An ad hoc committee appointed by Rector William H. Goodwin Jr. has reviewed the procedures and guidelines governing the University of Virginia’s Strategic Investment Fund and discussed its findings in a meeting on Wednesday.
The fund, which totals more than $2 billion, was authorized by the University’s Board of Visitors in February to support transformational investments in scholarship, research, health care services, student access and student life at the University, without relying on tuition or tax dollars. Annual investment returns will provide funding to support projects that align with the strategic priorities of UVA’s Cornerstone Plan and the Medical Center’s strategic plan.
“The committee is conducting a thorough review of governance procedures for the Strategic Investment Fund to help ensure that the guidelines in place will help the University maximize the fund’s immense potential through projects that will have a direct impact on our students, on the commonwealth and beyond,” said Frank M. “Rusty” Conner III, a Board of Visitors member and ad hoc committee chair.
Wednesday’s meeting also included an informative discussion probing a variety of scenarios UVA should examine to continue efforts ensuring ongoing access and affordability.
On Friday, the Board of Visitors is expected to consider an initial set of grant proposals. Ultimately, projects funded by the Strategic Investment Fund will support one or more of four key priorities recommended by the ad hoc committee, including:
- Access and affordability: Projects that support UVA’s efforts to provide a world-class education that remains affordable and accessible regardless of a student’s ability to pay. Board members said this key area is expected to receive support from the fund in a future set of investments, allowing the funding to be coordinated with tuition-setting and the development of the University’s operating budget in early 2017;
- Academic experience: Projects that enrich student life at the University, including curriculum enhancements, internship and career advising initiatives, global student experiences and community service programs;
- Research: Projects that foster groundbreaking research benefitting the commonwealth, the nation and the world; and
- Research support and infrastructure: Funding for next-generation technology, research labs and other resources that will lay the groundwork for future discoveries.
The ad hoc committee reviewed and discussed guidelines for grant funding, which will be awarded in three-year investment cycles. Selected projects will be monitored for performance and must demonstrate success in order to continue receiving funding. Each project must also demonstrate a plan for securing sustainable funding from other sources beyond the three-year grant period.
The board anticipates that recommendations for additional fund investments will occur on a regular basis during future board meetings. With new projects joining those previously approved for funding, the Strategic Investment Fund ultimately could award as much as $100 million annually. Students, faculty or staff from UVA’s Academic Division, Medical Center or College at Wise may develop grant proposals in conjunction with deans and other administrators in their division.
An evaluation committee comprising five faculty members will review each proposal. Current evaluation committee members include Thomas Brent Gunnoe, professor, Department of Chemistry; John C. Jeffries Jr., David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law, School of Law; Michael James Lenox, senior associate dean, chief strategy officer and Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration, Darden School of Business; Pamela M. Norris, executive associate dean for research, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Frederick Tracy Morse Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; and Margaret F. Riley, chair, Faculty Senate, and professor in the School of Law, School of Medicine and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Jeffries chairs the evaluation committee.
The evaluation committee will make recommendations to an advisory committee including the University’s rector, vice rector, president, chief operating officer, provost, executive vice president for health affairs and two Board of Visitors-appointed representatives. That committee will assess each proposal and make recommendations to the Board of Visitors. No funds from the Strategic Investment Fund may be spent without approval from the board.
More information about the Strategic Investment Fund can be found here: