Mountain Future, CMC Strategic Plan graphic

Mountain Futures: CMC 2023-2030
CMC Strategic Plan Framework

Our Vision

Colorado Mountain College aspires to serve and elevate the economic, social, cultural, and environmental vitality of its beautiful Rocky Mountain region by welcoming all learners through its doors, delivering highly relevant education and training, and serving as a trusted partner for strategic collaboration and innovation.

Our Purpose (Mission)

As a uniquely financed, Dual Mission, Hispanic Serving Institution, Colorado Mountain College offers accessible, personalized, and affordable programs across a vast array of disciplines – from the liberal and visual arts to career and outdoor industry training. Through specialized certificate and undergraduate degree programs, adult basic education, and lifelong learning opportunities, CMC’s faculty and staff inspire, challenge, and prepare students to meaningfully impact Colorado’s Western Slope and beyond. With a shared commitment to the health and well-being of place and one another, CMC maintains an enduring responsibility to contribute to the strength, resiliency, and sustainability of its local mountain communities.

OUR Commitments

To fulfill its vision and purpose, CMC’s actions will be guided by commitments to Equity, Care, Innovation, and Integrity. These commitments are not intended to encompass all of the strategies, initiatives, and projects underway at the college. Rather, and combined, they represent a compass to guide future directions and communicate priorities — both internally and externally.

CMC warmly welcomes all learners and strives to ensure that each experiences success through personalized academic and specialized training pathways as well as positive, often targeted, high-impact engagement. To accomplish excellence and achieve equity throughout the college, every member of the CMC community shares a responsibility to promote an environment in which all individuals enjoy respect and acceptance, civility abounds, and diversity of thought and expression are encouraged and celebrated. CMC strives to feel like a safe place for all who choose to interact with, work, learn, and grow at the college.

CMC is an integral part of Colorado's high country and the only higher education institution operating in its region. These are both facts and treasured responsibilities. As the mountain economy goes, so too goes CMC. Therefore, as an essential component of its rugged and vast region, the college intends to deliver educational excellence while modeling ethical conduct and sincere appreciation for its people, its communities, and its environment. In short, CMC cares.

CMC is a preeminent rural college and Hispanic Serving Institution that takes risks for the benefit of students and rebuffs the status quo when it impedes progress. At the same time, CMC accepts that adapting to change is not a choice in higher education and that mountain communities continue to evolve at an unprecedented pace. Therefore, CMC must continuously innovate while upholding the tried-and-true strategies and practices that have enabled the success of countless students. Leveraging its unique structure and funding, creative capacities, and data-informed approaches, CMC must confidently reach students with exceptional teaching and learning, deliver personalized support services, and create bold solutions to address the needs of employees and the communities the college serves.

CMC's unique locations and funding model enable it to focus on its purpose without the fiscal stresses and distractions that are common in public higher education. While the college is held in high esteem in its communities and has stewarded its resources responsibly and ethically, these attributes are earned – not assured – and must be maintained with principled effort. To ensure that the college has the resources necessary to fulfill the commitments outlined in this plan, CMC must manage its affairs with steadfast integrity. By demonstrating a return on the community’s investments and forging thoughtful, strategic collaborations and partnerships, CMC will continue to dream bigger and accomplish more than might be assumed possible by a rural open-access college with few peers regionally or nationally.

Mountain Future, CMC Strategic Plan, Equity


CMC is unconditionally inclusive – striving to ensure and expand equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for all.


  • We value and leverage the pivotal role of faculty and staff in increasing student engagement, persistence, and success.
  • We celebrate that CMC students enter their educational journeys from many stages of life and with diverse lived experiences, and we encourage them to achieve their personal and academic goals.
  • We deliver locally tailored, culturally responsive education and training programs with consistent excellence, quality, integrity, and supports that address the needs of our distinct communities.
  • We ground our approaches in CMC's Dual Mission and Hispanic Serving Institution designations, which are reflected in our academics, training programs, student services, accessibility, and affordability.


  • Strengthen the role of faculty and staff in student engagement, persistence, and success.
  • Improve student attainment metrics through the delivery of equitable and personalized advising.
  • Increase academic success and timely completion for students through clear, compatible, consistent, and relevant certificate and degree pathways.
  • Gather and utilize data routinely to improve student performance, with particular attention to differences in progress and completion.
  • Organize academic programs to ensure that all students, including those enrolled in adult basic education, English as a second language, and concurrent enrollment programs complete credentials and degrees.
  • Assess program alignment regularly with local economic and industry needs through stakeholder engagement and periodic surveys.

Performance Metrics

  • Annual improvement in college completion ratio (as a percentage of total enrolled students), overall and among all sub-populations.
  • Annually improve course completion for all students and Latino males, in particular, such that the “DFW rate” for all students declines by 1% or more (from the prior year) each year and the “DFW rate” for Latino male students declines by 2% or more each year (from the prior year).
  • Annually improve FAFSA/CASFA completion rate by +2% per year (from the prior year). [Note: Due to federal rules prohibiting the use of FAFSA completion as a compensable metric, this goal will never be used for collegewide “pay-for-performance" initiatives.] 
Mountain Future, CMC Strategic Plan, Care graphic


CMC cares for the people and communities it serves, and the planet — thoughtfully, intentionally, and with future generations in mind.


