Published on 8/25/2021.
College of the Redwoods and the communities it serves are facing significant challenges. Several months ago, College of the Redwoods embarked on a process to revise our Education Master Plan to meet these challenges. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the future of the College rests on our ability create an ambitious, visionary, and far-reaching strategic plan that can easily be linked to our established annual planning processes. If we are to remain relevant and viable, we must adapt to the changing times.
At the beginning of the planning process, a diverse group of faculty, staff, and administrators from across the college met to discuss several key questions that would guide the revision process. How will the needs and expectations of our students change in a post-pandemic world? How can CR best serve students across all course delivery modalities? How can we leverage technological and instructional innovations to best meet students’ needs? What new student populations will we be able to attract and how will we best serve them?
Critical to the group’s discussions is the shared understanding that our service area is poised for major advances in a number of areas. We can point to the introduction of aquaculture, expansion of solar and wind energy, the potential development of advanced information corridors with terminal outlets in Humboldt Bay, and the transformation of Humboldt State University into a third polytechnic institution for the CSU system as examples.
These foundational questions, as well as, the potential areas of economic growth, were brought to internal and external committees for discussion. The findings were then handed off to the Education Master Planning Narrative subgroup, which, under the excellent leadership of Professor Chris Gaines, was tasked with writing a revised Education Master Plan that distilled the information into a clear document that will guide the College for the next several years. I want to take a moment to share the most relevant strategic directions included in the draft Education Master Plan documents with you here.
Become a more relevant and valuable choice for our students
CR needs to face the reality that students will have access to an array of educational choices that we have not seen before. We must actively seek out continuous dialog with industry and other members and organizations in the communities we serve. This is not only in our Career Education or “trades’ programs, but our liberal arts programs should also provide students opportunities to acquire and demonstrate skillsets and portable tools valuable in life and work.
Become the Preferred Transfer Pathway to Cal Poly Humboldt
We recognize that CR has an opportunity to be the most desirable transfer pathway to Cal Poly Humboldt, including for students from outside our region who hadn’t considered CR before. To be successful, we must focus our limited resources on programs and services that align with the most demanded transfer pathways to Cal Poly Humboldt.
Expand and Prioritize Offerings that Prepare Students for Living-Wage Jobs
In order to prepare students for the jobs of the future, CR must improve its partnerships with industry, offer our students real-world practice validated by industry partners, and become more agile in curriculum and program development.
Create a More Nimble and Adaptable Institution
We must adapt our organizational structures to support evolving student, workforce, and community needs and address underserved people, such as tribal nations, in order to bring their voices and ideas into ongoing conversations around the future of our institution and how it will affect them.
Establish Stronger Wraparound Experiences for Students’ Total Connection
The College must carefully examine and assess the ways our students, potential students, and community members encounter our college, from the first view of our webpages, to initial counseling and advising assistance, through to degree or certificate completion and beyond.
Pursue the Future of Learning
We must focus on developing new curriculum that responds directly to the immediate and near-term needs of our communities and that optimizes best practices relevant to emerging technology. This may very well mean that we address the question of what should CR not be doing in order to allocate our scarce resources to better support this strategic direction.
Over the next few months, all of our faculty, staff, administrators and students will have a chance to review the plan and offer feedback. I intend to bring a final plan to the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees for discussion and approval in November.