Be a Future-Ready University


In preparation for BEACH 2030, hundreds of staff, faculty, students, and community members were introduced to the practice of ‘futures thinking’ and asked to help shape a positive future for our campus. The enthusiasm generated from this collective process is the fuel that will maintain momentum for the BEACH 2030 movement into the new decade. As we institutionalize BEACH 2030 within organizational structures, we will integrate trainings, material resources, and mechanisms to evaluate and incentivize futures thinking. We must become future ready leaders.

Unlike previous planning efforts, BEACH 2030 surveys a much broader timeframe (10 years) and engages members of the campus community who are not typically involved in the planning process. Developing an Office for the Future to bring internal and external stakeholders together around this work will further brand CSULB as a forward-looking campus; an institution of higher education capable of providing broader understanding about an uncertain future.

Futures thinking courses and content for students are novel in higher education, but they are skills students desperately need. Further, the campus and region will benefit from the ability to generate interdisciplinary knowledge on future topics (e.g., the future of work, the future of higher education, the future of medical advancement, etc.).  CSULB is rich in intellectual expertise that could be leveraged to support futurist efforts internally, such as mapping future trends related to Grand Challenges. This is also an opportunity to serve as a national expert in future trends impacting our region and the world.



1a. Institutionalize Beach 2030 strategic planning processes:

  • Develop goals and milestones for Beach 2030 Action Plans
  • Establish funding and monitor return on investment (ROI) of Beach 2030 project(s) and strategic efforts
  • Communicate and celebrate Beach 2030 actions and outcomes to all stakeholders
  • Create a network of internal and external strategic planning stakeholders (e.g., Beach Futures Strategic Planning Committees)
  • Develop infrastructure to plan and execute the next Beach Strategic Vision process for 2040

1b. Develop futures thinking capacity within organizational structures:

  • Provide futures thinking training for faculty and staff with CSULB Beach 2030 specific materials and resources
  • Create materials and resources for incorporating futures thinking into decision making and planning across the institution
  • Create mechanisms to integrate, evaluate, and reward futures thinking (staff PD changes, futures thinking feedback loops, futures thinking staff recognition and staff champions)
  • Vice Provost of Academic Planning
  • Office of Faculty Affairs
  • Director of Strategic Planning (AS Policy 01-08)
  • Office of Human Resources
  • Center for Professional Development
  • BEACH 2030 Planning Team
  • Institutional Research and Analytics

The BEACH 2030 planning process has already established some futures thinking infrastructure and expertise at CSULB and earned brand recognition for our forward-thinking campus. As we capitalize on that momentum and expand and institutionalize our futures thinking capacity, we will equip faculty and staff with CSULB-unique tools to execute our ambitious BEACH 2030 Action Plans in pursuit of our university’s Strategic Priorities.


To fully integrate futures thinking into organizational culture across campus, our traditionally siloed structures, departments, and units, particularly those responsible for trainings and professional development, must be synchronized and empowered to lead the charge. Acting on the commitment of Beach 2030 aspirations will require on-going commitment and coordination.  Administrative support and an institutional structure that coordinates these efforts will be essential to maintaining momentum into the decade.


Higher education institutions across the country are discussing how to best position themselves in an increasingly uncertain future. This effort would both build internal capacity to think strategically about the future and consistently channel campus-wide efforts toward long-term strategic priorities.


2a. Develop futures thinking curricula for students, utilizing existing structures such as SOAR and new modules, courses, minors, certificates, and internships in the discipline.

2b. Engage the community in foresight-related activities:

  • Host events that bring stakeholders together around pressing issues such as Grand Challenges (futures thinking guest lectures, expert talks, Beach Futures conferences)
  • Maintain communications with the community on these topics

2c. Develop interdisciplinary foresight capacity:

  • Assemble a cross-institutional network of experts to conduct foresight study of pressing issues (Beach Grand Challenges, BEACH 2030 Actions, and other themes impacting higher education)
  • Establish interdisciplinary support, funds, competitions, and incentives in this area
  • Create foresight, data, and reports in support of Beach Grand Challenge efforts
  • Produce a signature Beach 10-year Futures Forecast
  • Vice Provost of Academic Planning
  • Division of Academic Affairs
  • Center for Community Engagement
  • Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP)
  • BEACH 2030 Planning Team
  • Institutional Research

Futures thinking is an invaluable resource for our institution’s aspirations for interdisciplinarity, community engagement, and the public good – areas of primary focus within the BEACH 2030 dialogue.

In addition to equipping our campus to pursue its goals for 2030, institutionalizing futures thinking can generate revenue as an intellectual commodity. Courses in futures thinking can be extended through CPIE to non-CSULB students; conferences and futures thinking events can be hosted on campus; and consultation in foresight capacity can be provided to regional and corporate partners. There is a growing appetite for experts in futures thinking among organizations grappling with the same challenges that CSULB is tackling, and these skills can benefit businesses, institutions, organizations and students alike.


Each of the sub-themes within this effort are campus-wide and multi-year efforts that require the coordination of multiple units, divisions and external partners. Administrative support and an institutional structure to coordinate actions will be essential to directing these ongoing efforts and maintaining momentum into the decade.


The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for foresight and the capacity for nimble action in response to rapid change. By institutionalizing futures thinking among students, campus, and community partners, and by implementing strategic analysis of current signals and future trends, we help empower CSULB to grow in the face of challenge and shape a bright future.