Our plan is built around four overarching goals. The first is to strengthen our foundation, which means supporting our students, faculty, and staff. The second is to cultivate the most vibrant community in higher education, in order to prepare our students to be servant-leaders in a diverse and globally connected world. The third is to enable discoveries that enrich and improve lives, and the fourth is to make UVA synonymous with service.
We describe more specific sub-goals under each of these broad aims, which together represent our concrete vision of what it means to be a great and good University. The initiatives that follow, as described at the outset of this document, represent some of the ways that we plan to achieve our goals, but they are not meant to capture everything we are doing or will be doing at the University.
Strengthen Our Foundation
We should strive to attract and support the best students, faculty, and staff, recognizing that our success depends on the quality of our people. We must also provide efficient and effective systems that support their work, and cultivate a culture that nurtures and stimulates their growth and development.
To do so, we will:
Recruit and support exceptionally talented, diverse, and service-oriented students, regardless of their economic circumstances.
We will attract and support extraordinary students, from all backgrounds, who have the potential to live lives of purpose, impact, and service in whatever fields they enter. In particular, we will strive to be one of the very best universities for first-generation and underrepresented students, recognizing that creating economic and social opportunities is one of the highest callings for a public university.
Recruit and retain excellent and diverse faculty.
A university is only as strong as its faculty. We will strive to attract a group of faculty who are both talented and diverse, who are or will be leaders in their fields, and who are committed to both outstanding research and outstanding teaching. We will work to improve our recruitment of outstanding doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, recognizing that this is key to the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty. We will also do all that we can to help our faculty reach their potential as both scholars and teachers.
Attract and support talented and committed staff.
Universities cannot achieve their educational mission, much less excel, without talented and dedicated staff who have the support they need to do their best work. We will be known as one of the best employers in higher education. Staff will be paid fairly and treated well, offered opportunities to advance in their careers while remaining at UVA, and feel, with justifiable reason, like an essential and valued part of the UVA community.
Ensure that our systems enable our students, faculty and staff to do their best work.
Our students, faculty, and staff need high-quality systems to support their work, including sufficient and efficient research infrastructure. We will have financial and technological tools and nimble, reliable systems, and help every member of the University community to be more efficient and effective. As a university, we will strive to be one of the best-run education institutions in the country, recognizing that it will allow us to better advance our core missions of teaching, research, and health care.
Promote a culture of integrity, mutual respect, excellence, collaboration, and innovation.
To bring out the very best in our people, we will cultivate a University-wide culture that is supportive and respectful, expects and celebrates excellence, and encourages innovation.
Cultivate the Most Vibrant Community in Higher Education
One of our greatest strengths is our student experience, which features opportunities for meaningful interactions inside and outside of the classroom among faculty, students, and staff; a tradition of student self-governance, volunteerism, and a strong honor system; a dynamic arts community; and an outstanding athletics program—all in a uniquely beautiful, historic, and distinctive setting, and all of it designed for the purpose of preparing students to lead, learn, and serve. We are large enough to satisfy a vast array of interests, and small enough to create a sense of connection and belonging. In order to continue to attract the very best students, and to prepare and inspire them to live their best lives, we must offer them an unparalleled experience while on Grounds.
Our relationship with Charlottesville and the surrounding counties is critically and mutually important. Our success as a university depends in no small part on the strength of those communities, and on the strength of our relationship with them. We will reach our potential as a university only if we partner with our neighbors to ensure that the Charlottesville region is an attractive and equitable place to live. At the same time, as an anchor institution we must take seriously our responsibility to be a good neighbor and employer.
Last, our extraordinarily loyal alumni are a critical part of our community. We should do more to engage them and to provide them with opportunities for life-long learning as they navigate their way through a fast-paced and changing economy.
To build on these strengths and to address existing gaps, we will:
Prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world.
Preparing students to be responsible leaders—committed to serving others—was part of our founding mission and should remain central to what we do. From the classroom to student self-governance, the honor system, the arts, residential experiences, athletics, and volunteer opportunities, we will intentionally prepare our students to lead and serve others. We will also assess the impact of our programs so that we can better understand how our students learn and develop and use that evidence when refining programs or designing new ones.
Continuously promote and strengthen an inclusive community of trust.
Every member of our community should feel welcome and be able to find a home at UVA, and all members of our community should work to promote an environment that is welcoming and inclusive. We will also encourage and make it easier for students, faculty, and staff to build bridges across lines of difference, because any community is only as strong as the connections within it.
Be a community that consistently lives its values.
