVID-19’s impact on the university’s budget, along with the great lengths faculty and staff are going to in responding to immediate impacts of the virus and in preparing to reopen campuses in the fall, if possible. Still, Kennedy lauded the work done to date and noted it will serve the university well in addressing budget challenges ahead.
“I’m proud of the thoughtful, creative and energetic work that has been done on the plan and I very much appreciate all the dedicated efforts of so many members of the CU community who have gotten us to this point,” Kennedy said. “At the same time, I recognize that we need all hands on deck in responding to the current crisis and in determining the many details and issues that need addressed before we can safely open our campuses in the fall.”
The effort, which began last summer with listening sessions inside and outside the university, had engaged a wide swath of the CU community and had reached broad consensus on the plan’s scope, four broad priorities (with additional focus areas under each) and metrics. Under the new timeline, work will resume in spring 2021, with the aim to present the completed plan to the Board of Regents for its consideration in July 2021. Working groups addressing each area of focus still have to articulate action steps for achieving the metrics, as well as to complete any refinements to goals.
“We knew the importance of focusing on our priorities when we started this process and if anything, the crisis magnifies that need,” Kennedy said. “We will get through it, and completing the plan next year will catapult us toward transforming the university to thrive in the new normal ahead of us.”