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CSM Forward 2028 - Education Master Plan (EMP)

Participatory Governance & Leadership

College of San Mateo’s first hundred years show the foundations and traditions we build on going forward. It’s an opportunity to draw something of a landscape plan for the future — not only of the physical campus, but also of our values, priorities, and direction.

College Statements

That landscape is governed primarily by three documents. Each represents a collaboration between different constituencies of the College – staff, faculty, and administration.

The events of Summer 2020 added urgency to the College’s equity and antiracism efforts. Following an urgent discussion at Management Council in early June of that year, a cross-constituency group set to work on crafting a statement as an “attempt to respond to a distress call that might have been missed” (Institutional Planning Committee minutes 12/2/20). The Solidarity Statement was reviewed by the Director of Equity, discussed and endorsed by Academic and Classified Senates, and ultimately approved by CSM’s Institutional Planning Committee on January 20, 2021.

The Solidarity Statement articulates the College’s commitment to serving hyper-marginalized students of all kinds. It is a kind of pledge — to not be satisfied with the status quo, or with the “best” that we can do, but to keep pushing ahead to look for ways to do better by those students who rely on us, and whom we so often fail. The task it outlines (to “dismantle our own oppressive college systems”) is an ambitious and as-yet undefined one. The work of the coming years will consist in deciding what, exactly, this means, identifying and implementing changes, and measuring their effectiveness.

In March 2022, a revision to the existing “College Mission & Values Statements” was submitted to a still-ongoing participatory governance process. This outlines a proposed statement of our aspirations (vision); our focus (mission); and the practices that we, as a college, can develop to achieve our mission (values).

Vision: To deliver a liberatory education that inspires individual achievement and generational impacts.

Mission: We are the community’s college. College of San Mateo creates access and inclusion, fosters academic excellence, and ensures equitable outcomes so students can realize their full potential.


  • Accountability: We value continuous improvement as a way to demonstrate our commitment to high-quality programs and services.
  • Authentic Care: We value love as praxis.
  • Celebration: We value celebrating both personal and professional accomplishments, milestones, and achievements.
  • Critical Reflection: We value critical self-analysis of our deeply held assumptions.
  • Empowerment: We value empowerment as a means to liberation.
  • Excellence: We value and maintain CSM’s legacy of excellence in education.
  • Growth (Personal & Professional): We value personal and professional enrichment for all members of our campus community.
  • Inspiration & Innovation: We value inspiration and innovation as a means to improvement.
  • Integrity: We value acting with integrity in thought and deed.
  • Solidarity: We value cross-collaboration and working to “yes.”

These define our commitment to the practices that will bring our vision and values to fruition.

  • Be Great for Our Students
    College of San Mateo is committed to being a campus that is antiracist, equity-advancing, and focused on academic excellence.
  • Engage in Thoughtful Inquiry
    We are committed to critically examining our policies and practices, utilizing self-reflective inquiry, critical reflection, and data-informed decision making
  • Inspire & Innovate
    Foster an environment where we can be brave and open to create ways educate, engage, and support students, employees, and the community
  • Reflect & Connect
    We commit to honoring one another in our practice by allocating time to support one another with humility, trust, and respect
  • Commit to Continuous Improvement
    As members of the CSM community, we strive to improve individually and collectively as we deliberately and continuously assess/evaluate our practices, policies, and procedures to promote accountability to CSM students.

The work of these leadership commitments is shaped by our Institutional Priorities (Management Council 3/14/2022). Our priorities are:

  • Antiracism/Equity
  • Community Partnerships
  • Effective Communication
  • Strategic Planning
  • Student-Focused Support
  • Teaching and Learning

These in turn align with our District’s Strategic Priorities, as outlined below.

District Strategic Priorities CSM Institutional Priorities
Develop and strengthen educational offerings, interventions, and support programs that increase student access & success. CSM focuses on teaching and learning, and prioritizes student-focused support, especially relating to antiracism/ equity work that supports access and success for students most in need.
Establish and expand relationships with school districts, 4-year college partners, and community-based organizations to increase higher education attainment in San Mateo County. CSM calls for community partnerships to support stronger teaching and learning. This also aligns with the emphasis on effective internal and external communications.
Increase program delivery options, including the expanded use of instructional technology, to support student learning and success. CSM’s teaching and learning make innovative use of new technology; strategic planning is required to develop de­livery options that speak to student need, as well as stu­dent-focused support to ensure students are well served in different modalities.
Ensure necessary resources are available to implement this strategic plan through sound fiscal planning and management of allocations. Strategic planning supports sound allocation of CSM’s resources. Planning also calls for effective communication, both internal and external.

