CSU Student Center, on Euclid Avenue, Rhodes Tower in background.
In a Facebook Live presentation Friday morning, Cleveland State University president Harlan Sands unveiled a strategic plan to attract 4,500 additional students and 200 new faculty members to CSU by 2025.
Dubbed "CSU 2.0," the enrollment and personnel goals were part of a larger effort to emerge as a "stronger, more focused" institution after the Coronavirus pandemic.
"This is about growth, not retrenchment," Sands said, in a statement provided to the media after his address. "We’ve set ambitious, achievable goals. We’ll be serving more students, distinguishing ourselves as a leading urban public research institution, and expanding our role as an anchor institution in the region to better serve and support greater Cleveland.”
In what will no doubt be a controversial move, Sands' vision includes "realigning" the university's colleges to "better reflect [CSU's] strengths." This would mean folding the renowned Levin College of Urban Affairs into a new, "enhanced" College of Urban Affairs, Social Sciences and Education.
“Reducing the number of colleges from eight to six and re-aligning their composition to build out our strengths will create new recruiting and investment opportunities and drive growth,” Sands said in the statement. “It creates more opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration while enabling us to streamline support services and reduce some administrative costs.”
As it realigns, Sands said he wants to ensure that the focus remains chiefly on student success by providing new programs that lead to local careers. Among other things, he plans to use money from a new regional innovation consortium to establish an Urban Public Health Institute. He wants to double the number of graduates in STEM-related majors.
Additionally, Sands said he wants to increase the number of students living on campus to 3,000 and plans to launch an "Office of Career Development and Exploration" which would facilitate internship and post-graduation employment opportunities.
The board of trustees at CSU recently extended Sands' employment contract to 2026, in part due to his success during the pandemic and his vision for transformational growth. These CSU 2.0 transformations will cost a great deal of money — a $1 million annual investment in need-based financial aid, for one — and Sands said Friday that CSU would launch a capital campaign to increase private funding.
On the Zoom call, Sands also announced that former congresswoman and recently appointed HUD Director Marcia Fudge would be CSU's commencement speaker at its May ceremony.
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