Key Initiatives

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In support of the goals articulated, we have identified ten key initiatives to help achieve them. These initiatives are listed separately from the goals because many of the initiatives advance multiple goals. While the foundational goals will remain firm, the initiatives themselves are hypotheses to be tested and may be modified over time. In this sense, the strategic plan is a living document, subject to change as conditions evolve and we learn more. The initiatives are linked by the foundational belief that we will be both a great and good university if we attract and support exceptionally talented and diverse students, faculty, and staff; if we encourage and enable creative collaborations across Grounds and beyond; and if we live our values by being of service to others and by being a good neighbor to the Charlottesville region.

  1. 1.SuccessUVA

    Over the past decade, AccessUVA has transformed the University by helping us attract outstanding, diverse students, regardless of means. SuccessUVA will go even further—significantly expanding our financial aid program to enable more low- and middle-income students to attend the University and engage in all that we offer. We will work to attract more first-generation and underrepresented students. We will also work to ensure that all students receive the academic and career advising and support that they need to thrive on Grounds and beyond. Toward these ends, we will improve our advising, construct a new Health and Wellness Center to provide care for and promote the well-being of our students, build a new Contemplative Sciences Center to foster resilience, create an expanded Multicultural Student Center to support programming for our increasingly diverse student body, and seek to raise funding for the athletics master plan.

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  2. 2.Citizen-Leaders for the 21st Century

    Our ultimate aim for our students is to prepare them to be productive servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world, regardless of their careers or professions. Toward this end, we will build on existing programs and experiences inside and outside the classroom in three ways.

    First, we 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. Providing students a meaningful opportunity to live and learn together in a diverse and inclusive community will help prepare them to live and lead in an increasingly diverse world.

    Second, we will enable our undergraduate students to develop the knowledge, perspective, experience, and skills necessary to lead in a globally connected world by providing them with an opportunity to have at least one international experience before they graduate.

    Third, as a public institution, we have a particular commitment to preparing students for a life of public service, broadly defined to capture the myriad ways in which our alumni can and do serve, regardless of their chosen professions or careers. We will define the competencies necessary to pursue public service and identify both curricular and co-curricular opportunities for professional, graduate, and undergraduate students to meet those competencies. We will create and coordinate other opportunities, inside and outside of the classroom, to expose our students to a wide range of possibilities in public service. Also, we will explore the feasibility of creating a loan-forgiveness program for undergraduate students who enter public service.

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  3. 3.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 us recruit the very best researchers, teachers, and mentors to the University of Virginia and will especially strengthen our capabilities in strategic priority areas. These faculty will be diverse by every measure because that is critical to recruiting and retaining an outstanding faculty. We will also provide faculty the tools and support they need to take advantage of the latest developments in pedagogy, including experiential and online delivery. We will recruit talented and diverse doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows to develop future scholars and teachers, enhance our research and teaching, and help recruit and retain faculty. And we will include post-doctoral fellows in an expanded PhD-Plus program, designed to prepare academics to become influential professionals in a diverse array of sectors and fields.

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  4. 4.Pathways to Research Preeminence

    Collectively, our research productivity, quality, and impact are strong but could be even stronger. To help us move from prominent to preeminent in research, our approach will be three-fold.

    First, we will continue to make strategic investments in research infrastructure and will substantially upgrade Alderman Library.

    Second, we will 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. We have identified five priority areas that represent major societal challenges and opportunities and draw on our existing strengths: Democracy, Environmental Resilience and Sustainability, Precision Medicine, the Brain and Neuroscience, and Digital Technology and Society. In each area, we will take a coordinated approach through institutes, centers, and labs to amplify the impact of our faculty’s work, and we will recruit and support doctoral and post-doctoral fellows who will partner with faculty.

    Third, we will create a Catalyst Fund that will provide seed funding to help launch and grow research initiatives. Preference will be given to applications that involve collaboration across disciplines and schools.

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  5. 5.Cultivating Staff Success

    We cannot achieve our aspirations unless we have a talented and fulfilled University staff. We will prioritize the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce and the creation of an inclusive and supportive environment, in which staff are recognized as integral to the success of our mission. We will also build on existing leadership programs and develop robust career paths across the University.

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  6. 6.Good Neighbor Program

    In partnership with our neighbors in Charlottesville and surrounding counties, we will work toward being a just and sustainable community. We will work collaboratively, and with all due humility, with our community partners to address key challenges, including housing, living wages, local educational opportunities, and access to health care. We will set ambitious sustainability goals and develop a realistic plan to meet them, including an improved transportation system. We will launch the Center for the Redress of Inequity, which will support community-engaged scholarship to model how public research universities can help reduce racial and socioeconomic inequities in our local communities. To make it easier for our neighbors to interact with the University, we will create a community engagement office in an easily accessible location in town.

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  7. 7.Bachelor's Completion and Certificate Programs

    As the world evolves, people across the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation will have increased needs for developing skills to help them prepare for new jobs or career advancement. As a state-supported university, we feel a particular responsibility to serve the Commonwealth by expanding educational oppurtunities, both in person and online, for working adults in the Commonwealth and beyond—especially the 1.1 million Virginians who have some college credits but have not yet received a degree. Therefore, we will, through our School of Continuing and Professional Studies, scale our bachelor’s completion program and provide a high-quality, easily accessible, and affordable education. Through our schools, we will expand our certificate programs and will develop a central portal through which people, including our alumni and our staff, can discover our diverse offerings.

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  8. 8.Open Grounds at Emmet-Ivy

    The parcel of land at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road provides an unprecedented opportunity to enhance our community and encourage cross-disciplinary discoveries. We will use the 14-acre site 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. The Creativity nexus, if we receive sufficient philanthropic support, will be anchored by a new performing arts center. The Democracy nexus may be anchored by the Batten School and/or space for centers and initiatives related to the study of democracy. The Discovery nexus may be anchored by the new School of Data Science and space for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. Open Grounds will be designed to be welcoming to members of the UVA community, the surrounding communities, and visitors to our Grounds. Toward that end, we will build a new hotel and conference center to house visitors and serve as a convening space.

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  9. 9.School of Data Science

    To position the University as a leader in 21st century research, we will establish a School of Data Science. The school will be based on a foundation of collaboration—a “School Without Walls,” specifically intended to leverage the power of data across all disciplines by helping integrate data science across our Grounds. Many faculty will have joint appointments; the school will have outposts across Grounds; and faculty outside of the school will have the opportunity to receive fellowships to spend time at the school. The school will begin with a residence-based master’s degree but plans to add a certificate program for undergraduates, an undergraduate degree, a Ph.D., and an online master’s degree.

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  10. 10.Broadening Our Horizons

    Northern Virginia provides a significant opportunity to increase our impact by growing our research footprint, reaching more students, and developing new partnerships. Anchored by our 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.

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Next Steps

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Strategic Goals

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