Integrated Planning: Working Together

The College represents a diverse and varied community, with dozens of services, departments, and support sectors — all of which must continually set goals and objectives. It’s vital, then, that all this planning is integrated, so that the many moving parts of the College come together to move us towards our overall goals. Integrated planning is a sustainable approach to planning that builds relationships, aligns the organization, and emphasizes preparedness for change (Soci­ety for College and University Professionals, 2022).

The planning process begins with the Education Master Plan, which identifies the College’s priorities. Integrated plans from different areas of the College explain how each proposes to respond to the priorities, with unit work plans detailing the specific work, and Program Review reporting on the work in progress. Resource requests correspond, in turn, to the needs outlined in the planning process.

Feedback was solicited from the campus through a variety of methods. A feedback session, open to all, was held on CSM’s Opening Day in August 2022; postcards were distributed linking to a submission form which took responses through September. Two additional all-campus feedback sessions were held online, as well as division visits, and visits to Academic and Classified Senates. Community partners were also invited to provide feedback. The feedback period was publicized through the Bulldog Bulletin e-newsletter, and through a dedicated page on the College website.

The College represents a diverse and varied community, with dozens of services, departments, and support sectors — all of which must continually set goals and objectives. It’s vital, then, that all this planning is integrated, so that the many moving parts of the College come together to move us towards our overall goals. Integrated planning is a sustainable approach to planning that builds relationships, aligns the organization, and emphasizes preparedness for change (Soci­ety for College and University Professionals, 2022).

CSM Planning Cycle

Implementing CSM’s Vision, Mission, Values & Priorities

The practical work of turning our vision, values, and priorities into practice begins with the College’s integrated plans. Integrated plans are aligned with the district strategic plan, CSM Education Master Plan, Vision, Mission, Values, and Leadership Commitments. Each integrat­ed plan lays out a brief history, and includes an external scan, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, current and future goals, and a description of how its work aligns with the College’s six Institu­tional Priorities. Work plans are written for areas where further detail is needed. The program review and resource request processes further align our integrated planning with our continuous improvement cycle. Twelve areas of the College have proposed plans:

  • Administrative
  • College Facilities
  • Communications & Outreach
  • Distance Education
  • Enrollment Sustainability & Growth
  • Equity
  • Instruction
  • Professional Development
  • Research & Innovation
  • Strategic Initiatives & Economic Development
  • Student Services
  • Technology

Nine of these initial plans went through participatory gover­nance processes through September 21, 2022. Draft plans were circulated for feedback from all relevant college bodies: Academic Senate,  Classified Senate, institutional commit­tees, deans, divisions, student services, and other college constituencies as appropriate. Three plans, the Enrollment, Sustainability & Growth; Equity; and Strategic Initiatives & Economic Development integrated plans, are still in development.

CSM’s integrated plans are working documents that will be assessed, revised, and measured annually as part of our continuous improvement process: constituent groups across campus review plans and prioritize action steps for each institutional priority across all plans.

Emerging Priorities

The items below aggregate some of the priorities emerging so far from the integrated planning process of this Education Master Plan.

While some integrated plans are still in development, themes have emerged. Across the College, plans emphasize the need:

To continue to offer excellent, rigorous academic pro­grams that support students’ transfer and employment goals and promote their overall education. The College values and prioritizes critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, information literacy, and mindful learning as the center of the student experience; academic programs reflect and encourage these values.

To recruit and retain passionate, highly qualified faculty who reflect the diversity of our student body. We should work to retain these faculty through professional development in teaching and learning, support in their scholarly pursuits, and critical dialogue about educational equity and justice.

To ground our work in data to inform improvement and decision making. Across the board, plans call for up-to-date data that is analyzed in partnership with researchers to meaningfully assess the strengths and weaknesses of our programs, our students’ needs, and our progress in serving them. Data coaching is essential to build the capacity to analyze data for programs in a meaningful and relevant way.

To ensure that the student voice is heard. Along with quantifiable data, plans frequently refer to ensuring that the student voice becomes part of the planning and as­sessment process. Through focus groups, surveys, panel discussions, and other forums, we need to keep hearing from students themselves: we need to know what they need, what their experience of the College is like, and how they feel our programs are working.

To provide well-supported, continuous, integrated pro­fessional development for all College constituencies. Plans frequently identify a need for well-resourced professional development opportunities to support our priorities. We need training in technology, pedagogy, accessibility, data interpretation, new partnerships and initiatives, educational equity and justice, as well as continuing mentorship and orientation of part-time and full-time faculty.

