Strategic Framework: An Investment in our Future

posted Oct 13, 2015, 12:13 PM by   [ updated Feb 18, 2016, 7:49 PM by Jim Norrena ]
For those of us in academia, fall marks the beginning of a new year -- a time to set goals and forge a path. With our campuses once again alive with the activities of our 2,000 students and 500+ faculty, I'd like to tell you why I'm feeling especially enthusiastic about CCA's future.

Investing in Our Future
CCA is poised to define and lead next-generation art and design education. We are making strategic investments now that will enable CCA to realize its full potential while staying true to its founding mission and values.

Our long-range campus-planning process (outlined below) is engaging the CCA community to shape a bold vision to enrich the academic experience and create dynamic environments that support it.

We have invested in research to identify our strengths so that CCA can improve outreach to top student applicants and inspire new supporters.

And in the last few years we have launched new and revitalized existing academic programs; formed fruitful partnerships with industry and community organizations; and made significant improvements in technology and infrastructure to support faculty, students, staff, and alumni. 

 Our goal in implementing these improvements, however, is not to reshape CCA's core mission and educational ideology; rather, we strive to reaffirm our powerful founding legacy in the Arts and Crafts movement, to amplify the college's reputation for diverse practice, and to promote the distinctive educational model that has defined a CCA education for over 100 years.

Strategic Framework for Campus Planning
In June we completed the first phase of a long-range plan -- a strategic framework to develop a path to CCA's future. Working with the firms Gensler and MK Think, the yearlong process involved faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees, and built on our previous work in academic planning with the Academic Pathways project.

The findings and recommendations focus on key areas such as student experience and housing.

Read the published detailed report, called Framing the Future.

Student Experience
During the planning process, we confirmed that one of our ongoing challenges is CCA's two-campus structure and its effect on teaching and learning inside and outside the classroom. The physical divide that currently separates our community of makers presents social, logistical, and most importantly, pedagogical challenges.

Our planning work with Gensler engaged hundreds of people in the CCA community, and through this process we realized that bringing our academic programs together would have far-reaching benefits:

  • significantly increase synergies among disciplines
  • allow us to build new, improved, and integrated facilities for making, learning, and living
  • increase connections among CCA community members and with leading practitioners, industries, and supporters outside the college

Through this phase of planning, we discovered we have enough land to accommodate the entire CCA academic program on the San Francisco campus. Determining how and when this could happen is the next step.

The future of the Oakland campus is a top priority, and we will explore a range of options for how we can best use this important part of our legacy for the benefit of the CCA community.

Given the rising costs of living in the Bay Area, devising housing strategies for students and faculty is crucial. While we are thrilled with the new Panoramic Residences for student that just opened in San Francisco, we are now looking several years out at scenarios for additional housing both on and near the San Francisoc campus.

Community Input
As the planning process moves forward, input from alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends will be vital to shaping the vision. In the coming months opportunities will be extended for you to participate.

To keep up to date, bookmark this campus-planning blog. Ask questions and leave feedback at

The steps we are taking today will prepare us for the future and position CCA to take advantage of opportunities we couldn't even have imagined as recently as five years ago. This is a moment for CCA to be bold. We are in the right place, at the right time, with the right values and educational model!

Thank you for your interest in CCA and in our planning process.  Your input is important, and I look forward to working with you to help shape the college's future.


Stephen Beal, President