UVA President Ryan’s ‘Great and Good’ Strategic Plan Wins Board Endorsement
By Wes Hester
The University of Virginia Board of Visitors on 7 June endorsed President Jim’s Ryan’s roadmap for the University’s future, a 10-year strategic plan designed to make UVA the best public university in 2030, and one of the best in the world, whether public or private.
“A Great and Good University: The 2030 Plan” is built upon four overarching goals and includes 10 major new initiatives to help achieve them, ranging from expanding UVA’s financial aid plan and improving faculty recruiting to working with the community to address issues such as wages, affordable housing and access to health care.
Ryan said the plan’s title reflects his belief that, in the future, universities will only be able to achieve true greatness by living their values and by adopting a broader view of their responsibility to employees, neighbors and society.
“We should strive not simply to be great, but also to be good, recognizing that in the not-too-distant future, it will likely be impossible for a university to be truly great if it is not also good,” Ryan explained in the plan’s vision statement. “The very best faculty, students and staff are going to want to live, work and study at institutions in which they can believe wholeheartedly; institutions that are both outstanding and ethical; institutions that are excellent, but excellent for a purpose.”
According to Ryan, the plan’s goals represent a concrete definition of what it means to be a great and good university. The initiatives, in turn, represent some of the bets he plans to make — on top of the work already being done across UVA — in order to achieve the goals.
The board offered an endorsement of the draft and expressed enthusiasm for the plan. A final vote is scheduled later this year after Ryan’s administration completes an implementation plan that includes details about funding and the sequence for taking on the key initiatives.
The strategic plan is based on four overarching goals that describe what it will take to be both great and good:
- Strengthen UVA’s foundation.
- Cultivate the most vibrant community in higher education.
- Enable discoveries that enrich and improve lives.
- Make UVA “synonymous with service.”
Beneath those four overarching goals, the plan lays out 18 sub-goals designed to capture and shape the University’s work across different schools and units
Strengthen UVA’s foundation.
- Recruit and support exceptionally talented, diverse and service-oriented students, regardless of their economic circumstances.
- Recruit and retain excellent and diverse faculty.
- Attract and support talented and dedicated staff.
- Ensure that our systems enable our students, faculty and staff to do their best work.
- Nurture a culture of integrity, mutual respect, excellence and innovation.
Cultivate the most vibrant community in higher education.
- Prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world.
- Cultivate an inclusive community of trust.
- Be a community that consistently lives its values.
- Be a strong partner with, and good neighbor to, the Charlottesville region.
- Cultivate life-long engagement with our alumni.
Enable discoveries that enrich and improve lives.
- Enable faculty and students to work across traditional boundaries.
- Become an international leader in several distinct and critical areas of research.
- Shed new light on enduring and profound questions.
- Approach all learning as an opportunity for discovery.
Make UVA “synonymous with service.”
- Offer one of the best values in higher education.
- Provide outstanding and accessible health care.
- Offer accessible and affordable educational programs to those beyond our Grounds.
- Lead economic development through academic discovery and entrepreneurship
The plan outlines 10 key initiatives that, along with work already being done across the University, will help meet the goals.
SuccessUVA — An extension of AccessUVA, the initiative will significantly expand the University’s financial aid program to enable more low- and middle-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to attend. It also emphasizes advising and support services that promote student well-being.
Citizen-Leaders for the 21st-Century — To prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world, the University will:
- Establish a series of residential communities that will house all first- and second-year students on Grounds and provide ways for third- and fourth-year students to stay connected to their residential communities.
- Provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to have at least one international experience before they graduate.
- Define the competencies necessary to pursue public service, create more opportunities for students to serve and explore the feasibility of creating a loan-forgiveness program for undergraduate students who enter public service.
Third-Century Faculty Initiative — This initiative will expand the existing Bicentennial Professorships and create new cluster and “Targets of Opportunity” hiring programs, which will help recruit the best researchers, teachers and mentors to UVA.
Pathways to Research Preeminence — To help UVA move from prominent to preeminent in research, the University will:
- Continue to make strategic investments in research infrastructure and substantially upgrade Alderman Library.
- Focus on a discrete set of pressing challenges and opportunities that require collaboration across disciplines and schools and where UVA can be an international leader in important fields of research (Democracy, Environmental Resilience and Sustainability, Precision Medicine, the Brain and Neuroscience, and Digital Technology and Society).
- Create a Catalyst Fund that will provide seed funding to help launch and grow research initiatives, with preference to applications that involve collaboration across disciplines and schools.
Cultivating Staff Success — The University will prioritize the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce and create an inclusive and supportive environment for staff.
Good Neighbor Program — In partnership with Charlottesville and surrounding counties, UVA will address key challenges, including housing, living wages, local educational opportunities and access to health care. The University will set ambitious sustainability goals and create a community engagement office in an easily accessible location in town.
Bachelor’s Completion and Certificate Programs — The University will expand both in-person and online educational opportunities for working adults — especially the 1.1 million Virginians who have some college credits, but have not yet earned a degree.
Open Grounds at Emmet-Ivy — UVA will develop the 14-acre site at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road to create three interrelated nexuses — creativity, democracy and discovery — designed to encourage cross-disciplinary endeavors involving people from across Grounds and beyond, in an active and engaging environment.
School of Data Science — The University will establish a School of Data Science. It will be a “school without walls,” specifically intended to leverage the power of data across all disciplines by helping integrate data science across our Grounds.
Broadening Our Horizons — UVA will continue to increase its impact and grow its research footprint in Northern Virginia, allowing the University to reach more students and develop new partnerships. Anchored by the business, engineering and data science schools, the emerging grounds in Rosslyn will offer graduate and professional degree programs and certificates in high-demand fields. The emerging grounds at the INOVA site in Fairfax offers a rare opportunity to launch health-related research and academic programming in partnership with an urban medical center and in the context of a large population center.
The strategic plan was based on input from thousands of people, including deans and other University leaders, faculty members, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends. It also draws on feedback provided through the “Ours to Shape” outreach initiative that Ryan launched on his first day in office.
In total, the Strategic Planning Committee — co-chaired by Mike Lenox, Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business and senior associate dean and chief strategy officer at the Darden School; and Margot Rogers, the president’s senior adviser for strategic initiatives — and Ryan held more than 100 outreach sessions, collecting information that was later analyzed to identify themes of importance to the University community. Close to 50 specific ideas were studied.
“The University community contributed an extraordinary amount of collective wisdom and hard work in the creation of this plan, underscoring the commitment we all have to a vision of our being both great and good,” Rogers said.
“We are thankful for the incredible work of the committee as well as the thousands of University stakeholders who contributed their thoughts and ideas,” Lenox added.
The full draft of the strategic plan is available here.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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