President Beal outlines long-range planning activities

posted Apr 29, 2014, 11:10 AM by   [ updated May 27, 2014, 4:47 PM ]

In an email to the CCA community dated April 29, 2014, CCA President Stephen Beal shared his enthusiasm for the future of the college and outlined steps the college is taking for long-range campus planning.

The entire text of the email is below.

Dear CCA Community,

As another academic year comes to a close, I feel, and I hope you share, a sense of pride in CCA and enthusiasm for the future. In the past 15 years, the college has experienced unprecedented growth, increased visibility, and steady academic improvements. But I believe that when we look back 20 years from now, those achievements may pale in comparison to the enormous successes and expanded opportunities that lie ahead for the college.

The landscape of higher education is transforming before our very eyes. Changing demographics, the economy, and new instructional models are just a few of the drivers of this change. While the future will not be kind to all colleges, I’m confident that CCA is well positioned to thrive in what may become higher education’s “new normal.”

 Three important factors are fueling my excitement for CCA’s future:

  1. The studio-based pedagogy and broad, collaborative learning approaches that are at the core of a CCA education have become increasingly recognized and valued by employers, entrepreneurs, community organizations, and business leaders.
  2. Our students are deeply committed to sustainable art and design practices, civic engagement, and social justice -- values that will advance the new economy, reshape our national character, and help secure the future of our planet.
  3. CCA is in the right place at the right time. The San Francisco Bay Area is a global epicenter for technological, social, and cultural innovation -- the perfect place for creative young people looking for a forward-thinking college of the arts.
This is an important point in CCA’s history -- a time when the college is experiencing significant, potentially game-changing, challenges and opportunities. In order for CCA to define and lead next-generation art and design pedagogy, it’s crucial that we gather together now to envision the future of the college.

Campus Planning Activity

I am pleased to announce that we will be embarking on a long-range campus planning process. Building on the good work of the CCA community in developing the Strategic Plan 2010–15, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee’s goals for interdisciplinary academic projects, and the more recent AcademicPathways planning project, this process will involve taking a close look at both the organizational/operational structure and physical aspects (studios, buildings, grounds, facilities) of the college. Our goal is to begin a planning process that will guide a range of educational and organizational objectives for years to come.

 We have engaged the services of the planning and architectural firm Gensler, and the process is expected to take 9 to 10 months. Gensler staff will engage in a series of activities with the CCA community—including benchmarking, developing scenarios, prototyping, and modeling—before delivering a set of strategic and tactical recommendations. They will also be working with the firm MKThink, which will provide data-enabled analytics to help frame key issues. The project scope does not include the actual design and building of new facilities, but will result in a series of spatial strategies that lay the groundwork for future building projects.

The faculty will play a major role throughout this process; the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and the ad hoc Faculty Campus Planning Committee will be deeply involved. In order to keep the project moving, members of the Faculty Campus Planning Committee will work with the Gensler team over the summer to prepare and plan for broader faculty participation in the fall.

Road Map for the Future

Our ultimate goal for this undertaking is to create a road map for CCA’s future. This project presents an exciting opportunity to strengthen and expand our creative community and discover and facilitate new synergies among our fields of art, architecture, curating, design, and writing. It’s a unique chance for us to envision the best possible educational experience for our students and to define CCA’s role as a leader in arts education. I look forward to working with the entire CCA community -- faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees -- on this important project.

If you have any questions or concerns about campus planning, please direct them for now to VP for Communications Chris Bliss at We've tried to anticipate some of the questions; below you will an FAQ about campus planning.


Stephen Beal



Long-range planning FAQ

How will the CCA community be involved in long-range planning?

Stakeholder engagement will be key to the success of developing our plans. Throughout the process, there will be opportunities to participate for the entire CCA community—students, faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni. We will be working with Gensler to develop various modes of engagement and communication. Until then, you can check this campus planning blog for updates. We are also preparing campus planning presentations for upcoming staff and faculty meetings, where we will outline the timeline and key benchmarks for the project.

Why develop a long-range campus plan?

Colleges and universities periodically initiate campus facilities planning or develop institutional master plans to address specific and often multiple issues. These can include enrollment capacity, current space utilization and anticipated future needs, land use development, student housing, transportation, new programs, and administrative infrastructure. Issues such as these are common across all higher education institutions, and creating an institutional master plan is considered a best practice.

How can I find out what’s going on with this campus planning project

We plan on communicating throughout the process through a variety of platforms, both digital and print, which we will be developing. In the meantime, please check this campus planning blog for the latest updates.

Will the plan include new buildings and facilities?

The project scope does not include the actual design and building of new facilities, but it will result in a series of spatial strategies and scenarios. The recommendations will recognize the need for flexibility but also acknowledge the distinct characteristics of particular kind of spaces -- for example, areas for teaching, making, exhibitions, gathering, and recreation.

Does this mean we will be unifying the two campuses in San Francisco?

This is one of the scenarios that will be explored during this project. As you know, CCA’s Board of Trustees set a goal in 2006 to explore bringing together our programs into a unified, vibrant institution at our San Francisco campus. We believe the unification of our programs into one campus will provide our students with significant benefits by enhancing the academic and student life experience. We are still in the early phases of exploring if it’s possible, and how and when it might happen.