To promote collaborations inside and outside of the College. Plans frequently refer to partnerships and collaboration. Our initiatives (Guided Pathways, Dual Enrollment, learning communities), our participation in statewide programs (CVC-OEI, Umoja, Puente), and our Career and Technical Education programs rely on such collaborations.

To regularly measure, reflect on, and communicate our progress. Plans include audits, rubrics, and other instru­ments that help us assess our efforts at improvements. In addition, feedback from institutional processes such as Program Review and Flex Day workshops allows us to document our goals, progress made towards them, and self-reflection. Finally, plans typically refer to communicating these reflections, underscoring the importance of shared forums and participation.

To promote a Community of Practice. A significant part of the goal of communication is to share what we learn, in different parts of the College, about effective teaching and learning on our campus. Several plans outline ways to support a culture of reflection and discussion, connect professional development to Program Review, ensure collaboration across disciplines, and work toward continuous improvement in teaching and learning.

Integrated plans outline ways in which priorities will be turned into action. A look at some of the specifics around each priority gives us a sense of the College’s emerging character. As we fi­nalize the integrated plans across the College and move through the participatory governance process, these ideas can serve as a guide for input:

Antiracism/Equity: Plans suggest an emphasis on a welcoming community that all students can be a part of, with culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy, accessibility, and increased visibility of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and other students.

Community Partnerships: Plans describe the building and strengthening of external relationships in historically and currently under-resourced areas, such as high schools, faith-based organizations, mental health and basic needs organizations, and other community centers. Collaborations with feeder high schools smooth the path into college (no­tably through Dual Enrollment), and participation in the Cal­ifornia Virtual Campus — Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI) improves access to quality online classes. Intra-District and internal collaborations improve administrative services, support professional development in various areas, and strengthen mentoring.

Effective Communication: Plans suggest ways of improving internal and external communication on campus by improving navigation online and on campus, ensuring a positive arrival and wayfinding experience for newcomers. Internal communication can improve clarity, consistency, formats, and channels. Shared schedules, documentation protocols, and event publicity can improve the College’s websites and technical communications. The College can also enhance communication with current and potential students to market our excellent academic programs.

Strategic Planning: Strategies for enrollment management, fiscal stability, sustainability, and facilities management are guided by data-informed decision making. The strategic planning process includes participatory governance with all constituent groups.

Student-Focused Support: CSM provides a wide and easily accessible range of services, including financial aid, mental health services, translation services, technology access and support, and personal and academic services. Ultimately, these plans include student housing. Academic support comes from a proactive approach to recruitment and meeting student needs through support for Dual Enrollment, services for first-generation and marginalized students, participation in the Promise Scholars Program and other initiatives, and ensuring access for Coastside students. Finally, there’s an emphasis on improving the student on-campus experience (modernizing the Gymnasium, Library, East Hall, and Center for Emerging Technologies). Many of our buildings have been renovated in the past 100 years. However, many still need updates to deferred maintenance. Plans are underway to remedy deferred maintenance throughout the next five years.

Teaching and Learning: Teaching and learning represent the core of CSM’s mission, and promoting excellence in this area is a key focus of planning. In professional development planning, there’s an emphasis on developing a culture of inquiry, reflection, and continuous improvement. This can be achieved by building a Community of Practice and by ensuring that the Program Review process creates opportunities for discussion and collaboration across College constituencies and uses inquiry-driven assessment of student learning outcomes to inform and support professional development.

Professional development should also ensure that our faculty are adept in working with our students; provide opportunities for staying informed of discipline-specific issues and pedagogy in general; create processes for developing programs and curricula that reflect our students’ identities and our community’s employment needs; and provide opportunities for students to engage in scholarship and academia beyond their classroom work. The Center for Academic Excellence offers a permanent home for professional development activities and permanent staffing for coordination and inquiry design.

Enrollment Sustainability and Growth: CSM enrollment is a priority for our community. Education can be an engine of change, and enrollment at CSM provides an education that leads to transfer or upwardly mobile careers. Therefore, CSM has embarked on developing an Enrollment Sustainability and Growth plan that will be completed in Spring 2023. The plan will begin with institutional data, process documentation, and research on the enrollment environment. Institutional planning teams will then develop and implement an Enrollment Management and Sustainability Plan to guide the enrollment process. We will measure progress in the fall and spring semesters, and data and feedback will be used for continuous improvement.