University of Colorado system President Mark Kennedy is moving into the next phase of a year-long strategic plan initiative meant to unite the system’s four campuses under a common purpose and which will net him a $50,000 bonus.

Kennedy met with CU Boulder’s Faculty Assembly on Thursday to present an outline of the plan, which is three months into a year-long planning process.

While there have been many attempts to create a systemwide strategic plan, Kennedy said, this is a chance to “build on those and wrap them together.”

“We want to shine a light on the many areas where we’re doing great stuff but similarly where we need to invest more and make more progress,” he said.

The strategic plan has three pillars and nine “strategic focus areas.” The pillars are access, affordability and student success; discovery and impact; and fiscal strength.

The focus areas under those pillars include graduation rates, deferred maintenance and health care.

The strategic plan will be implemented next fall and will be used until 2025, which is the year before demographers predict a sharp drop in the number of high school students entering college as a result of a low birth rate during the Great Recession.

Kennedy said now is the time for the system to be looking at how to address the impending decline.

When faculty members asked about whether the strategic plan will impact faculty control over curriculum, Kennedy said it will not.

“We are not going to fully meet the need for bachelor’s degrees if we just focus on high school graduates,” he said. “We need to be thinking about lifelong learning and nontraditional students and that requires us to think about how we deliver learning, but it is not going to impinge on faculty’s control of curriculum.”

Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the strategic plan is going over “extremely well” with faculty and emphasized it won’t take the place of strategic plans at individual campuses.

DiStefano said he’s most interested in the focus area of student wellness and mental health.

“My No. 1 priority is to work on mental health and wellness,” he said. “Obviously we want graduation and retention rates and we want diversity, but if students aren’t well mentally and physically, we’re not going to be able to get those things.”

The strategic plan will be reviewed by dozens of administrators, faculty and staff in the coming months before it’s presented in July to the Board of Regents for approval.

Kennedy is set to meet with the system Governance Committee in Denver Friday to present the strategic plan.

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