Vision & Strategic Plan

Dean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand with CAPLA students

Our vision: Building a changing world.

CAPLA's strategic plan 2.0 is currently in progress, reflecting our commitment to evolving and enhancing our organizational vision and goals for the future.

Strategic Plan 2.0 Updates:

  1. Planning Process Design:  The Consultant spent much of August and early September interviewing different members of our leadership team, faculty and staff to better understand our unique structure, planning objectives and the resources available to inform the planning process.  These conversations informed the consultant’s recommendations for how to design our strategic planning process to ensure multiple and varied opportunities for stakeholder input, while keeping us on track to complete the process by the end of the Spring ’24 semester.  


  1. Formation of a Strategic Planning Steering Committee:  Given our size and various perspectives and interests, the Consultant has recommended formation of a diverse steering committee comprised of approximately 25 representatives of our primary stakeholder groups including administrative leadership, faculty, staff, industry, alumni, students and community.  We have confirmed the following members: 

    1. Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, Dean, CAPLA  
    2. Ileyn Godoy, Office Manager
    3. Angie Smith, Director of Development & Alumni Affairs 
    4. Simon White, Assistant Dean of Finance & Administration 
    5. Courtney Crosson, Director, The Drachman Institute 
    6. Laura Hollengreen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs 
    7. Lauri Johnson, Director, School of Landscape Architecture and Planning 
    8. Ryan Smith, Director, School of Architecture 
    9. Bo Yang, Associate Dean for Research 
    10. Susannah Dickinson, Council of Faculty Members Chair, General Faculty, Associate Professor , Architecture 
    11. Daniel Kuhlmann, Assistant Professor Real Estate Development and Planning 
    12. Kristi Currans, Council of Faculty Members Vice Chair, General Faculty, Associate Professor, Urban Planning 
    13. Bill Mackey, Lecturer, Architecture 
    14. Emilio Romero, Chair of Staff Advisory Council, Alumni and Development Manager 
    15. Laura Jensen, Vice Chair of Staff Advisory Council, Senior Program Coordinator, School of Landscape Architecture 
    16. Danielle DuBois, Academic Coordinator, School of Architecture 
    17. Richard Johnson, Senior Executive Director for Sustainability, Rice University, President Futures Council 
    18. Phil Swaim, Principal, Swaim Associates, Tucson 
    19. Amy Peron, SBE '15 and MLA '18, Senior Associate Norris Design, Tucson 
    20. Diane Jacobs, BArch ‘88, Principal, Holly Street Studios, Phoenix 
    21. Lori Jones Woods, AZ ASLA Southern Section Chair 
    22. Aaron Tsosie, BArch ‘14, SPS+ Architects 
    23. Lena Porel, Lead Planner, Housing & Community Development, City of Tucson 
    24. Tiara Stephen, Student from Planning 
    25. Daniel Schwab, Student from Landscape Architecture 
    26. Others invited but yet to be confirmed. 


  1. Planning Meetings:  The Strategic Planning Steering Committee held its first of four planning meetings on October 23rd.  The committee will meet again on January 10, February 6 and April 3 to consider the input of stakeholders, resolve critical issues, identify priorities and make recommendations regarding the strategic plan.  The agendas and summaries of those meetings will be made available to all.   


  1. Stakeholder Listening Sessions:  Throughout November and early December, the Consultant will convene listening sessions with stakeholder groups aimed at gathering input on the opportunities and challenges facing the College, as well as the priorities that should be reflected in the new strategic plan.  All members of the CAPLA community are encouraged to participate as they are able.  Please look for your invitation by email or announcement from the Dean’s office.  The current schedule is: 

    • Faculty: November 9 and November 14 
    • Staff: November 21 
    • Futures Council: November 9 
    • Alumni & Donors: November 16 
    • Architecture Student Advisory Group: November 20 
    • Students from Landscape Architecture, Planning & Real Estate: November 21 
    • Online Students: TBD 
    • Industry Leadership: TBD 


If you are unable to join us at these times but have specific thoughts, ideas or concerns to share, you also have a number of options: 

  1. Reach out directly to Jenny at to schedule another time to meet 1:1; 
  2. Share your feedback with a colleague or peer who WILL be attending the session; 
  3. Share your feedback with ME or another member of our Strategic Planning Steering Committee;
  4. Engage in a future opportunity to provide feedback through a digital survey that will be shared widely across our community.

Our Values

Emergent Thinking

At CAPLA, we create and own transformative ideas; foster future-oriented research, teaching and outreach; apply expertise, skills and knowledge to global challenges; anticipate new opportunities to expand college reach and impact; and stay among the vanguard.


At CAPLA, we encourage the spirit of inquiry and delight in learning; make strategic decisions with an appropriate balance of invention, risk and probable success; provide inspirational solutions with impact; explore the unknown; and apply lessons learned.

Design Perspective

At CAPLA, we hone our sensibilities in this place that is the Sonoran Desert; use design thinking methods which are empathetic and consider the wellbeing of all participants; leverage studio culture and making environments to enhance student-centered learning and applied research; address the global impacts of the built environment; and demonstrate the value of design and planning in reshaping the world.


At CAPLA, we use intellectual diversity as a means to create comprehensive thinking; create thoughtful, purposeful partnerships; remove barriers and develop rules of engagement to be applied to interdisciplinary processes; support cross-institutional, cross-college and cross-departmental activity; and facilitate inclusive approaches to problem-solving.


At CAPLA, we seek different perspectives, backgrounds, skills and expertise; respect the value, skills and qualities of others; strive for transparency, engagement, sharing and divergent thinking; and teach and demonstrate collaborative problem-solving skills.


At CAPLA, we are accountable for our responsibilities and actions; exhibit professional ethics, competence and reliability; treat all members of our community with respect, dignity and empathy, empowering them to be excellent in their domains; and use resources fairly, ethically and humanely to achieve goals in the present and to safeguard the future.

Our Aspirations

Objective 1: Place the built environment grand challenges among the university’s highest priorities and increase CAPLA leadership and visibility in the area.

Objective 2: Aggressively communicate and leverage our successes beyond the university to expand collaboration and partnership opportunities. 

Objective 3: Recruit, retain and support successful students who can actively contribute to CAPLA and the community, and who will actively contribute to changing the built environment upon graduation.

Objective 4: Recruit, retain and support successful faculty and staff who will actively contribute to the college, the university and the community by addressing the challenges of the built environment.

Objective 1: Dramatically increase grant funding and large project grants led by CAPLA faculty.

Objective 2: Increase mechanisms to support and foster the ongoing professional development of our faculty and researchers.

Objective 3: Align resources to enable quality research by CAPLA faculty.

Objective 1: Create curriculum to address the future needs of built environment professionals.

Objective 2: Create infrastructure and facilities to support teaching and collaboration.

Objective 3: Strengthen the link between research and teaching/learning.

Objective 4: Cultivate a community of lifelong learners and meaningful interaction with alumni beyond graduation.

Objective 5: Support diversity in teaching modes and support hands-on engagement with the world.

Objective 1: Leverage the Drachman Institute’s reputation and resources for community engagement and focus on community-based, applied projects.

Objective 2: Make engagement work a recognized part of CAPLA promotion success.

Objective 3: Develop more robust and effective community and global partnerships.

Objective 1: Recruit, support and retain successful students who reflect the future of Arizona and the communities we serve.

Objective 2: Reinforce an inclusive and respectful environment where all faculty, administrators, staff, students and outside partners contribute to CAPLA’s success.

Objective 3: Prioritize wellbeing, equity and diversity as a central tenet of CAPLA culture in all our activities.

For additional information, please contact us at or 520-626-9935.