Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 3: Learning, engagement and inclusive belonging

After a full year of 2030 strategic planning campus conversations – over coffee and lunch, during Town Hall sessions, through surveys and emails and listening sessions – seven core strategies have emerged as the driving forces behind the next decade of success at UCCS. 

Communique will inform you weekly about each of the seven core strategies, which are not prioritized in any way. These updates will continue over the next five weeks, culminating in the next Town Hall on September 3, to which the entire campus community is invited. 

This week, Communique will give an overview on learning, engagement and inclusive belonging. This core strategy working group was championed by vice chancellor for student success Sentwali Bakari. Director of student clubs, organizations and leadership Sabrina Wienholtz and assistant director of academic advising Valerie McClinton served as team leads. The names of the team members, all of whom volunteered for the working group, are provided here.

Engagement and inclusive belonging

”In fostering a community of learning, engagement and inclusive belonging, UCCS will create transformational experiences and nurture growth and development in the workplace, classroom, and across campus.”

The charge of the third core strategy in the UCCS 2030 Strategic Plan: To foster a community of teaching and learning, engagement, and inclusive belonging. In doing so, UCCS aims to create transformational experiences and nurture growth and development in the workplace, classroom, and across campus.

Working group
After Chancellor Venkat Reddy’s Town Hall sessions in March, faculty, staff and students formed and joined working groups for each of the plan’s seven core strategies. Core strategy working groups were tasked with identifying the priorities, initiatives, anticipated outcomes and measures of success for each of the strategic themes. 

Bakari took charge of the core strategy working group, with Wienholtz and McClinton taking on roles as team leads. Faculty and staff volunteers rounded out the group. 

According to Bakari, Weinholtz and McClinton, “Working on this core strategy was a terrific opportunity to collectively develop important outcomes, initiatives, and measures with staff, faculty, and students across the campus. It was rewarding to think about the future and vitality of the institution and ways in which we provide quality learning experiences that are relevant and lead to students’ professional success. This particular strategy touches our hearts because we are highly engaged with students on a day-to-day basis helping them achieve their goals and career aspirations.”

In fostering a community of learning, engagement and inclusive belonging, the core strategy working group envisions the following outcomes:  

  1. Advance an exceptional academic culture of learning through innovative and inclusive pedagogy and teaching strategies that are relevant and appropriate to the academic and professional needs of today’s students.
  2. Cultivate a culture of inclusive excellence that is welcoming and responsive to the evolving of a diverse campus community.
  3. Deepen academic curricula and co-curricular learning experiences to cultivate global perspective, experiential engagement, collaborative learning, and student professional preparation.
  4. Strengthen a culture of health, safety and wellbeing for students, staff, and faculty.

Measures of success
As the strategy moves into implementation, the core strategy working group will measure success by the following criteria: 

  1. Expand diversity of faculty and staff to mirror the UCCS student population by 2030.
  2. Improve on key constructs in the National Survey of Student Engagement, ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA), and ACHA-National Faculty and Staff Health Assessment (NFSA).
  3. Increase overall satisfaction and sense of belonging of students, faculty, and staff as measured by nationally normed and institutional assessments.
  4. Increase number of online courses certified by nationally recognized quality standards to promote excellence in teaching and continuous improvement.
  5. Increase students’ global awareness and education abroad learning experiences.
  6. Increase percentage and population distribution of students that are involved in high impact practices.

To translate vision into practice, the core strategy working group recommends the following initiatives: 

  1. Create a purposeful communication model that facilitates effective information sharing, celebrates achievements, and cultivates a strong sense of community across students, staff, and faculty.
  2. Establish formal mentoring opportunities for students, staff, and faculty that support educational, personal, and professional development, an enhanced sense of belonging, and increased retention and persistence.
  3. Cultivate a culture of inclusive excellence that is welcoming and responsive to the needs of a diverse campus community.
  4. Create, promote, and centralize meaningful experiential learning opportunities for all students.
  5. Incentivize faculty in seeking professional development through UCCS faculty development resources to strengthen curricular offerings and innovative teaching practices including Universal Design for Learning methodologies that prepares students for academic success and professional achievements.

Next steps

With a draft strategy in place, there are limited opportunities for further refinement. Campus community members with thoughts on how to fine-tune the existing strategy are welcome to submit suggestions on the strategic plan website. They will be passed to the designated core strategy working group for review, and appropriate changes will made. 

Faculty, staff and students will have additional opportunities to participate in the strategic planning process as teams tasked to each core strategy form in the fall semester. Continue to check the strategic plan website for updates.

Chancellor Venkat Reddy is grateful to the active participation of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in helping to shape the future of the UCCS campus.


Read additional deep dives:

Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 1: Excellence in research and creative works

Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 2: Sustainable enrollment

Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 4: Optimization of capabilities

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