College of Health and Human Services uses collaborative planning process to prepare for future

When College of Health and Human Services leaders set out to develop a new strategic plan, aligning the college’s goals with CSULB’s overarching vision for the future was not their biggest hurdle. 

Instead, the challenge was creating a responsive planning process, one that was well-understood by the college and served to galvanize its efforts.  

The solution, Dean Monica Lounsbery proposed, would be an off-site retreat for faculty and staff leaders. First held in Temecula during summer of 2022, the two-day event convened decision-makers from across the college, who represented the infrastructure of CHHS, including departments, schools, centers, committees, and shared governance.  

There, college leaders came together to imagine the future of CHHS, developing annual strategic goals and specific action plans to pursue. The goal was to have a realistic, yet forward-thinking plan that could be revisited throughout the academic year.   

CHHS Quick Facts

The 2018 launch of university-wide strategic planning campaign Beach 2030 kickstarted a full-bodied effort to orient CSULB alongside values and priorities that cement its place as a national leader and fortify its mission for enhancing the public good. To help the university realize this bold vision for the future, campus leaders called on every college and division to devise a plan that would ensure these values permeate the university at every level. 

CHHS leaders early on got to work aligning the college’s own strategic priorities with the university’s values and goals laid out in the Beach 2030 campaign. Developing a comprehensive planning process to set and achieve annual goals that fulfill its priorities has been the focus of CHHS’s recent efforts.  

Through this work, CHHS leaders initially recognized a need for college-wide coordination to support its goals around EDI, and launched a faculty fellowship to achieve this. A desire for overall planning support was quickly recognized, and the CHHS Beach 2030 Faculty Fellow was tapped to help track progress and connect efforts to optimize work more effectively across the college. 

Before this position was helping coordinate efforts, “we were often engaging in similar initiatives with other departments and didn’t even know it,” said Melissa Dyo, Beach 2030 Faculty Fellow for CHHS.     

The planning process developed during the retreat included devising a host of actions to be completed during the academic year, with a progress check-in and more goal-planning at the start of spring semester. While the summer 2022 event was a pilot, it proved integral in developing CHHS’s strategic planning model. There was a strong sense that the broad CHHS representation at the retreat has led to a greater culture of cohesion.  

“Our dean uses the metaphor of rowing in the same direction and the retreat was a place where that started to become a reality,” Dyo said. 

Many CHHS initiatives are underway, aligned with annual goals to support college strategic priorities.  For example, a mental health training initiative for faculty and a month-long wellness campaign to promote healthy living launched this year, supporting the college’s mission to define, support and assess student, faculty and staff success.   

Additionally, a recent collaboration between CHHS’s School of Social Work and the Long Beach Unified School District, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach and Mental Health America Los Angeles was born out of efforts to broaden community engagement and advance partnerships — another strategic priority identified by the college, said Jonathan Murrietta, communications specialist for CHHS. The joint effort aims to focus on youth mental health, while also creating meaningful field internship placements for students in the School of Social Work program. Opportunities like this are essential for preparing students to meet the needs of the community and for degree completion.   

When the CHHS team returns to Temecula this summer, they’ll spend time evaluating this school year’s actions and progress, and work as a team to create future goals. 

“I’m very proud of the model we are using to actualize our strategic plan and I’m even more proud of the work CHHS is accomplishing together with our students, alumni and the communities we serve,” Lounsbery said.