By Connor Mahon
CSU 2.0, a five-year plan for the university, was unveiled via Facebook Live on March 26. Today, we are inspecting the third of four themes that make up the ambitious plan, to unpack what it all means for you, the student. The theme, “Strengthen Anchor Mission/Become Beacon Institution,” comprises five priorities.
Priority 1: Emphasize Workforce Development
Consistent with the rest of the document, this priority seeks to meet workforce needs. This aligns with previously stated investment goals, and will include the areas of “health and biomedical science, data analytics, cybersecurity, smart and sustainable manufacturing, computer science, information science and applied social sciences.” Students in those programs can expect investments in new faculty, research, and recruitment of more students.
Priority 2: Support Research Related to Regional Needs
Expanding on the research goals outlined in the first part of the document, this priority specifies that investments in research will be focused on “work that addresses the economic needs and social and cultural challenges of our metropolitan and regional communities,” including a new Urban Public Health Institute. Students who find themselves part of the new College of Health Professions or College of Urban Affairs, Social Sciences, and Education, may see more of a focus placed on Northeast Ohio.
Priority 3: Lead State-sponsored Effort to Promote Health Care and IT Industries
This goal refers to the Cleveland Innovation District, a collaboration between Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland State University that seeks to bring 20,000 jobs to Ohio, and 10,000 STEM graduates from Cleveland’s higher education institutions.
To do this, CSU will receive $20 million, spent towards initiatives to double the number of graduates in 19 STEM fields. The specific fields have yet to be announced, but the recurring areas of “health, biomedical science, data analytics, cybersecurity, smart and sustainable manufacturing, computer science, information science and applied social sciences,” mentioned throughout the document may be a good guess as to what is included.
Priority 4: Grow Enrollments to 20,000 by 2025
While CSU has seen enrollment growth over the past years, this ambitious goal seeks to add 4,500 students in the next five years, an increase of 27%. Combined with the projected recruitment of faculty, it is the goal of the university to maintain the current student to faculty ratio of 17:1.
Several methods are outlined to achieve this growth, with each area expected to recruit 1,500 students in a five-year period. First, an expansion of CSU Global, devoted to recruiting international students. Then, the creation of “CSU Online,” presumably meaning a recruitment effort for online degree programs. The remaining growth will come from the aforementioned initiatives to grow enrollments in 19 STEM fields.
Beyond these, there are plans to expand the honors program, which currently grants full tuition for four years to around 40 students annually, and plans to increase recruitment of non-traditional students by catering programs to working adults and developing partnerships with employers.
These initiatives may leave traditional students, those who enroll directly from high school, feeling left out. However, an increase in enrollment is a source of funding for many of the other areas of growth discussed throughout the plan, so this will benefit all students.
Priority 5: Develop Public/Private Partnerships
In pursuit of status as an “anchor” institution, CSU plans to engage with organizations throughout Northeast Ohio to make the area “more attractive as a place to live, work and do business.” Examples of this are given as the Cleveland Innovation District and Playhouse Square. With a large proportion of Cleveland State graduates remaining in Northeast Ohio, these partnerships make sense and add to the feasibility of the Co-Op Promise, which promises a paid co-op for every student who wants one.
The report continues, “We intend to expand these partnerships as we develop our campus Master Plan as well as our residential, dining, and athletic facilities.” The campus Master Plan will be explored in-depth in a forthcoming article, however, this sentence gives us important information on what we can expect in the future. It seems to imply that residential partnerships rather than in-house management may be the future of Residence Life. Examples of this include the current outsourcing of the management of on-campus housing and CSU’s agreement with The Langston to be classified as a “University-Approved Apartment.”
Partnerships in the area of dining are more hopeful, as this hopefully means the ability to use a meal plan at local, partnered restaurants. This remains speculative, but the ability to spend dining dollars at Cafe Ah-Roma, Subway, or Bombay Chaat, for example, would be a large bonus for students in the residence halls, who are required to purchase a meal plan.