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Pillars of Success

“Forward Together” has been the focus of President Harlan Sands’ first year at Cleveland State University. Now, in that spirit, the University is charting a bright future by focusing its resources on seven key priorities, or pillars.

The priorities, as well as new mission and vision statements, were shared with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in a series of campus Town Hall meetings.

“This is a comprehensive blueprint for enhancing and elevating CSU,” said President Sands.

CSU’s new Statement of Strategic Priorities builds upon past planning exercises; student, faculty and staff priority committees established during the presidential transition; formal and informal conversations, and more.

“This document is truly a collaborative work that reflects the spirit of a vibrant campus community. We intend to use these ideas to focus our work as we begin to write the next chapter in the evolution of CSU,” said the president.

The pillars reflect common themes, including: delivering a meaningful 21st century education – the CSU way; expanding CSU’s unique brand to attract more students; strengthening student progression and graduation; and recruiting, growing and retaining talent.

A Strategic Priorities Steering Committee and various sub-committees are guiding the effort; progress is being posted on a dedicated website,

CSU’s seven strategic priorities are:

Enhance The Value of a CSU Degree

Continue to enhance CSU’s reputation as a public urban research institution of distinction focused on student success, Engaged Learning, workforce development, community partnerships and more.

Differentiate On Student Success

Retain and graduate more students by providing a first-rate educational experience, as well as wrap-around support services, such as mentoring.

Enhance Engaged Learning

Better define and deliver experiential learning opportunities such as co-ops, internships, civic engagement opportunities and work-study placements. Provide experiential learning to every student who wants such an opporunity.

Strengthen Anchor Mission

Prepare students for jobs as the region’s primary talent developer, fueling economic growth in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. Provide civic leaders and policy-makers with research and ideas that foster urban revitalization, economic development and public health.

Become a Beacon Institution

Provide educational opportunities for a growing number of students from beyond the local area. This includes recruiting academically qualified international students, growing transfer enrollments from community colleges, and providing more opportunities for working adults through continuing education and certificate programs.

Build Financial Strength

Grow revenue through increased student enrollment and improved student retention, fundraising and development efforts, and sound financial management.

Strengthen Campus Community

Foster an inclusive, collegial and socially engaged academic community through living-learning communities, extracurricular experiences, more residence halls, and better communication and collaboration.

“With a strategic framework in place, our next team step is to identify specific goals for investment and action,” says President Sands.


Empowering Students.
Creating Knowledge.
Engaging Communities.
Shaping Our World.


We will be a nationally recognized and student-focused public research institution that provides accessible, affordable and engaged learning opportunities for all. We will be both:

An “anchor” institution for Northeast Ohio, recognized for cutting-edge research, creative activity, and innovative collaborations that drive economic development and enrich the lives of our students and citizens, and

A “beacon” institution whose vitality attracts diverse and talented faculty, staff and students from within and outside the region, thereby enhancing our distinctive and inclusive living, learning and working environments.

Read the full Statement of Strategic Priorities here:

Submit your feedback, ideas or questions at

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