Vision & Strategic Plan

Dean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand with CAPLA students

Our vision: Building a changing world.

Launched in January 2019, the CAPLA Strategic Plan is comprised of values, aspirations, objectives and initiatives designed to guide the college's direction under Dean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand.

View or Download the CAPLA Strategic Plan

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.