We are Natural Sciences

Portrait of Dean Jan Nerger smiling.I am excited to present the College of Natural Sciences’ strategic plan for 2022-2027. Go Boldly is a call to action for everyone in our college – as we move into the future, we do so with bold ambitions and a renewed commitment to our mission and values.

The Go Boldly plan is the culmination of a broad community effort that we started in Fall 2021. I am proud to say that faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and friends of the college have contributed their ideas and input to this plan. Through a collaborative process, we have developed a strategic plan that builds upon our strengths and past accomplishments and positions us to continue to advance this amazing college.

As a community, we share a core belief in the power of high-quality education and research to effect transformative change. We support broad goals of inclusive excellence, research excellence, student success, and global impact. The disciplines we represent are the foundation needed to realize the vision set forth in Colorado State University’s strategic plan. As such, our Go Boldly plan aligns our strategies with those of the University’s plan while celebrating our individual strengths and ambitions.

To everyone in our community – those of you who work here, study here, and support us – I invite you to Go Boldly.

Janice L. Nerger, Dean
College of Natural Sciences


Harnessing the power of the foundational sciences, the College of Natural Sciences leads transformative research, education, and engagement; supports an inclusive community that removes barriers to access and success; and fosters a spirit of inquiry.


The College of Natural Sciences will continue to be a global leader in foundational and multidisciplinary research, recognized for innovative high-quality education in the sciences and important, impactful outreach and engagement.


  • We embrace curiosity and a culture of innovation.
  • We champion fundamental and applied research.
  • We support world-class education at all levels.
  • We encourage collaboration and multidisciplinary work.
  • We foster a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.
  • We value local, national, and global engagement.

Our Path Forward

Goals To Advance Our Mission

Lead impactful, recognized research to address global challenges and pursue exciting research frontiers.

Support our students throughout their educational journeys and prepare them for their futures.

Expand scientific and quantitative literacy by making science accessible, interesting, and relevant.

Strategic Priorities To Reach Our Goals

Organizational Evolutions To Support Our Success

  1. Foster a sense of belonging so everyone feels valued and part of the college mission.
  2. Align budget and fundraising efforts with strategic priorities.
  3. Attract, retain, and develop talented people throughout the college.

Strategic Priorities

Strategic Priority #1

Leverage our strengths in foundational and applied sciences to expand knowledge, address challenges, and pursue new frontiers.

  1. Invest in the cross-cutting strategic research areas of:
    1. Data science
    2. Health
    3. Quantum science
    4. Sustainability
    5. Computing
    6. Imaging at every scale
    7. Science and mathematics education
  2. Support multidisciplinary research collaboratives that transcend traditional disciplines.
  3. Encourage cluster-hiring among departments and colleges in strategic research areas.
  4. Champion basic research.
  5. Support faculty research initiatives and entrepreneurship.
  6. Align fundraising priorities to support research, including prioritizing new endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships/fellowships for students, and funds to further enhance research infrastructure.

Strategic Priority #2

Center CSU’s Principles of Community in every facet of our work.

  1. Build a culture of respect by valuing everyone’s roles, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  2. Provide more transparency in our operations and increase the number of voices informing our decisions.
  3. Take a data-informed approach to understand the climate in our college for employees and students.
  4. Assure our recruitment and retention practices encourage diversification of our faculty, staff, and student body.
  5. Integrate the Principles of Community into the curriculum and our classrooms.
  6. Provide professional development opportunities for all our employees.

Strategic Priority #3

Support our people, programs, and facilities.

  1. Invest in current and new research facilities to attract and retain talented faculty and research staff.
  2. Increase research activity by investing in research cores, training and center grants, seed grant programs leading to extramural funding, research gap funding, and award administration.
  3. Secure industry and community partnerships in support of our research enterprise.
  4. Seek competitive, equitable salaries and compensation across all levels of the college.
  5. Provide career advancement and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  6. Assess the need for additional and more flexible support across the college by cross-training staff.
  7. Further develop efficient and effective means of internal and external communications.

Strategic Priority #4

Continuously evolve our curriculum, educational practices, and co-curricular activities.

  1. Create opportunities for student learning in our strategic research areas of data science, health, quantum science, sustainability, computing, imaging at every scale, and science and mathematics education.
  2. Establish curriculum and concentration review processes that ensure students are provided a rigorous education that includes cutting-edge, discipline-specific skills as well as relevant multidisciplinary skills, so they are well equipped for the modern workforce.
  3. Expand access to high-quality undergraduate research opportunities.
  4. Ensure the curriculum is constructed with a student-centered focus, informed by the Science of Learning and designed to be accessible to all students.
  5. Continuously review our introductory and service courses to assure they are meeting the needs of the University.
  6. Develop concentrations, certificate programs, and graduate degrees that foster lifelong learning and provide students with marketable skill sets.
  7. Make our programs available and accessible to a broader range of learners by expanding our online and hybrid presence.

Strategic Priority #5

Be a student-ready college that fosters student success at every stage of their educational journey.

  1. Take a data-informed approach to understanding the student population in each of our programs.
  2. Utilize CSU’s equity gap data to inform funding decisions for student success initiatives.
  3. Identify and remove barriers to increase access and success.
  4. Develop graduate student-success initiatives.
  5. Invest in graduate student training and funding opportunities and increase stipends to levels that are competitive with peer institutions.
  6. Expand opportunities to build communities among graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
  7. Expand programming in the College of Natural Sciences Amplify community.
  8. Develop new opportunities for students to engage in STEM experiences.

Strategic Priority #6

Create excitement for the sciences and mathematics by extending our outreach and engagement efforts.

  1. Extend our reach and influence through strategic partnerships with CSU Spur, CSU Pueblo, and the Office of Engagement and Extension.
  2. Raise the profile of our STEM teacher-education programs.
  3. Grow our partnerships with Colorado K-12 science and mathematics teachers.
  4. Facilitate outreach efforts of our faculty, staff, and students.
  5. Promote the work of the College of Natural Sciences Education and Outreach Center and the Little Shop of Physics.

Implementation Process

Go Boldly is a roadmap designed to empower departments and units to develop their own tactical plans that align with the college’s strategic priorities. The tactical plans will identify annual and multiyear initiatives and priorities and thereby inform and guide the college leadership team as they prioritize initiatives and set budgets at the beginning of each budget cycle. Departments and units will report their progress annually in relation to relevant metrics and key performance indicators to inform next steps in the prioritization and funding process.

College Outreach