Skip to Main Content
Chico State

On the Path to Preeminence

A matrix of the Strategic Plan lights up on a screen on the Harlen Adams Theatre stage to a crowd of hundreds in the audience.
Jessica Bartlett / University Photographer

President Gayle Hutchinson speaks to the campus community during her fall convocation address in Harlen Adams Theatre on Thursday, August 22, 2019 in Chico, Calif. (Jessica Bartlett/University Photographer)

The time is now! I unveiled the new Strategic Plan and draft Campus Master Plan at Convocation, and the wheels of imagination, innovation, and integration have begun to turn. The enthusiasm is substantial. I am delighted that our campus community has embraced the Strategic Plan and is ready to fully explore how everyone can contribute to the mission and vision we have set for ourselves.

So, let’s begin there. With the mission and vision.

Mission: Chico State is the comprehensive university of the North State with a global reach. Through excellence of inquiry, innovation, and applied learning, we develop students who are critical thinkers, responsible citizens, diverse leaders, and inspired stewards of environmental, social, and economic resources.

Vision: We will be known as a preeminent university solving the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.

The Strategic Plan and Master Plan will both serve as key elements in our journey toward distinction, where students earn a premiere education through leading-edge instruction, service, and scholarship.

Strategic planning began over a year ago under the leadership of Chief of Staff Brooke Banks. Together, we conducted what I would argue is the most inclusive process that Chico State has seen to date. The process was recognized and commended by our WASC reaccreditation team during its campus visit. Data collection included early environmental scans, FutureFest meetings, planning workshops, and online surveys. At its conclusion, the Strategic Plan had over 750 participants and generated more than 4,000 lines of data. The planning process was characterized by consensus-building, community involvement, data utilization, shared governance, and transparency.

Our resulting plan is captured visually in the shape of a matrix. Three strategic priorities flow through a foundation of what will be recognized as our four “enduring commitments.”

Enduring commitments are time-honored promises we make to students and each other. They are the building blocks for a high-quality college education and essential ingredients to student success. Yes, we have always embraced them, and with the launch of our new Strategic Plan, we promise to do them better than we have ever done before.

Our enduring commitments are: Academic Distinction, Transformative Student Experiences, Prominent Scholarship and Innovation, and Culture of Excellence and Accountability. 

To achieve academic distinction, we must assess, develop, and revise academic programs so that they are especially flexible to meet student needs for the future, and so they innovate by using student-engaged research and creative activity that challenge the boundaries of knowledge. We also must find ways to invest in faculty and staff growth and development that elevates our national academic reputation.

Transformative student experiences must enrich student well-being and drive intellectual curiosity and engagement through caring and empowering relationships, support, and co-curricular experiences. We know this as the Chico Experience. Going forward, we renew our commitment to create an equitable and inclusive campus environment, thereby increasing opportunities for all students and reducing barriers to graduation.

Prominent scholarship and innovation leverage curiosity toward scholarly activity in ways that drive student engagement, retention, and success. To become a preeminent university, faculty and staff must be recognized as regional, national, and global leaders in their respective disciplines, and I would argue, our students should be, too. Scholarship must be integrated into interdisciplinary curricula and co-curricular activities.

Finally, in our culture of excellence and accountability, we work to ensure that academic priorities and student success guide our plans, policies, and process. We embrace shared governance, promote collaboration, and communicate broadly. We continuously improve ourselves through data-driven assessment. We promote a culture of wellness where students, faculty, and staff work in and benefit from a safe, healthy, and inclusive university community. And, we commit to a consistent Chico State identity and message by developing a cohesive identity framework that expresses globally the University’s distinctive qualities and attributes. We are a wise steward of environmental, social, and economic resources.

Enduring commitments power the mission of the University, and they fuel students’ drive for success. The new strategic priorities are grounded in our four enduring commitments. And, these strategic priorities will provide the University with focus as we aspire to achieve our new vision. To be sure that our campus remains focused, three strategic priorities will direct us going forward. These priorities are predicated on the primacy of student success enabled by the excellence of faculty and staff, as well as communication, technology, and philanthropy.

The Strategic Plan logo is represented as a compass, with the phrases for the enduring commitments rimming the edge and the University's symbol for the flame of knowledge divided into the three priorities.
The Strategic Plan will shape the future of Chico State for years to come.

Our three priorities are Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Civic and Global Engagement; and Resilient and Sustainable Systems. In our matrix, each priority is equally weighted.

We will establish goals and explore the possibilities for each of these priorities at University, divisional, and departmental levels. We educate the most ethnically, economically, and academically diverse student body in the University’s history. We are adapting and learning right along with our students how to serve them best. To be the best, we must ensure an inclusive and equitable campus where everyone has the opportunity to strive and thrive. Graduating students in a timely manner positively impacts their future and positions them to solve the challenges of the 21st century.

Join me as we now develop specific measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-bound goals to hold ourselves accountable to these University priorities and commitments. We are beginning to write the story of our institutional journey to prominence. I look forward to diving into the next chapter with you. Together, we will transform tomorrow.