We will live by and promote the values at the heart of the University, including service, excellence, honor, diversity and inclusion, free speech and academic freedom, and student self-governance. Also, we will both study and be accountable as an institution to address pressing societal challenges, including environmental sustainability, social mobility, educational inequities, and health disparities.
Be a strong partner with and good neighbor to the Charlottesville region.
We are an anchor institution, and we will work side by side with our neighbors to help ensure that the Charlottesville region is among the best and most equitable places to live, work, and study. We will approach this work with humility and respect, and with the ultimate goal of creating a general sense that we are all part of the same community.
Strengthen our engagement with alumni.
The connection our alumni feel with UVA will begin when they arrive on Grounds and continue to blossom over their lifetimes—with opportunities to contribute to the University in meaningful ways and engage in continuous learning.
Enable Discoveries That Enrich and Improve Lives
As a major research university, we are committed to pursuing the truth, wherever it might lead. While we have made great strides in increasing our research output in recent years, we must intensify our efforts if we are to join the first rank of the nation’s leading research universities. At the same time, we must recognize that research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, and for a good reason. Many of the most important challenges and opportunities cannot be confronted or seized by faculty working solely within their disciplines. In order to lead in research, we must improve our research infrastructure, make it easier for faculty to work together, and focus particular attention on addressing some of the world’s most critical challenges.
Discovery is also not confined to the realm of research. Great learning experiences also involve moments of discovery, which enrich the lives of our students. The idea of learning as an opportunity for discovery should guide how we approach our teaching.
To achieve these aims, we will:
Enable faculty and students to work across traditional boundaries.
Addressing our most pressing challenges and unlocking our most significant opportunities requires working across traditional boundaries. All universities express interest in interdisciplinary work, but few have figured out how best to promote it. We will strive to be a leader in this regard by creating the incentives and opportunities necessary to help faculty and students work across departments, schools, and disciplines—including by improving our research infrastructure and providing more common space for interdisciplinary collaborations.
Become an international leader in several distinct and critical areas of research.
An institution of our size cannot tackle all of the world’s challenges, and a failure to focus on some key areas will reduce our chances of making a significant contribution. We will focus on areas of research that will shape our world over the next decade and where we can be a leader. Each area will draw together faculty and students from across the University.
Shed new light on enduring and profound questions.
The liberal arts—made up of the humanities, basic sciences, the arts, and social sciences—are a vital part of the University and will remain so. A commitment to discovering the truth, regardless of its material value, will remain at the core of the University. In addition, preparing students to be ethical citizen-leaders requires exposure to questions of value, beauty, history, ethics, and the nature of the physical world—and experience debating those questions in a civil and respectful way.
Approach all learning as an opportunity for discovery.
The best learning experiences—whether inside or outside of the classroom, on Grounds or off—create a sense of discovery. Faculty will help students learn in engaging and innovative ways about the past, themselves, and the world around them. Students will also have opportunities to discover even more through research partnerships, internships, and international experiences.
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Make UVA Synonymous with Service
When this University was founded, its primary mission was to prepare students to become citizen-leaders who would serve our fledgling democracy. The vision was imperfect, of course, as it included only white males as participants in this project. But the core idea—that UVA exists to serve the public—remains both relevant and compelling. In an era of increasing skepticism about the contributions of universities, we will rededicate ourselves to the original animating purpose of the University and look for ways to better serve our community, the Commonwealth, and beyond.
To do so, we will:
Offer one of the best values in higher education.
As a service to the Commonwealth and beyond, we will remain not simply one of the best universities in the country, but also one of the best values in higher education. We will equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that will enable them to pursue meaningful and productive careers, including securing their first jobs after graduation. Whether they intend to start a business or non-profit, discover a cure for a disease or pen a novel, teach children or care for senior citizens, our graduates should be ready to contribute not just to their own well-being but to the greater good. We will also remain outstanding stewards of public funding.
Provide outstanding and accessible health care.
The University Health System, a vital component of the University, provides significant clinical service to the Charlottesville region, the Commonwealth, and beyond. We will work to maintain the highest quality of care for patients and to increase accessibility for our community members, as described more fully in the Health System’s strategic plan. We will also collaborate across Grounds on cutting-edge research and on innovative education that will advance clinical care, improve population health and well-being, reduce health disparities, and help prepare the health care workforce of the future.
Offer accessible and affordable educational programs to those beyond our Grounds.
Our obligations to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world extend beyond the bounds of our own community. We will create additional educational opportunities, both in person and virtually, that address critical needs in the Commonwealth and beyond.
Lead economic development through academic discovery and entrepreneurship.
We will serve the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world by forging partnerships with government and the private sector, making it easier for faculty and students to commercialize their academic discoveries and intellectual property.