College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Strategic Plan


Strategic Plan
U. ARIZONA College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
The University of Arizona

Executive Summary

The University of Arizona’s STEM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) delivers on agricultural, commerce, environmental, life, and many social sciences.

CALS is Arizona’s land-grant university’s (LGU) founding college. Historically fulfilling our missions meant we created new people and new knowledge for a new economy. This is the core of the nation’s land-grant universities and is as relevant today as it was in 1862 when the Morrill “land-grant university” Act was signed.

Like every LGU, CALS has academic schools and departments that deliver teaching, research and Cooperative Extension. CALS’ strategic plan is focused to allow us to be resilient, regionally responsive to our stakeholders and globally relevant.

We must be more innovative, entrepreneurial, flexible and nimble when addressing both the practical problems of society and the basic science challenges that underpin new knowledge generation. We need to accept risk as part of our management and leadership norms. We will employ a “Deming cycle” of continually reviewing what we are doing so that we can change as soon as we see a better path forward.

The Great Recession signaled our new normal, accelerating changes in, and the coalescence of, computation, biology and engineering that have since been branded the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (4thIR) by the World Economic Forum. This 4thIR has become the central tenet of the U. ARIZONA strategic plan. We have always known that we need to be where the world is going, not where it is today, and so we’re well-placed to deliver for the U. ARIZONA in its 4thIR strategic plan.

We know we face, and need to be responsive to, rapidly changing technologies, delivery models, age and demographic diversity, and state demographics, because we always have been.

We know that today’s graduates will have multiple jobs.

We know how to create new energy sources, more efficient water and energy use, how the value of food and food production will increase, how family structures and economies are changing amongst many other things. These, and others in the following pages, are key specific areas that we positively influence and impact, especially for our region and global regions like ours.

We will deliver resilience through integrated systems with five interconnected components:

  • Arid and Semi-Arid Region Agriculture and Environment
  • Individuals, Families, Communities, and Organizations
  • Globally Oriented Basic and Applied Research
  • Border Commerce
  • The Bioeconomy

CALS teaches science for work in six distinct, yet interconnected and interdependent economic areas (upper case; degrees in lowercase; percentages are undergraduate major proportions) - see the graphic on page 2 in the CALS strategic plan.

CALS researches and extends science at work in six distinct, yet interconnected and interdependent, economic areas (upper case; specific areas in lowercase; percentages are current distribution of output proportions) - see the graphic on page 3 in the CALS strategic plan.

We will allocate resources to meet needs and directions of the U. Arizona as a whole as well as based on being an exceptional and critical hub in the nation’s knowledge network. This plan includes specific guiding principles for allocating resources.

This plan was developed starting from the points of delivery and involves all our employees. Every CALS’ academic unit has a plan in the same format so that these can be compared and contrasted. When presented from the administrative center outwards to the front-line where the rubber meets the road, each plan gets more granular and more specific. In this document, the overarching CALS plan is presented first followed by those of each of our two mission areas then each unit’s plan follows. The college strategic intents are described here.


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