  • We design campus environments that emphasize community, facilitate student engagement, and take full advantage of leading teaching and learning practices.
  • We create and maintain a positive work environment in which employee retention, growth, well-being, and compensation are of paramount importance.
  • We foster a culture of joy, gratitude, listening, and learning, in which students, faculty, and staff feel valued, welcomed, and encouraged.
  • We honor the interconnected relationships across all levels of CMC and work to improve internal communication, operational transparency, and interpersonal understanding across all roles and functions.
  • We act as effective and responsible stewards of nature and strive to make our systems and infrastructure environmentally regenerative.
  • We invest time and resources into innovative support services for students and employees, including affordable housing, food security, and physical and mental wellness.


  • Compensate employees at higher-than-average industry standard rates.
  • Expand and strengthen pathways for career advancement for employees.
  • Recognize employee professionalism and productivity with flexible, personalized work modalities, schedules, and transportation options.
  • Model and implement a college wide shared equity leadership framework specifically tailored to CMC.
  • Support students, faculty, and staff in understanding how to access and navigate the full breadth of resources and services available at CMC.
  • Honor the voices of students, faculty, and staff by creating effective systems for feedback collection, reflection, and integration.
  • Facilitate and support intentional connections between students and the community.
  • Follow the Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs) model to ensure students gain substantive, relevant experiences connected to their coursework.
  • Increase student engagement through mentoring inside and outside the college.
  • Grow and effectively operate affordable housing options for students and employees.
  • Meet or exceed our expressed environmental commitments.

Performance Metrics

  • Annually improve employee retention, as expressed as a three-year rolling average ratio of total departures/total employed, by +1% or more from the prior year.  (Using a three-year rolling average will help smooth seasonal or economically episodic differences.) 
  • Close gaps in student satisfaction with academic experience across modalities (face-to-face, online, remote real-time, and hybrid).  Goal is to create and maintain consistent student satisfaction across all modalities by 2026 and beyond. 
  • Maintain the college’s AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) status at Silver or above.
Mountain Future, CMC Strategic Plan, Innovation graphic


CMC leverages its unique operating structure, creative capacities, cutting-edge thinking, and data-informed approaches to provide exceptional teaching and learning, personalized student and employee support, and bold solutions to community needs.


  • We expect and encourage our employees to participate in training and professional development to remain nimble, knowledgeable, and ready for the future.
  • We promote a culture of trust, exploration and risk-taking where faculty adapt pedagogy and modalities to meet shifting student and societal needs.
  • We gather and effectively use data to inform and advance our programmatic and operational priorities.
  • We value and routinely invite faculty, staff, and student voices into strategic decision-making.
  • We leverage facilities and technological infrastructure to meet the needs of learners, employees, and communities.


  • Expand professional development and training opportunities, and gather evidence of their value and impact.
  • Formalize opportunities for faculty to explore and modify pedagogical practices and modalities to meet the needs of students and increase organizational effectiveness.
  • Provide faculty and staff with the training, data, and analytical resources needed to understand, engage, and provide exceptional support to all enrolled students.
  • Align systems and processes so that students make timely, predictable progress toward their education and training goals.
  • Conduct periodic audits of physical and technological infrastructure and related utilization to ensure CMC remains relevant, uses resources wisely, and meets student and community needs.
  • Advance strategic community and industry partnerships that leverage physical, instructional, and technological resources.

Performance Metrics

  • Reduce the total number of enrolled terms among degree completers, by program type (certificate, AA/AS, and BA/BS), from prior year.
  • Annually improve first-term success (no grades below a C) by +1% per year compared to the prior year or any year in the past three, whichever is higher, for all students.  Value will be reflected as the number of students earning grades of C or better compared to the overall number of students enrolled excluding those with “incomplete” grades.
  • Annually improve term-to-term persistence rates for all students enrolled in associates and bachelors programs by +1% per year from prior year or any year in the past three, whichever is highest.
Mountain Future, CMC Strategic Plan, Integrity


CMC demonstrates a return on investment by effectively and ethically stewarding financial resources and building and maintaining thoughtful, strategic collaborations and partnerships.


  • We maintain and honor the trust of our students, employees, and community stakeholders through responsible fiscal stewardship and transparency.
  • We design and implement relevant programs that meet regional labor market needs, resulting in impactful careers with sustaining wages.
  • We benefit from shared governance and engagement by all levels of college leadership.
  • We recruit, attract, and retain highly talented employees, governing board members, and volunteers that better reflect the students and communities we serve.
  • We commit to the ongoing availability and delivery of high-quality and relevant lifelong learning and continuing education programs for community members.


  • Cultivate and expand strategic partnerships with employers and industries to provide students with livable wages and sustainable careers.
  • Prepare students for employment by connecting them to quality career services.
  • Present CMC’s budget methodology and expenditures regularly and transparently both internally and externally.
  • Make pathways available for students and alumni to obtain employment at CMC.
  • Disseminate information proactively about degree paths and anticipated earning potential to students by collecting and disseminating relevant labor market data.
  • Define and model objectives and expectations of shared governance.
  • Explore hiring policies and practices to increase the recruitment and retention of talented employees that better resemble the communities and students we serve.
  • Ensure strong fiscal management by establishing a balanced budget at or below annual inflation.
  • Deliver clean audits and maintain very strong credit ratings, while continuing to invest in college priorities.

Performance Metrics

  • Ensure that the college’s overall annual budget does not grow faster than inflation (May Denver-Aurora-Lakewood CPI) while advancing total compensation at or above inflation (cost of living increases plus average merit or other stipends).
  • Ensure that the projected wages for graduates of all new academic programs launched on or after July 2023 are at or above minimally sustainable levels for Colorado’s resort regions.  (Sustaining or “livable” wages are those that meet or exceed the minimum livable wage for Eagle and Garfield counties, averaged, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.

President’s Goals and College Work Plan